Steve Sampson

My own thoughts and views on trampoline, business, politics and more.

‘Twas the Night Before Comp Day… — 28 May 2015

‘Twas the Night Before Comp Day…

Today is the day before travelling to the regional team finals for a lot of people, so I thought I’d wait to post something about pre-competition preparation. I’m not talking about routines, I’m talking about the organisational side of comp prep. Let me explain.

So, by now you’ll have done hundreds of routines, right? You’re pretty much as technically prepared as you can be before it’s ‘go time’. But wait, there’s still more you can do!

  • Make sure your clothing is ready and washed the night before you leave:
  1. Leotard
  2. Whites/longs (for boys)
  3. White socks/trampoline shoes
  4. Tracksuit
  5. Towel (if you need to wipe away the sweat!)

(You still have just time to get them washed and dried if they’re dirty, so don’t panic!)

  • Get your competition bag ready
  1. Headphones
  2. Chalk
  3. Drinks
  4. Snacks
  5. Difficulty card (written in FIG and signed by your coach, although they might take care of this on your behalf)
  • Know your warm up routine – not just on the trampoline, but floor warm up and stretching too.
  • Find out what time you are due to compete and how long before that you need to be ready to start a floor warm up.
  • Work out what time you should eat breakfast and lunch so that you are fuelled properly.

Then, on the day of the competition:

  • Get to know the competition arena. Arrive early so you become acclimatised to the brightness, noise, layout, etc. 
  • Let your coaching team know you’re in the building.
  • Find out what panel you are on and if they are running early, late or on time.
  • Do your floor warm up and stretch.
  • Read my 10 tips on getting more marks at a trampoline competition.
  • Enjoy your competition! And don’t forget, this weekend is a team event, so make sure you do your best to complete the routine you set out to do in order to give your region the best chance of success.

If you have any other tips, leave a comment below. As always, I’m more than happy to have your comments and suggestions, whether you agree or disagree. 

And last shout out to the South West region – good luck!

(Picture courtesy of Bex Hardwick)

10 tips on getting more marks at a trampoline competition — 19 May 2015

10 tips on getting more marks at a trampoline competition

Following a very successful South West squad At the weekend and with the British Regional finals less than two weeks away, I thought this might be a good opportunity to give a summary of the tips I and the other judges gave at the squad training session. So, in no particular order, here they are!

  1. Take care in the out bounce to maintain control. Waving the arms or travel can cost up to 0.1, but major instability could result in landing on the end deck. Potential saving 1.0 per judge.
  2. Stop bouncing!  If the trampoline is still moving, you don’t land with your feet in alignment or you don’t return to an upright position you will be deducted. Potential saving 0.2 per judge.
  3. Hold the line. Once you’ve kicked out, stay straight. Quite obvious… Potential saving 0.3 per judge.
  4. Sometimes you can’t hold the line, when you simply don’t have enough rotation, pike down. Whilst tucking down will speed up your rotation, it will cost you more. Potential saving 0.1 per judge.
  5. Pay attention to shape jumps. They’re the easiest skill and can often be tightened up with very little effort. Potential saving 0.2 per judge.
  6. Finish the routine! Under current British rules, incomplete routines will result in a zero score. No matter how bad you think it is, finish the routine! Potential saving 10.0 per judge.
  7. Never Rudi Ball Out. Find out why here.
  8. Get on the trampoline looking confident and straight jumping like you mean to. The quality of the straight jumping will lead into the routine and the first impression will be better.
  9. Ask for feedback! No judge will ever refuse to help you… so long as you approach them in a considerate way.
  10. Go on a judging course! There’s no better way to understand what a judge is looking for, than by becoming one yourself!

And above all, chances are your coaching team are pretty decent and know what they’re doing. Try listening to them too!

Any other tips? I know I’ve not covered things like warming up, arriving early, what to bring. Do you have any pre-competition rituals? Comment below!

Fed Ex — 12 May 2015

Fed Ex

As the dust settles on Thursday’s General Election, two things are apparent: my car is in desperate need of a wash, and the UK is once again split between Scotland and England… and the rest of the UK of course.

With resounding calls from each of the UK’s constituent nations for the delivery of more powers, it’s a wonder that no real progress has been made on a fair constitutional settlement for the UK, other than the cross-party agreement to give more powers to Scotland. Whilst this makes sense (or made sense) after the referendum, it’s not really going far enough. It’s like giving a dog a treat after it barks. It knows if it barks louder or more often, it’s going to get more treats. The call for more powers to Scotland will not stop, and nor should it!

Labour we’re going to hold a constitutional convention, the Lib Dems had previously suggested a Federal UK; heck, even Boris suggested that!

I think a Federal state could deliver maximum devolution to the nations of the UK, whilst maintaining Great Britain.

I could write quite a lengthy post about political and constitutional reform! Perhaps I should have studied Politics or Law at university!


O, Canada — 5 May 2015

O, Canada

Time has now dawned on my trip to Canada and I’m about to imbark on my seven-hour flight back to the UK. I’ve had a lot of fun and am not ready to return home just yet but alas, I must! Thanks very much to the Chaves family, who took me in for my ten-day vacation.

I’ll defiantly be back to this huge country. I’ve only seen a small part of one of the provinces. Nine more and three territories yet to experience!

To all my Canadian friends, new and old; I’ll catch you next time, eh?

 Michael and I on the ‘Maid of the Mist’ tour at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side (aka the best side).

This little doggy, Harley Chaves, will be sorely missed. Keep in touch boy! 

Snug Harbour is worth a visit if you fancy a nice meal in Mississagua. A fitting final image of the sun setting on my vacation.

Get the Rudi Ball Out — 1 May 2015

Get the Rudi Ball Out

Never Rudi Ball Out, unless you absolutely have to.

When I say this, I’m talking about using the skill in competition. I fully support the use of the skill for the purposes of development, etc.

So, why shouldn’t you compete the Rudi Ball Out? Well, the skill is only worth 0.2 more Degree of Difficulty (DD) than a Barani Ball Out. And it is generally not worth the extra two-tenths because of how physically difficult it is to maintain good execution.

When I have seen a Rudi Ball Out in competition, it’s usually in the second routine and after the gymnast having already performed a Barani Ball Out in the first routine. Rarely do I give the Rudi Ball Out the same deduction or a lesser deduction than its half-twisting cousin.

The rationale is very simple… 

  • If it is not performed straight it will suffer – not strictly true, but usually an unorthodox tucked Rudi Ball Out (or God-forbid, a piked one), is usually the result of a gymnast who is incapable of performing the straight variety and it tends to look scrappy much more often than not.
  • If the the arms aren’t down by the sides it will suffer. The direct quote from the Code of Points (CoP) is “the arms should be straight and/or held close to the body whenever possible”. I often hear people mod-quote the CoP, claiming that in line with the body is acceptable ie straight and above the head. Wrong. It is possible to have the arms straight and close to the body. Any time they are not, there’s a deduction.
  • The Rudi Ball Out will continue to twist past the 3 o’clock point. Since the ‘completion of twist’ rule was first introduced, the trend has been to move away from twisting skills in the first routine. Gymnasts tend to opt for a Cody instead of Barani Ball Out, rarely is there a Rudi, sometimes not even a Full.
  • Any twisting skill allows the gymnast to be seen by the judges directly from either the front, back or both. This puts the gymnast under increased scrutiny with their arm position – if the arms aren’t pressed into the sides, they will stand out a mile!

So what do you think? Do you disagree? Or do you have additional reasons? Have you got any good examples of the Rudi Ball Out? Post links below if you have!