Everyone knows that trampolines are excellent tools for losing weight, planning parties, and providing hours of backyard fun, but did you know that trampolines are becoming a growing fixture in many competitive team sports?
One of the hottest and most dynamic trampoline sports today is slamball. Invented in East Los Angeles, California, slamball has gained widespread attention from street basketball players and trampoline enthusiasts alike. This intense game has been aired on many television stations, including Cartoon Network, Versus, CBS, and SpikeTV. Slamball clips have been featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, FuelTV, ESPN's SportsCenter, and The Best Damn Sports Show Period. This trampoline sport has also gained notoriety in the print world, and has been featured in Sports Illustrated, GQ, USA Today, Time Magazine, and the New York Times.
The rules are fairly simple and straightforward. The sport is essentially a full-contact version of basketball that has some very edgy modifications that guarantee a heart-pounding competition. The games are played in four five-minute quarters and one 10 minute break for halftime, making the trampoline-enhanced game very time efficient. Teams consist of eight or nine players with incredible endurance and physical capabilities. Below the padded basketball rim and backboard are four trampolines embedded in the floor that allow the launching of the players for slam dunks and other basketball stunts. Slam dunks are scored as three points, and an uninterrupted ball in the net is worth two points. This rough game permits full body contact, and a player can be physically prevented from scoring when he has possession of a ball that he is dribbling or dunking, even while he is airborne. Because of the increased bodily contact and the heights introduced by the trampoline, players must wear an array of protective gear and optional slamball helmets to avoid injury. The court is encased in glass, much like a hockey rink, to ensure the safety of both the players and the spectators.
Although some of the rules of slamball are very similar to that of conventional basketball, the use of trampolines involves some special considerations and an exploding demand of athletic skill. The shock absorbency of the trampoline beneath the net not only allows players to become easily airborne but also provides a cushioned surface on which to land. Players must possess the hand-eye coordination of basketball players, the dexterity of gymnasts, and the gritty tolerance for roughhousing of hockey players. Competitors possessing agility, kinaesthetic awareness, and unparalleled athleticism are the norm --- never the exception.
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