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Trampoline training is the best cross training technique to help you progress faster in wakeboarding, and a great way to get a head start on the season. Any Pro wake boarder will testify that practicing on a trampoline will give you the aerial awareness, and muscle memory needed for learning new inverts and spins. Pro rider Tim Keepers says, “You should try a new trick one hundred times on the trampoline before you try it behind the boat.” This approach to training will greatly reduce the learning and crashing time spent on each new trick.
There are a few safety points that you should keep in mind when you’re jumping:
- Don’t have someone double bounce you, it makes you susceptible to falling off the trampoline, and can hurt your knees if you’re not ready for the double bounce.
- Don’t strap a wakeboard to your feet and jump on the trampoline. A lot of people want to try this to get the feel of having a board on their feet when jumping. It really doesn’t help, and can tear up your trampoline and throw you off the mat if you land off-balance. However, there is a trampoline board called the Guru that will be on the market this summer and is the next best thing to being on the water.
- Only take 3 or 4 bounces when setting up for a trick. For most flips and spins, you only need a medium height bounce. Many people will set up each trick with 10 huge bounces, but it wears them out quickly and they really don’t need that much air for the trick anyway.
- Have a couple of spotters on the ground to help you if you get into trouble.
Here’s how to bounce the right way:
- Jump off of flat feet with your weight centered. To avoid wandering in the air, try this exercise, take large bounces and try to land in the exact same spot every time.
- Tie a wakeboard handle off to a tree or solid object to help you get the feel of handle passes, and correct handle position when flipping.
- When you are doing spins, keep your eyes level. Also, just like when you are spinning off the wake, generate the spin from pulling the handle to your rear hip; try not to huck your shoulders to create the spin.
- When flipping, think about leading the rotation with your head, keeping the handle low and by your waist. Fight the tendency of bringing the handle up to your chest; this movement greatly slows your rotation down when you are doing flips behind the boat.
- When attempting a flip with a spin, initiate the flip part of the move first, and spin as you come down. If you are having difficulty trying a new type of flip, attempt it with very little air, or try it from a squatted position. This will help take some of the fear out of falling and make it easier to try.