My Coaching Journey – Elliot Stratton
Up until the age of 15 I had no idea that trampolining as a sport existed. I was unaware that my high school’s sports hall was actually a huge trampolining centre with 8 trampolines and 2 DMTs. I had no idea that one fateful mistake would change my life forever. Would end up with me working, in what is now a dream job, on the other side of the world.
It all started when I was a 15 year old attending Hitchin Boys School in England. A keen sportsman, P.E lessons were my favourite class of the week. But one day back in October of 2003, being a forgetful teenager, I got my days mixed up and forgot my P.E kit. The school had a simple straight up policy of If you ‘Forget’ your P.E kit and receive a lunch time detention.
I attended this lunch time detention upset. I would not be able to play in our usual lunchtime soccer game. I had no idea how much this detention would affect the rest of my life.
I sat at the side of the sports hall alongside the other forgetful teenagers. Our P.E teacher explained the rules. he was going to get lunch while the trampoline coach would keep an eye on us. When the bell rang, we were free to go to our afternoon classes. I remember thinking to myself here comes the most boring hour of my life!
When the trampoline coach came in I instantly recognized him. He was one of my best friend’s older brothers. He also recognized me and came over to have chat. During the detention he let me get on the trampolines to have a play, and I fell in love with it.
From here my career as an athlete began. Within a year I was training 6 days a week and competing at high regional level, trying to make national level. At this point I began assistant coaching to try and help pay for my training. To start with I didn’t really enjoy coaching as I wanted to do was be the person on the trampoline jumping!
But as the next couple of years continued, I started to appreciate coaching. I started to enjoy helping others succeed in the sport that I had fallen in love with. The look on the athletes’ face when they achieved a new skill or won a medal started to give me as much, if not more, satisfaction than reaching my own athletic goals. During these years I had slowly climbed up through to a 3rd level coach in Great Britain.
At the start of 2006 one of my coaches, Tony Burton, immigrated to Australia with his family. At this point, I was a little lost as an athlete. He was the highest level coach in my region and I was uncertain about my future as an athlete and a coach. But a couple of months later Tony contacted me and offered a gap year in Australia to help him start up his new club. As a young 18 year old brit, with no real focus on pursuing my academic education further at that point, I jumped straight on a plane and landed in Perth in July 2006. Little did I know at this point, that this was the beginning of a whole new life for me in Australia.
I had the most amazing 12 months with High Flyers. I travelled the country, attended competitions whilst also helping Tony set up the strongest Trampoline club in the state.
I was sad to go home at the end of the year but I had arranged to train with one of Great Britan’s DMT coaches and was excited about pushing my athletic career further.
I ended up being back in the UK for 10 months returning to Australia for a 1 month holiday to catch up with friends. It was during this trip that I decided this is where I wanted to spend my life. I approached Tony and Emma about the option for a full time job to get me in to Australia. Luckily, they were more than happy to help. I went back home for a matter of months and in November 2008 I moved out to Australia for good.
On my return I was given the responsibility of running the Trampoline Program at High Flyers. The last 7 years have been a dream for me. I had the opportunity to run a high level competitive program in the sport I love. I have been training some amazingly talented athletes and work alongside some amazing coaches.
I can’t even begin to list the achievements that we have had in this time. Here are some of the Trampoline Program’s achievements I’m proudest of:
Personal Coaching / Officiating achievements:
– 4 x West Australian State Team Coach
– 1 x Australian World Age Group Championships Coach
– Highest Australian Trampoline Coach score at the FIG Academy 3 in coaching
– W.A Trampoline Technical Commission member
– Australian National Technical Commission member
High Flyers Trampoline Program Achievements (Credit to all past and present coaches):
– 59 WA State Team Athletes
– 13 Australian National Age / Junior Champions
– 54 Medals at National Championships
– 7 National Squad Athletes
– 11 Athletes Selected to represent Australia
– 9 International medals including 3 gold medals
My time at High Flyers has helped me become the coach and person that I am today. Every coach and athlete that I have worked with have helped me to learn and improve my coaching skills and ability. I look forward to many more years here and hopefully much more success to follow
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