That’s Not a Layout, But Cool.

This post results from a conversation with a Freestyle trampolinist on Instagram. The discussion revolved around my comment about a skill he called a “triple layout”. My comment to his title was “not a layout, but cool.”

For context, I’ll post the video here. 

Now, and I state this with complete conviction, the person in the video is a skilled athlete whose prowess deserves respect. I recommend you look through his profile if you want to be amazed. 

The disagreement was around the name of his skill. In that conversation, I continued to remind him of my respect for his athleticism and challenged him to do the skill differently. Or to call the skill something else – to create something new.

His contention to my rebuke was that “this is what a layout is in freestyle.” And he’s not wrong. One of the mistakes the freestyle community makes is to dismiss form and clean body positions as unimportant. 

Their focus on power makes them ignore that form is essential to development in any acrobatic sport and perhaps in most performance disciplines. 

In their defence, that same focus has led them to push the limits of the sport – they pull some impressive moves – and again, I recommend you watch these guys in action. 

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Positions Have a Purpose

On that same thread, another person asked me what a layout was for me and what I would call the skill. 

To which I replied.

“Not only for me but for the Gymnastics, Trampoline, and Tumbling communities. The names differentiate between 3 main body positions: tuck, pike, and straight (or layout). 

The latter is a straight body position with open hips, and legs straight and together. 

As for the name of this trick, call it anything, be creative about it – the sport needs this – but taking a name that clearly points to something else (technically and historically) isn’t fair to anyone.”

Perfect Form

An example of perfect form in Trampoline Gymnastics.

Communication and Cooperation

Their contention persists that “this is freestyle”, and they can call it what they want. 

My point is that freestyle trampoline evolved directly from Trampoline Gymnastics, and the skills they do came from the same source. In turn, the sport of trampoline gymnastics (tumbling included) came from classical or artistic gymnastics; therefore, we respect their naming conventions. We didn’t invent the skills. 

I don’t think I’ll convince them of my point just yet, but it’s a conversation I’m happy to have. Most of the people in the Freestyle community are delightful and easy to have a conversation with. 

Furthermore, I believe that communication and cooperation will help both sports move forward.

Thank you for reading. 

— Coach José

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