My life as a trampoline coach

Hence begins my life as a trampoline coach.

Trampoline was introduced into the Olympics at the 2000 games in Sydney, Australia. In its debut, Canada medalled with Mathew Turgeon receiving the bronze medal in the mends division and Karen Cockburn receiving the bronze medal in the women’s event. They were all athletes from Skyriders trampoline and were developed by the great Dave Ross. Their rein continued into 2004, with Karen receiving the silver medal in the women’s event and Heather Ross finishing a respectable 6th place.

My life as a trampoline coach
Life as coach

Canada was killing it! 

Our men and women teams were doing some of the highest difficulties and setting world records. I was very fortunate to work with his talented team of athletes. There were always coaches and athletes from other countries training in the gym to have the opportunity to grow the sport together and pick Dave’s brain.

In 2008 the competition was fierce. China showed up on the scene and had some fantastic talent. Jason Burnet was a favourite as a medal contender, and Karen aimed to achieve another Olympic podium finish. Jason ended up winning the silver medal in the men’s event. 

Karen defended her silver medal, and Rosie Maclennan finished in a respectable 7th place. In 2012 Rosie took home the gold medal. She was the only Canadian athlete at the 2012 games to earn a gold medal. Karen placed a respectable 4th place missing the podium by only 0.09, and Jason placed 8th. In 2016 Rosie was a medal favourite and came to defend her title. She was successful and claimed her second Olympic gold medal.

I started coaching trampoline in 2002. I was running a competitive program at Airborne Trampoline with about 20 athletes. 

After gaining so much experience working for Dave, I hired some of my older athletes, trained them to coach my team, and started a more extensive development program.

By 2010 I grew the team to 50 athletes. Thanks to the support and mentorship from Dave, I was able to develop my own group of athletes from the grassroots. I started my high-performance program in 2004.

In 2016 I was accepted into the National Coaching Institute for the Advanced Coaching Diploma program. 

This 2-year program, when completed, gave me my Level 4 coaching certification. 

Jen Lee, my life as a trampoline coach

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I completed the program in 2018 and obtained my Level 4 coaching certification. My first athlete to become Canadian National champion was in 2005. There have been so many more wonderful moments following this achievement throughout the years. Even though I was developing these athletes, a part of myself was unsure about what I was really capable of as a coach. 

I questioned myself with thoughts of “am I doing and saying the right things? How will my words and actions affect this athlete? Am I making the right decision for this person? Is the athlete happy? Is this athlete healthy?”

I admit I had many fears, but the athletes gave me strength and confidence as their feedback and support were always abundant.

Communication was essential to me, and my expectation was always laid out before the athlete joined my program. I always focused on the process and not the outcome. 

If you put the work in, I truly believe the results are the fruit of your labour. 

The outcome was just a bonus of the process. Since 2005 I have had over 20 Canadian national champions. I had athletes medal at international events. Athletes who were named to the Canadian Junior men’s team, Junior women’s team and Canadian Senior men’s team.

These are remarkable achievements, and I won’t deny that. I am proud of all that my athletes have been able to accomplish. However, I am even more impressed with what the athletes achieved after they left the sport. 

I have athletes go on to perform with Cirque du Solei and other performance companies. I had athletes become doctors, engineers, and even go into the army. 

Looking back, I had hundreds of kids cross my path, and I am so grateful for how many lives I have been able to affect. 

I watched them come to me when they were so young, and I was able to watch them grow up, graduate high school, and become their own person. I watched them get married and have children of their own. I watched them face and overcome adversities, and I was always there to help guide them through life. 

I never realized how much of an impact I was making on them or them on me. 

It’s just my nature and the type of person I am. To be honest, I didn’t even realize I was doing anything most of the time. I genuinely care about every person who comes into my life, whether I know them for a minute or a lifetime.

Thank you for stopping by.

— Jen Lee

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