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Meet the Liverpool trampoline coach who’s bounced the city to the top

9 months ago

Meet the Liverpool trampoline coach who’s bounced the city to the top
The team at Liverpool Trampoline Gymastics Academy

If he’s got as much energy as he clearly has passion for the sport, it’s no wonder Jay Scouler has taken Liverpool Trampoline Gymnastics Academy to the top.

Liverpool Trampoline Gymnastics Academy, which is in its 21st year, offers the biggest competitive trampoline programme throughout the entire UK.

It has the highest number of athletes competing at every level from senior international level right down to participation level, and in most of those levels it brings home the most medals. In the British Trampoline Gymnastics this year 25 of his club members reached the finals, taking away 14 medals – five of them gold.

“For us, that was amazing,” says Jay.

But it’s not just about those who want to compete at the highest level.

A proud Jay Scouler at the 2023 British Championships, with Zak Perzamanos behind on the winner's podium
A proud Jay Scouler at the 2023 British Championships, with Zak Perzamanos behind on the winner’s podium

He adds: “It’s about people giving it a go and seeing if they love it like I do.

“Sport is the vehicle by which children can often find themselves, develop their confidence and their self-esteem, and grow as people.

“They can find something they want to do, and they enjoy… and I’d encourage all parents to get their kids into a sport, and to try different ones to see what fits them, so we can get them active, off their Play Stations and into the sports centres!”

International performance coach Jay founded the trampoline club as it is now in 2002, starting off in Everton Park, Croxteth and Peter Lloyd’s centres and, in October that year, taking three gymnasts to train at Park Road Gymnastics Centre.  From that original group of four – including Jay – the trampoline club grew with one of the founding gymnasts, Jack Helme, going on to represent Great Britain at the World and European Championships in 2009, ending a 17-year gap for Liverpool representation at Senior international level.

It moved to its own specially designed home in Hunts Cross in 2016, and has grown since then from three coaches and 24 gymnasts, to 26 coaches and more than 300 competitive gymnasts.

Jay says: “A lot of our staff have come through the club.  Our coaches were gymnasts here and many of them have been British Champions themselves, Junior World and European, and it’s great just seeing the evolution of the club over the years. Now bringing the next generation through is an amazing thing.

“Zak Perzamanos from Crosby has just won the Men’s Senior British Championships and he won Bronze in the World Cup in August, and it’s fantastic in that we cater for children coming in in their parents’ arms.”

It wasn’t quite so easy when Jay, now 39, became involved as a youngster in 1994: “I got involved in a Liverpool City Council playscheme and I just loved it,” he says. “I felt I had somewhere I was accepted and included, and I was doing something I loved.

“I found all the places that did trampolining at the time, from Everton Park Sports Centre, to Walton, and Fazakerley, and more, and for a while I was travelling on the bus, getting myself there seven days a week.”

Zak Perzamanos, Senior British Champion 2023
Zak Perzamanos, Senior British Champion 2023

As his skill and talent grew, he had to go to Salford four times a week, training in Manchester in the absence of a programme here, but he attended Liverpool sessions when he could and began assistant coaching, which sowed the seeds of where he is now.

He confesses: “I registered a club when I was only 16 and started taking kids through to national level competitions (until I was caught out for not having my coaching certificates). So I concentrated on my own coaching and my GCSEs but was allowed to get my coaching awards early at 17. And the moment I turned 18, I was onto the sports centre manager at Everton Park asking to start my own sessions.

“I just wish the academy had been around when I was growing up.”

Anyone can go along to the academy from as early as they – or their parents – want. Liverpool Trampoline Gymnastics Academy has a Bounce Off programme starting from zero years, which helps build children’s co-ordination, their sensory and emotional development, and social interaction.

They can start in the club itself from around four, with a programme of classes that can take them through to the highest competition level.

“But it’s not just for the elite, we offer trampolining for anyone who wants to do it – children and adults – from the city and wider.”

One of the best ways to try the sport is via one of the academy’s holiday camps, like the one starting in October from Monday, October 30.

Fun yet structured camp days are led by qualified and experienced staff, and it’s aimed at total beginners as well as those who are more advanced. It offers trampoline and floor-based gymnastics and, adds Jay: “Because it’s Hallowe’en there’ll be a bit of a Hallowe’en theme.”

It’s also got Hallowe’en parties on Tuesday, October 31, with prizes for the best fancy dress.

“Having our own facility has just made it,” says Jay. “I was nervous when we first moved from Park Road seven years ago, but after the end of the first day when Beth Tweddle officially opened it, I thought, no, we can do this. 

“It’s an incredible place to be in every day, to work in and to train in. 

“I’m proud of having a facility like this in our city for children and adults, so I’d just say to people, we are here. Get down and give us a go, come and see our magic place!”

For more info on Liverpool Trampoline Gymnastics Academy click HERE.

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