Night Flyers is a competitive club, which means that we take part in regional ‘NDP’ competitions 3 times each year, inter club events (the ‘North-West East Midlands’!), plus the annual East Midlands championships. Most of our members also attend the regional, zonal and even the national BSGA schools competitions.
Your first competition may be a bit scary, but if you understand how things work and what the judges are looking for, you’ll be well prepared. These few pages should give you some insight into the way that trampoline competitions are run.
What is a ‘Grading Competition’?
Most of the competitions that we attend are ‘grading’ competitions. This means that you will compete against other trampolinists in the same age group and grade (D, E, F, G, H or I, or NDP1,2,3,4,5,6 & 7). There are typically 10-20 competitors in each group, although occasionally you may find there are only 2 or 3. When you arrive at your first competition, it will be busy and may seem a bit daunting. Don’t worry, just look around for your coach or other club members and they’ll sort you out. You’ll see lots of more experienced trampolinists, but you will be competing against people of similar age and ability to yourself.
What happens when I get there?
The competitions are held at various venues around the East Midlands, from Northampton to Worksop. A week or so before the event, you will be given a time at which you should be competing – make sure you’re there an hour ahead, as timings can be a bit variable. Most competitions will have 2 tor 3 panels running throughout the day and your group will be allocated to one of these. You will be given the chance for a ‘general warm-up’ to practise your routines – usually about 4 goes. Then everyone may do a final ‘controlled warm-up’ before competing their set routine, then their voluntary routine.
How will I know what to do?
There are ‘marshals’ controlling each trampoline. Their job is to make sure the right person is on the right trampoline at the right time. They also organise the warm-ups, so that everyone gets a go. When it’s your turn to compete, the marshal will tell you. You may have to sit on the bed and wait for a minute if the judges are still adding up the scores for the previous competitor. The superior judge will check your name and then ask you to perform your routine. You should ‘present’ to the judges and then do your routine. In most competitions, you can take as many straight bounces as you want to get settled (up to a minute, but don’t overdo it!). For NDP competitions though, there is a valuable bonus score if you do exactly 6 preliminary bounces before your routine. The judging starts from the first actual move of your routine. Complete all 10 moves, remain stationary and upright for at least 3 seconds after your ‘out bounce’ at the end, and then present to the judges to show you have finished.
What are ‘sets’ and ‘vols’?
NDP events simply have two compulsory or ‘set’ routines, which you must complete. For the lower grades, the two routines are identical.
For inter-club grades I to E, everyone in the group performs one of up to two defined routines, which is marked for form only. For higher grades, the set routines can vary, but must include certain compulsory moves. The second round is a voluntary (‘vol’) routine, which may be the same as the ‘set’, but will usually include more difficult moves. The vol is scored for form and awarded a bonus score reflecting the difficulty (the ‘tariff’). There is a maximum tariff limit for each grade that allows a vol. Your overall position is determined by the total of the two rounds. If there are a large number of entrants, or you are competing at one of the higher grades, it is usual to have an extra, final round for the top 8 competitors from the first 2 rounds. This round is also a voluntary routine.
How well will I do?
Actually winning a trophy is great, but it can be a bit of a lottery at times, depending on how many other people there are in the same group (have a look at some of the results pages if you don’t believe me!). In the lower grades especially, you are competing against yourself really – trying to improve on your previous scores, complete a new routine or achieve a qualifying score for the next grade. The most important thing to remember is to enjoy yourself!
Anything else I should know?
A quick note on clothing. Leotards must be worn (Night Flyers provide these during the week before the comp. Please return them unwashed, inside out). Boys should wear light shorts or trousers. All competitors must wear white socks or trampoline shoes. Long hair must be tied back. No glitter!
To find out more about judging, deductions and tariffs , click the menus above. To find out about the requirements for each grade, click here.