Diving in: Beyond the surface of the Trampoline work-out

Last week, we visited the Trampoline Park @ AMPED River Valley for a great workout with our friends. It had been a unique and exciting experience as it was the first time we held such an activity apart from our usual hikes and climbing activities. Due to the overwhelming response, we have decided to hold the next Trampoline event on 14 Jun 15. If you have missed it, do join us again for a great workout.

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<<< To view more photos from our last trampoline event, click here to go to our Facebook page. >>>

Besides just having fun, let’s dive deeper than the surface level of things. To excel at any sport, we need to learn effectively the skills related to the sport. We also need to develop a certain character. In any activity, with awareness, we could learn lessons about ourselves.

Do you know that the trampoline workout is not only a great workout on its own, but also a great assessment of your fitness? In each of us, certain muscles are underutilized while others are overworked. To achieve greater overall fitness would mean stretching the overworked muscles while strengthening the underworked ones. In the trampoline workout, due to the way some of us fall that causes some sort of knee-jerk reaction, certain muscles that are underutilized or “dormant” for quite some time may suddenly be called into action, and this causes pain in those muscles as our body isn’t able to support this sudden force. Therefore, in a way, to experience such aches may not be a bad thing if you could view it from the perspective of having an opportunity to grow stronger with the body and intentionally re-training these muscles.

The trampoline workout provides us a great opportunity to break free from the clutter of our lives and the noises of our mind, to drop down into the realm of the body. You may not know this, but to be able to have fun in our body is a skill. Many of us can’t. Some of us are inhibited. We fear that we look stupid. We forget how to let go and let the body express itself through movement. Just like dance, to enable our body to freely express itself through movement on the trampoline requires a re-connection with our inner child, that is essentially our playful nature that just wants to create, express and love. This inner child may have been repressed over the years as we progressed from childhood to adulthood, for it may not have been encouraged/supported by our parents, the nature of our upbringing, our environment and the society. Thus, it may require us a fair bit of courage to let our bodies bounce its own dance on the trampoline, due to the profound letting go of the fear of judgement from others to allow more of our true nature to show and express itself.

Why is it important to re-establish the connection to our bodies? The body has a consciousness of its own. In our daily stresses, tension builds up in our bodies, almost inevitably. Over time, if tension is not released, our bodies fall ill. Many of our traumas get locked up in different areas of our bodies. By connecting with the body by letting it do its own movement, and realising how it would like to move, it is a form of healing and reconnection.

Lastly, I want to share with you a few ideas that could help you improve faster on the trampoline, if you are a beginner.

1. Choose specifically a few basic cool trampoline skills to begin with such as tuck jumps, pike jumps, straddle jumps, half and full twists, seat, front and back drops (basics moves could be taught by the instructors at AMPED). It would be a bonus to do your research so you know what moves you want to attempt. Be patient so you could get your fundamentals right, especially how you land and take off. (To learn more about the 4 phases of a bounce and the basic movements of arms and feet, click here.) Decide that you want to learn it well so that you could combine them at the end to form your cool masterpiece!

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Participants learning how to push off from their backs on the ground: It’s not an easy skill!

2. Know how to self-correct, by being mindful of your body and posture. Befriend your body and don’t get frustrated with it just because you can’t perform certain new skills. It may just mean you haven’t properly conditioned your body to function effectively in day-to-day life. Choose a few things that you can do to begin with and excel at those little things.

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3. Remove barriers to practice. Such barriers may likely be fears of letting go, fears of being judged and the disbelief that you would become good at the sport eventually. These will only get in the way of learning.

*Remember, that if you realise you have these inhibitions while you’re learning trampoline, they do not just go away if you decide not to learn it. They would manifest in other areas of your life e.g. your career, education, as the way you do something in one area directly translates to how you would do other things in other aspects of your life. Thus, this turns into an opportunity for deeper introspection to eliminate these barriers within us, and more often than not it is courage that would break us free.

4. Practise! Don’t think about it. Just do it.

These tips are derived from the ideas and research of Josh Kaufman. According to Josh Kaufman, while learning a new skill, there are several steps to practise intelligently to make sure you invest your time in the most efficient way possible.

Skills Acquisition graph
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The Learning Curve

At the beginning, we take a really long time as we’re totally new at it. However, the early part of practice is really efficient; with a little bit of practice, we get better. With reference to the learning curve, when you begin, you’re grossly incompetent. That early level of improvement is really fast. At a certain point, you reach a plateau and the subsequent games become more difficult/long to take.

The four steps to learning a new skill efficiently are: deconstructing the skill, learning enough to self-correct, removing barriers to practice and practising 20 hours.

Firstly, deconstruct the skill i.e. look into what you want to accomplish when you’re done, and then look into the skill and break it down into smaller pieces. As the final product is usually big bundles of skills that require many different skill sets, the more you could break apart the skill, the more easily you could decide what are the parts of the skills that would enable you to accomplish what you want. Then, you can practise those first, so that you can improve your performance in the least amount of time possible. In most skills, there are usually a set of skills that are really important that you would use all the time.

The second is to learn enough to self-correct as you practise, so the learning becomes a way of getting better when you realise you’re making a mistake, and then doing something a little differently. It is important to practise as you learn, instead of telling yourself you need to finish studying 10 full resources first before you’re good enough to put what you’ve learnt to practice- that just becomes a form of procrastination.

Next, is to remove barriers to practice.

Lastly, Josh Kaufman mentions we should overcome the initial frustration barrier and practise at least 20 hours to reap the rewards. To learn more about his theory, go here.

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