Essex Life & Countryside, August 2006
Essex Places - Reach for the sky
Nicky Adams meets the men and women of Brentwood who are jumping for joy.
Photography: Nigel Baker (& Dave Kingaby - ed)
THE PEOPLE of Brentwood seem to have a spring in their step. Performing aerial acrobatics might not seem like everyone’s cup of tea, but in Brentwood, trampolining seems to be on the up.
‘Trampolining strengthens every muscle, organ and cell in your body,’ says Dave Kingaby, the club coach at Brentwood Trampoline Club. ‘It has so many benefits as a sport, and is such great fun as well, it’s a wonder that more people don’t try it out.’
Recent research by NASA found that trampolining was 68 per cent more effective as a form of exercise than that national favourite, jogging, and even David Beckham can occasionally be spotted using a rebounder (small trampoline) to help improve his fitness. But before the country’s adult population rushes out to the garden for a jig about on the kids’ trampoline, it’s worth considering taking a turn on a tramp under the watchful eye of a professional coach.
‘Although as a club we focus a lot of attention on producing highly capable competitive performers,’ explains Dave, ‘we also provide regular opportunities for recreational bouncers to try the sport out at our Sunday sessions. Who knows, any one of them might turn out to be our next world champion.’
Residents of Brentwood are spoilt for choice when it comes to trampoline instruction. Brentwood Trampoline Club runs sessions all through the week at its base in Brentwood School Sports Centre to make sure that the sport is readily available to the entire local community. Taster sessions are run twice-a-month, so anyone who wants to try out trampolining doesn’t need to wait too long, and the club even runs a pay-as-you-go system, so there’s no need to book, you can just turn up and bounce. Experience sessions are also put on for local groups, such as Scouts and Guides, to help introduce new people to the sport.
‘Some people take up the sport for the first time in their 40s,’ says Dave, although the average age of a Brentwood Trampoline Club members is about 12. We have plenty of adults in their 20s and 30s, and children can start bouncing just before their fifth birthday. It’s great exercise for all ages.’
There are plenty of chances to try out other forms of exercise too. The Brentwood Centre is one of the south east’s best-known venues for entertainment, sports and leisure and has international standard facilities for most indoor sports as well as a hi-tech fitness centre, health suite, beauty clinic and therapy rooms, squash courts, purpose-built crèche and two swimming pools. Outdoor facilities include the Brentwood Arena for senior football, special events and exhibitions, with floodlit tennis and netball courts as well as large playing fields.
Perhaps it is no surprise that the people of Brentwood are so active, as this is a town surrounded be countryside and parkland. The historic town centre encompasses no fewer than three designated Conservation Areas, mingling with Brentwood’s historic buildings including Brentwood School, the Church of St Mary the Virgin, the Grade II listed Essex Regiment Chapel, Brentwood Museum, Marygreen Manor, Warley Place and the Cathedral Church of St Mary and St Helen (see right), which has become a modern architectural landmark, as well as the town’s ancient monument, the St Thomas a Becket Chapel.
As Brentwood is not so urbanised as some of its neighbours in the county, its three green wedges still reach right into the centre. The Hartswood/Shenfield Common and Brentwood School/Merrymeade Park form a breathing space among Brentwood’s established housing developments, while Thriftwood is an extensive woodland area right in the town, perfect for a brisk Sunday stroll. Elsewhere in the Borough of Brentwood there are 11 Conservation Areas, so there is no shortage of open space for a healthy walk, jog or cycle ride. In fact, when the Olympics come to London in 2012, many of the cycling events will be held at Brentwood’s Weald Country Park, which is sure to spark interest in the sport.
So are there any Olympic hopefuls at Brentwood Trampoline Club? Brentwood Trampoline Club was founded in 1991, nine years before trampolining was recognised as an Olympic sport and the British Trampoline Federation merged with the British Amateur Gymnastics Association (now simply British Gymnastics, or BG for short). As a competitive club, Brentwood is affiliated to BG and routinely attends competitions within the Eastern Counties region and national competitions organised throughout the country, with a good deal of success. ‘Over the past 12 months, our members have done very well at all levels,’ says Dave. ‘In some cases the success is measured through progression through competitive grades — grades 5 to 3 compete regionally and grades 2 and 1 are national level competitions. For others it is through gathering medals and trophies. The most visible demonstration of a club looking to improve levels of skill and quality of performance is the number of performers qualifying to higher grades, and we have had several lately. It’s all down to the commitment of the members and their coaches.’
Brentwood Trampoline Club members are often to be found on the podium at international and national competitions. Club member Hannah Davies is the current World 17-18 Synchronised Trampoline Champion, while Alex Tucker is the Under-13 National Schools Closed (grade 5 and below) Champion and Scott Gregory is the Under-13 National Schools Open (any grade) bronze medallist.
‘As well as all the obvious benefits to health and fitness a good bounce can bring, there are many other pluses to joining a trampoline club,’ says Dave.
‘Even people who are not confident in their sporting ability can make some progress on the relatively forgiving surface of a trampoline and this all helps to boost confidence. And, of course, one of the best things about trampolining is that it’s great fun - and that’s got to be good for you all round.’
Brentwood Trampoline Club trains at Brentwood School Sports Centre four nights a week as well as many Sunday mornings ( pay and bounce) and is committed to having fun with a serious objective.
For details call 01277 220722, pop in and see the bouncers in action or visit www.brentwoodtc.org.
Bouncing in one place on a trampoline means you have to develop a keen sense of balance and awareness of how your body’s balance can be adjusted (or compromised) by small movements at the body’s extremities
Closely related to balance is the need to co-ordinate arm and leg actions, as well as many fast-twitch muscle groups, to form the different shapes and perform somersaults and twists Cardiovascular fitness Bouncing on a trampoline increases the pulse rate and strengthens muscle groups essential for a healthy cardiovascular system
Bouncing repeatedly puts bones under small amounts of stress sufficient to help them build themselves up to cope with that stress, reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis
Bilateral motor skills
The action of bouncing while trying to balance and co-ordinate bodily extremities requires both sides of the body and the brain to become engaged, which is quite different to many ground-based sports where one side can often be favoured (most notably in football, for example)
The need to bounce in tune with the trampoline to achieve optimum height for least effort improves requires rhythm
Improved lymphatic circulation
Short periods of weightlessness between periods of higher than average G forces, which occur while bouncing, helps the body to get rid of toxins.
© Essex Life & Countryside Magazine 2006