Head of UWIC's Trampoline Academy, says "To succeed in top level sport you need to be a bit obsessed about it".
Raise Your Game: Specialist subject?
Jake Bailey: I'm a lecturer in Sports Coaching at UWIC. I look specifically at trampoline and I'm developing the academy here.
I'm interested in key mechanisms of change. My specialist subject is creating change in the way people move and in their movement patterns.
RYG: What is Sports Coaching?
JB: For me Sports Coaching is about developing people. It's about developing a set of skills, beliefs and values which allow people to change in ways that are positive.
There are a couple of different things I do within my club for beginner trampolinists in terms of key skills and competencies. We also have an elite section which looks to develop high level performance.
RYG: What kind of key skills and competencies do you try and instil through trampolining?
JB: Trampolining is very good for coordination, balance, spatial awareness, key body actions (limb actions), body awareness and jumping skills. There are a whole range of key skills that are relevant to other sports and can be taught particularly well through trampoline.
The reason trampoline is good at teaching lots of competencies is that it can be tailored specifically to the individual. There's one person doing the performance at a time. Everyone can work at their own level and at a level which is appropriate for them. Everybody can achieve some level of success through trampoline.
People need to learn structure and discipline to succeed in any sport. They also learn how to keep control of themselves.
I suppose some of our biggest success stories are those kids that come here lacking in social skills and unable to control their emotional state.
Through working with coaches they develop their communication skills - they learn how to listen to, and interpret what the coach is asking of them. They get equipped with a range of skills that will help them develop and progress in both sport and education.
RYG: What techniques do you use to motivate youngsters at the academy?
JB: With young children its mostly about keeping it fun for them. The British Gymnastics Association have designed a long term development programme which uses four levels of training.
The first level is called fundamentals, which teaches key skills and competencies through fun. So we're teaching these kids without them really realising that they're being taught.
This year we won 12 Welsh titles. We have child members, members with disabilities and top level national performers so we try and cater for the whole range of standards and abilities. It's mainly about giving people as many valuable experiences as possible.
RYG: What are your top tips for sporting success?
JB: That's a difficult one. Sport's such a complex and dynamic thing that to draw specific tips out is quite difficult. In relation to the trampoline then there's a definite physical shape which is helpful - tall, relatively wiry with strong, powerful musculature.
You need very good spatial awareness - you need to know where you are even when you're upside down and spinning around. Courage is necessary for trampoline. You need to be a little bit brave to do some of the things trampolinists do.
You need to be strong mentally so you come in and work hard even when things aren't going so well. You have to work hard to keep the right physical attributes for trampoline. You need to stretch a lot so you have the flexibility to make the right shapes in the air.
You need to make sure your body's strong so it can handle the forces its subjected to when performing. These can be up to twelve or fourteen times your own body weight.
People have to really love what they're doing and be prepared to go the extra yard. To succeed in top level sport you need to be a bit obsessed about it. That can only happen if you love it in the first place. Without that there's no foundation to work from.
RYG: How important do you feel science is in helping sport evolve and progress?
JB: Extremely important, absolutely. We've developed new techniques and new ways of understanding the sport which we've devolved through the rest of the trampoline population.
Through understanding science and through the application of scientific principles we now understand sport to a much greater extent. We then pass that information to coaches and use that information to develop performance.
Video analysis is something used extensively in trampoline. We record performance and are able to show that back to the performer. That way we can give them feedback to help them understand what they're actually doing and what you'd like them to do better.
Fitness testing and understanding physiological principles is a great example of science benefiting sport. If you understand physiology you can tailor a performer's training to meet the specific demands of a sport.
Science has also been used to enhance youth development. It has been discovered that there are specific windows of opportunity in a child's development.
When youngsters are going through growth spurts they're particularly open to developmental changes. If they take part in the right kinds of training at these times they are much more likely to reach their full physical potential.
RYG: To what extent is a healthy diet linked to sporting success?
JB: A healthy diet is very important. I talk to my athletes a lot about their diet. I have some athletes who have a particularly poor diet - eating chips all the time.
They don't have the same levels of energy as children who have a more balanced diet. They get more tired and they can't train for as long. They also tend to have greater mood swings within training sessions.
Quality of diet - having plenty of fruit and vegetables, consuming adequate calorie levels, not too much salt, not too much fat, is very important, both in maintaining the correct body weight, and in terms of energy levels and attitude.
Diet makes a huge difference to a person's motivation - the way they engage with the activities they're participating in. Diet is an extremely important, yet often neglected, factor.
If your attitude is wrong you'll get found out in the end.
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