Hi, The kids call me Mister Sean. I started coaching when I was 18. Gymnastics wasn’t an option for me growing up due to my socioeconomic status. I tried to take classes as an adult but none were offered in my area. Only children under 18 with $200+ per month were able to take classes. So I got a job at a gymnastics summer camp and learned the basics. My body wouldn’t do the simplest of skills but my heart was on fire. I went back and worked every hour they would give me. The kids knew more than I did and they freely taught me.
Working with amazing great coaches, I slowly learned the nuances and techniques of the sport. I put myself through every warm-up, every station, every skill that I was teaching. I practiced in my personal time and would sometimes humiliate myself at grownup gyms just to get in a little practice. Handstands were frustrating. I would go up and fall over. Every. Time. It took 2 solid years for my body to adapt to the straight body lines and develop the muscle memory. Finally, I held a handstand and came down properly.
My biggest achievement at 19 years old was conquering the fear of the back flip. I was too large for any coach to spot me, so I stood at the edge of the foam pit, shaking with fear. A 7 year old girl from the competitive team came over to me and asked me what I was trying to do. “Back tuck” I replied. She asked “How bad do you want it?” I said “Really bad.” She said “Then Jump.” Finally, I jumped backwards, terrified that I would break my neck. I didn’t. That little girl changed my life. She was the loudest conduit for my higher power I have ever heard. I jumped over and over and over again. Each time getting closer to landing on my feet. My form was terrible, my shaking slowly went away. I crashed every wrong way I could possibly land, but I never gave up.
I didn’t know it at the time, but gymnastics would become the job I would sacrifice everything to stay close to. Over the years, I’ve juggled many other jobs just to hold onto the precious few hours I got to teach gymnastics. Waiter, receptionist, delivery person, janitor, courier, gopher, personal assistant, after school counselor, special needs children chaperone, undertaker, preschool teacher, kung fu instructor, hostess, landscaper, pool cleaner, retail sales clerk, etc. Sometimes I got sick of juggling 5 jobs at once and took a full time job outside of gymnastics. I have tried so many paths and careers but none of them have ever set me on fire like teaching gymnastics. A life without kids and gymnastics is simply not fulfilling for me and I have always come back to it. There is no job in the world like it.
As I got older, the kids I taught got younger. I earned a degree in early childhood education which helped me to see past the skills and sport and see how everything applied to life. When I started teaching parent / child classes in my 20’s, I felt much more comfortable teaching children than adults. I got over it real fast. For parents who didn’t know what their own children were capable of, I was like a magic filter that allowed them to see their kids in a new way.
Because of my body type (huskular, thank you very much), I am able to spot very large children. I noticed early on that most coaches are petite females. Using my entire body, my experience, and my passion, I am able to coach a much broader variety of children than the average coach. The application of gymnastics skills reach beyond limited body types and income brackets. The children I have taught have surely breached the stigmas and stereotypes of the average gymnast. My kids shine specifically because of what makes them stand out in the sport. Some girls will never hold a handstand. But they can put one shoulder under a beam and lift the entire thing with another kid standing on it.
Under my leadership, Samson Gymnastics will continue to defy the norms of the sport. I will recruit the kids other gyms wont take. I will seek out the kids that cant access the sport. I will seek out grants, funding, and programs that will help me to deliver this sport to the kids that need it most. I believe gymnastics can, and should be, for everyone.
S T A F F
Sean Samson, Founder
Jasmine Martin, Manager
Neil Buckland, Graphic Artist