The history of trampolining goes way back. In this article, you will learn who actually invented the first trampoline and how it came to be a popular tool both for recreational purposes and for sports.
Unlike other history lessons, I’m sure that you’ll not get bored with this. By the end of this article, you’ll have more than enough knowledge on the background of trampolining.
Merriam-Webster narrowly defines trampolining as the sport of jumping and tumbling on a trampoline. However, I do believe that any act that involves jumping on a trampoline is known as trampolining.
When you use a trampoline, whether for just bouncing or simple jumps or to perform complex twists and somersaults, you’re actually trampolining. It is a recreational activity, a competitive Olympic sport performed by athletes, and an acrobatic training tool as better defined by Wikipedia.
We need not have to be too technical all the time, though. Sometimes it’s more appropriate to use terms like rebounding, bouncing, or jumping on a trampoline.
Read also: How to Do a Backflip on a Trampoline
History of Trampolining
Man’s desire to fly has always been with him since ancient times. Even before the Wright brothers have invented the first airplane, man has always wanted to stay in the air even for some time.
During the middle ages, court jesters are known to entertain royalties and nobilities by performing acrobatic movements. This clearly involved some flips and jumps, which was an amazing sight to see back then. They would use a malleable plank of wood, like a diving board, supported at each end.
In later times, the same concept was used by circuses to keep their acrobats up in the air. This was made possible by a large net hanging directly under the acrobats. While its primary use was to keep them safe from hitting the ground, it was also used for keeping them suspended in the air.
In fact, it makes a better impression of flying. The large net gave the acrobats much more freedom to perform tricks in the air without actually holding on to a trapeze or ropes.
These experiences remain inaccessible to a lot of people unless they are a member of the circus. However, this changed when George Nissen invented the first ever trampoline.
Birth of Trampolines
A gymnast himself, Nissen wanted to set up the same safety net without actually putting up a big circus tent. In the 1930s, he created a piece of equipment made of tire inner tubes and scrap steel.
This portable bouncing device was later christened as a trampoline by Nissen himself. It came from the Spanish word “trampolin”, which means diving board.
When World War II broke out, trampolines have suddenly experienced a boom in popularity. It is one of the commonly used equipment to keep the armed forces in good physical condition. Pilots and air force crews particularly use trampolines to help them improve their coordination and sense body position while in mid-air.
Even after the war, trampolines remain out of reach from the public until around the end of the 1950s. This was when jump centers start to emerge across the different states in the US. It was also included in school physical education curriculums because of the benefits it can create in your body.
However, the popularity went downhill as lawsuits start piling up because of a number of injuries involving a trampoline. It was due to a combination of insufficient supervision and unsafe trampoline designs.
Fortunately, this has changed in recent years. Trampolines nowadays are designed to significantly reduce the possibility of injuries. Enclosure nets, spring covers, new structural designs, and proper education in the use of trampolines have helped reduce injuries caused by trampolines.
As a matter of fact, there are even springless backyard trampolines, which are some of the safest trampolines to this date.
When Did Trampolining Become An Olympic Sport?
The first-ever trampolining competition was held in London in 1964 and was known as the Trampoline World Championships. I would assume that it’s like their version of Red Bull Extreme Sports events.
The first world champions, Dan Millman and Judy Wills Cline were both Americans.
The competition went on for years, but it was only until recently that it was officially included in the Olympics. In the year 2000, trampolining become an Olympic sport as a competitive gymnastic sport.
Athletes would jump as high as 33 ft, performing multiple twists and somersaults up in the air. The height of their bounce gave them air time they wouldn’t normally be able to do on a mat.
Trampoline Gymnastics is an offshoot of trampolining being officiated to the Olympics. Not surprisingly, it has become a very popular sport for children. Parents love these sports for their kids because it helps improve balance and coordination and build their confidence.
Most trampoline parks these days have accredited trampoline coaches you can hire. This is essential to keep your child safe from performing tricks that may be too much for their fragile body.
If you’re keen on having your child become a future athlete, then it’s only appropriate that you invest in having a trampoline at home. The shape of the trampoline plays a major part in both your child’s safety and skill development. What you’ll actually be needing is a rectangle trampoline.
Rectangle trampolines are specifically designed for Trampoline Gymnastics. It allows the child to bounce higher with less effort and gives a more stable landing. The latter is very important, especially when doing backflips and some other tricks mid-air.
Read also: Best Rectangle Trampoline
Wrapping It Up
Do you know of any other interesting facts about trampolining? Be sure to let us know at the comments section below.
With the information provided here, I do hope it has given you additional enjoyment every time you jump. At the very least, the history of trampolining is a very great story to tell your kids and get them hyped while you’re assembling it for the first time.