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The Trampoline Dodgeball Championship is this Saturday: Killer tips from a pro

This Saturday, House of Air in the Presidio is hosting the first ever Trampoline Dodgeball World Championship.  Since 2010 the trampoline park has been the go-to spot for pelting friends and strangers with spongy spherical balls while bouncing four feet high. Now they’re turning up the heat.

Dave Schaeffer, co-owner of House of Air and founder of the American Trampoline Dodgeball Association of America, tells us this weekend’s contest is no laughing matter. More than a dozen teams from around the Bay Area (and one from Canada) will be competing for the coveted TD title. As Schaeffer puts it: “You don’t play Trampoline Dodgeball, you live it.”

In anticipation of this weekend’s showdown, Schaeffer gave San Francisco exclusive tips on how to win the holy grail. (For more on House of Air and fun social workouts, read San Francisco’s feature “Fitness Likes Friends.”)

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SF: What distinguishes a good TD’er from a skilled "traditional" dodgeball player?

DS: A great Trampoline Dodgeball player must be wily, have an inherent athletic ability, a strong arm and a soft touch for catching. It takes brains, creativity, and a little Houdini-like ability to escape close encounters with lightening-fast dodgeballs.

SF: Do the really skilled players first learn their moves in the schoolyard? Were you the type of kid who liked picking off the slow ones a recess?

DS: I'd love to say no, but yes, it is true. However, some of those kids who were beaned in elementary school are “all-growed-up” now and have developed mean fastballs. So on any given night you can get clobbered by the former bully or the former wimp.

SF: An expert player shows up to House of Air ready to bounce. What’s she wearing?

DS: The standard gear is sweatbands (both head and wrist), a team jersey of some type, short shorts, and knee-high trampoline grip socks.

SF: TD sessions at House of Air are for all ages, but league play is for adults only. How does taking the kids out of the arena change the game?

DS: It can be tough to play a game at 70 percent in order to take it easy on the kids. Especially when the kids are much better than you and throw harder. Once the kids are gone, the adults are free to throw as hard as they want.

SF: Who is the ideal TD Dodgeball player?

DS: If your idea of a rocking Friday night is a warm cup of tea and an Advanced Calculus book, there is a chance you may not enjoy Trampoline Dodgeball. Everyone else will love it. It’s pretty much the most fun you can have in public.

House of Air, 926 Mason St, The Presidio San Francisco, 415-345-9675