Steve Sampson

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

30 Things — 31 December 2015

30 Things

***8/30 complete***

Lots of people have done this and my thirtieth birthday is still over two years away, but I quite fancied jumping on the bandwagon and swiping his good idea. So, here is my list of 30 ‘things’ I’d like to do before turning 30:

  1. Run a Marathon
  2. Climb a Mountain 
  3. Learn a Full Full (822/) on the Trampoline
  4. Watch all of the Star Wars films
  5. Produce a SMART Career plan
  6. Read 30 classic books (some are recommendations rather than ‘classics’)
  7. [Complete] Gain Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status
  8. [Complete] Enrol on an MBA (Masters Degree in Business Administration)
  9. Tour the Houses of Parliament
  10. Take a MENSA test
  11. [Complete] Apply to appear on TV show ‘Pointless’
  12. Apply to appear on TV show ‘Ninja Warrior’
  13. Learn all countries of the world and their capitals
  14. [Complete] See a live WWE event
  15. [Complete] Sing karaoke in a bar
  16. Watch the sun rise and set
  17. Write a SMART fitness plan (and stick to it)
  18. Write a fictional story
  19. Watch IMDB top 30 rated films
  20. Get a 6 pack
  21. Cycle 100 miles
  22. [Complete] Go to Browsea island
  23. [Complete] Visit Corfe Castle
  24. Visit the Spinnaker Tower
  25. Get a selfie with Katy Perry
  26. Get a selfie with Elyar Fox
  27. Visit the Natural History Museum
  28. Go camping
  29. Adjust my mortgage payments so I’m on track to pay if off before 45
  30. [Complete] Learn to tie a Full Windsor knot 

The list comprises things which I haven’t done which I really should have by now, things which are challenging and other things that I quite fancy doing, but time-bounding them will make me do them.

The plan is that I post each time I make progress on the list. I’m quite conscious that I haven’t posted for a while, so this should keep me going for a little while!

Get your priorities right — 8 July 2015

Get your priorities right

I haven’t posted for a little while now, one of the main reasons is that I’ve just been so busy with work having recently been promoted. Because I am now in more of a management / leadership role, I felt the need to try and improve in those areas, so I’ve been doing a lot of reading and attending a lot of courses. One of the themes I’ve learned more about is time management and maintaining a good work-life balance. I thought I was fairly good at maintaining a good balance until today. Today, I didn’t have a great day and I realised that it could have been attributed to how I have been prioritising tasks and activities in my life.

I’ve always considered myself one of those people who loves being busy. I think that is true to an extent. However, today I realised I got to the stage I had become overloaded and was sacrificing in areas I couldn’t sustain. Today’s blog post is all about making sure you have your priorities right. It’s quite easy to categorise your tasks:

  1. Things you want to do and need to do
  2. Things you don’t want to do but need to do
  3. Things you want to do but don’t need to do
  4. Things you don’t want to do and don’t need to do

Once you’ve established a list, it’s a little easier to prioritise. Items 1 and 2 are unavoidable. Whether you like it or not, you gotta do them! Don’t let item 3 get in the way – sometimes there are things we really want to do, but just don’t need to do, so don’t get distracted. And finally, if there are things you don’t want to do and don’t need to do, don’t do them!

So, go to the gym, eat properly, sleep well, drink plenty of water. Do less hours in the office but spend the hours you are in office more wisely, delegate tasks you don’t need to do or maybe even scrap them completely!

I’ve taken tomorrow off from work. I’m going to have a decent breakfast, put some laundry on, do the dishes, go to the gym, read a new book, go for a swim (or maybe just sunbathe), eat a decent lunch, hang out with some friends, I might go to gymnastics and I’m  definitely going to have an easily night. How are you going to prioritise your Thursday?

If you’re interested in the book I was referring to, read The On-Time On-The On-Time On-Target Manager Manager by Ken Blanchard and Steve Gottry.

‘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! 

Virgin Atlantic — 24 April 2015

Virgin Atlantic

I write my first post from the departure lounge of Gatwick airport. I’m actually flying with Air Transat on my trip to Canada.

I wondered if it would be possible to resurrect my website and transfer it to WordPress before I took off. The answer was yes, in less than an hour too!

So, why did I decide to start a WordPress account? Well, my old website was difficult to maintain and as a result, I never maintained it! I decided WordPress, what with the App, would be an easier and more dynamic interface. So far, so good; but still why? Well, I wanted to share my views with as many people as possible. I have attended a few trampoline regional squads over the years and often find I am repeating myself. I aim to use this site as a mega phone to help get my thoughts across to as wide an audience as possible.

Take them or leave them, these are my thoughts. I’m happy to be challenged and I’m happy to be wrong, so please get involved and post, ask, comment, etc.

And that’s it! First post done and we its nearly time to board. Your exits are here, here and here…