I started playing volleyball when I was 13 years old, so when I heard there was a new volleyball league at Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park, I couldn't help but puff up my chest a little, convinced I'd waltz in there and blow everyone out of the water. So it was a surprise to me, and only me, that my debut was decidedly less than stellar.
I swung my arms and knocked the ball full-force straight at the ceiling. Point for the other team. In the back row I misjudged my jumping ability and totally whiffed the ball as it went whizzing over my head. Point for the other team. Even when I smacked the ball with a strong, familiar, hitter's arm swing — straight into the net it went. Point for the other team.
It's not that trampoline volleyball is more difficult than regular volleyball, it's just unique. "It's not as intimidating as you think it is. You don't have to play volleyball to be good at it," says player and Sky Zone manager Ryan Bogdan. "It's a totally different sport. Different ball, different net height, no out of bounds, oh yeah, and trampolines," Bogdan jokes. Bogdan got into the sport because he works at Sky Zone, but the league was started by Katie "Fred" Frederick of Chucktown Social.
So what exactly is trampoline volleyball? There are nine trampolines and six players on each side of the net. "You can use your hands, feet, whatever, but you can't double touch. The only thing out of bounds is the ground and ceiling," Frederick explains. As she tells me this, I remember earlier in the evening when I watched a player somehow pull off an epic bicycle kick to get the ball back to the other side. "We play best of three games, each to 25 points," says Frederick. Exactly like regular volleyball.
Both Frederick and Bogdan agree that a strong piece of advice to improve your game is to not "get caught jumping." If you're repeatedly bouncing on your trampoline, you risk being in the air when the ball comes to you, which makes it harder to hit. "And, jumping the whole time is a waste of your energy," Frederick adds.
A $90 registration fee will reserve you a spot for the eight-week season starting in early April, a team T-shirt, free admission to Sky Zone, drink specials, and free beer at the end-of-season party.
For more information, visit chucktownsocial.com.