Jason Burnett On How Sport Builds Confidence

Trying something new isn’t always easy. But it’s always worth it because new  experiences will teach you something. Learning about ourselves helps us figure out what we like and what we don’t like. And if we try hard enough, we might just find something we are truly passionate about. When we find our passion, we will often find success.

When I was 8 years old I was shy and had trouble making friends. I wasn’t very confident around new people and new situations. But my parents had one important rule: you had to do at least one extra circular activity outside of school. I didn’t like this rule very much because it forced me to get outside my comfort zone. I started with swimming lessons, then art classes, and then I tried gymnastics. I decided I liked gymnastics so I stuck with it for the next 2 years.

At the end of every gymnastics class the reward for a good training would be to jump on the trampoline. I liked jumping on the trampoline WAY more than the actual gymnastics class. All I wanted to do was jump high and flip through the air! When I told my parents this, they helped me find a trampoline gym. I started out at a summer camp called Airborne Trampoline. Shortly after, they started a competitive program and I was able to jump all year long. But by the time I was 12 I could jump so high that I could touch the ceiling! I knew if I wanted to keep progressing, I would need a gym with a higher roof. So I spoke to my parents and we found Skyriders Trampoline Place. A trampoline gym with 30 foot ceilings and where I’ve trained for the past 20 years.

At Skyriders, I was able to train with a lot of great athletes and coaches. One of the first lessons they taught me was how to socialize and come out of my shell. In my trampoline classes I met tons of people who liked the same things as me. We all liked to jump, flip and talk about trampoline. This made it easy to connect with people and start making friends. The more friendships I made, the more confident I became. This was key to my success as an athlete. The confidence I gained from sport allowed me to set big goals, get outside my comfort zone, and fulfill my Olympic dreams.

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