Club Focus: UCD Trampoline Club

UCD Trampoline Club are one of the most active sports clubs on campus, and their website is hilarious to boot. Conall Cahill bounced along to ask them a few questions...[br]“Since the dawn of time man has looked to the sky, at the birds and the bees and the pterodactyls, with one dream: to fly….”So begins the wonderfully eccentric introduction the UCD Trampoline Club offers visitors to its website ( little snippet of light-heartedness aptly captures the unique and welcoming atmosphere the club provides. At their best, college clubs and societies provide a crucial release for students from the daily stresses of university life. Under pressure regarding examinations, finances or otherwise, being able to spend a couple of hours in a fun and positive environment has immeasurable benefits. And all the evidence seems to suggest that the Trampoline Club ticks both of those boxes.Every Tuesday (8-10pm) and Thursday (5-7pm) evening provides the sight of the acrobatic members of the Trampoline Club flinging themselves up into the air off six Olympic standard trampolines, a phenomenon always greeted with curious intrigue by those using the Performance Gym a couple of floors above. Watched over by several experienced coaches, most members of the club will not have participated in the sport prior to college. This, Assistant Head Coach Paul Clarke says, is perhaps the club’s “biggest selling point”. Clarke himself only started the sport last year after seeing it advertised in the leaflet for the Sports Expo and thinking it sounded like an “interesting” new challenge. Now he balances his coaching duties and own training in UCD with a part-time job teaching children the joys of the sport. But while upon joining the club he quickly started taking trampolining seriously, he emphasises that there is ample opportunity for those just seeking some kind of social outlet:“They are catered to, to have fun at training, people who don’t want to take it seriously…my friend didn’t take it seriously at all but she got to go to competition. If she competed she sort of messed around, learned some new skills, all that. Or if she didn’t want to compete, she didn’t have to.”At the time of writing the club has recently finished a weekend in Cavan that is a staple of its year and which sounds, quite frankly, fabulous (“we go on a bender in a GAA hall that we have free reign over for the weekend and we just have a trampoline set up and that’s it, like”) and is currently looking forward to the intervarsities competition in Cork on the weekend of 18th-20th November. For anyone looking to join, Clarke says, this is a perfect “ice breaker” as it is “still informal and still good craic and cheap enough – it’s not like you’re paying for flights or anything”.One newcomer to the club is Dave Kent, a third year Arts student who decided to take up the sport after seeing it at the Olympics and thinking “it looked like unbelievable craic.” Kent admits that the first time he ventured onto the trampoline it was “scary” (“once you get the height you go, ‘Oh crap! Am I going to come back down?’”) but that you “get used to it” and that in his case he felt “well equipped” at the end of his first session. And when quizzed on how he felt as a newcomer at his first training session he was quick to praise the “friendly atmosphere”:“Every one of the coaches will make an effort to talk to you. They’ll tell you what they want you to do and then, even when you come off, they’ll say, ‘How did you get into trampolining?’ They’ll make an effort. For first years or novices, that is brilliant.”The club describes trampolining as a sport that “combines cardio, co-ordination, core strength (and) flexibility” – and Kent admits he was surprised by the physical demands of the sport. The gentle back-garden trampoline boundings of childhood were soon forgotten:“The way your form has to go, if you’re going to be going into a competition you have to get it spot on. That involves bringing the stomach in, pushing out the hips, snapping your hips up. There’s a lot more than just going up and down. I figured that I’d be somewhat tired. But when you’re coming off three or four bounces in a row it does take it out of you, and that was a bit of a shock for me.”And Kent has words of advice for anyone torn between taking the jump into this “niche” sport and sticking to more familiar pursuits:“It is one of those clubs where you go, ‘Oh, out there. Niche.’ And then you think, ‘I might take up soccer. I’m used to soccer, I’m used to rugby.’ No! Go for trampolining, because it’s incredible craic!”Membership of UCD Trampoline Club is just €15 for the year. If you wish to join or have any enquiries you can contact them at, via Facebook (UCD Trampoline Club) or on Twitter (@ucdtramp).