Why I Exercise: The Teenage Trampolinist

Remember P.E. at school? Nah, we blocked it out, too.

From that time the teacher made you do it in your pants when you were really little, to the absolute HORROR of having a red, sweaty face in front of the boys when you were older, P.E. was a total flipping nightmare.
Which is a shame. Because it’s a super-important way to keep fit and to build confidence – plus, the exercise you do at school can dictate how active you are in later life.

This week, as part of our series with This Girl Can, where we’re speaking to real women about real exercise, we meet Cerys, a 15-year-old who, thanks to a joint partnership between her school and the local sports centre, is able to train hard in trampolining. Which, let’s face it, is a lot more fun than freezing your arse off on a hockey pitch in December.

“I’ve done gymnastics since I was about 4 and two years ago, the trampolining club were running an after-school club and I liked the sound of it so I went along, fell in love and I’ve been doing it ever since. I train three times a week now and coach younger kids on Saturday mornings.
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“I like doing routines. When we go to competitions we do a 10-bounce routine. I love learning and practising those. My favourite move is called a ‘crash dive’ because it feels like you’re flying. You go up, very very straight and then you wait in the air before turning over onto your back. I feel like Superman, momentarily.

It can be hard for teenage girls to take up a sport. You're worried about judgement and what people are going to think of you.

“One of my favourite things about trampolining is that it is quite a lot of exercise – especially with the warm-ups we do before we start bouncing – but it’s so fun it’s just an added bonus that we’re also keeping fit.

“If I have a bad day at school it always makes me feel better. Also, we’ve got a really nice group of girls and boys and the coaches are really supportive, too, so I always feel better after being with them. I get a real sense of achievement when I learn new moves or if I’m coaching and I help a younger person learn something. It’s helped a lot with my confidence – I used to be nervous because I thought everyone knew what they were doing and what was happening but now I’m much more confident and happy in myself.

“It can be hard for teenage girls to take up a sport. There’s a big thing about being worried about judgement and what people are going to think of you. Also, starting a new sport if you’ve not done it before and not knowing what to do can make you really nervous.

“For girls, too, there’s the image thing; the sweaty red face and being worried about what people are going to think of them… I think that’s why I love this campaign so much because it’s like, ‘I’ve got a red face, I’m a bit sweaty, my hair’s a bit frizzy but it doesn’t matter because so is everyone else’s'.

"I think that’s why trampolining is good – it’s everyone together and it’s overcoming that ‘Oh no what are the boys going to think about the way my hair looks or my face because I’m a bit hot’. It’s more like, everyone’s the same and we’re just enjoying it.

“If you’re thinking about trying trampolining then British Gymnastics have got a special map where you can find clubs near you and I would say just go for it! No one’s going to expect you to be a world-class trampolinist and know exactly what you’re doing. They’ll know what to do to start you off and then build you up. Basically, it’s just SO MUCH FUN.”

For more about This Girl Can, go to thisgirlcan.co.uk where you can find out about the women in the campaign, get tips on how to get active and join the national debate using #ThisGirlCan. Follow us on @thisgirlcanuk.

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