Coming off a hot summer of results, we recently caught up with Australian beach volleyball athlete Christie Jenkins. Christie won three of the six national tournaments this season and then went on to represent Australia at the Asian Championships. Not only is her beach volleyball record impressive, she has also been a CrossFit Games competitor and one of the top ten trampolinists in the world.
To kick of with an easy question… what’s your favourite colour RockTape and why?
Rainbow! Not only do I get so many compliments on this but all the colours make me feel cheerful and ready to kick butt.
What’s the best piece of advice your coach ever gave you?
I’ve had many great coaches over the years in three different sports. One thing that has resonated strongly are the words ‘become so good they can’t ignore you’. Sport can be political and selection into teams and partnerships can sometimes seem unfair. This advice reminds me not to fight on the issue of fairness, but to just get so damn good you can’t help but be chosen.
How did you come to represent Australia in not one, but three sports? It’s unusual to see someone compete in such diverse activities.
What I’ve found is that it’s not the sport itself you love, but what you get out of it. I love winning, learning new skills, working with a coach, laughing with team mates and the challenges of competition. All those things are present in every sport I’ve done.
I started trampolining at age 5 – my mum didn’t want me to break my leg on the backyard trampoline so she sent me off for lessons. My parents met on a trampoline so that might have had something to do with it too! From my first somersault I was addicted. So much so I didn’t even want to go on family holidays because I would ‘miss training’. However, after 17 years, 5 world championships, international gold medals, and 12 years as a National Champion I wanted a new challenge.
There aren’t that many sports that you can pick up at age 23 and still be successful in – but I didn’t have to look far to find one. While I’d been bouncing up and down my entire family had been out on the beach playing volleyball. Sunshine, sand, summer time and guys with their shirts off. Despite having zero ball skills I decided to give it a try.
CrossFit is the last sport I’ve tried and I kind of fell into it. A friend dragged me along to a CrossFit gym after I complained that the regular gym was ‘boring’. 100 pull ups, 100 push ups, 100 sit-ups and 100 squats later I couldn’t straighten my arms, and I was hooked. When I moved from Melbourne to Sydney to pursue beach volleyball further I joined CrossFit Athletic. At that point I could squat heavy but lacked many of the specific skills of CrossFit like muscle ups. The coaches there showed incredible faith in me by putting me in their team and 6 months (and about 600 hours of training) later we were competing at the CrossFit Games in California.
What do you never travel without?
Gummy bears! They are my signature snack at tournaments.
Looking at your Instagram it seems like you are always in a different country? Where are you now?
I love to travel – and I’m fortunate that there are amazing beach volleyball communities around the world that welcome me. I’ve just come from California and I’m currently in Rio de Janeiro training for the next few months. Brazil is certainly an adventure. I’ll be back in Australia for the summer.
What product would you like RockTape to release next?
As a beach volleyball player I’d love to see the geniuses behind RockTape develop a version that doesn’t give you tan lines.
What are three songs on your pre-competition play list?
‘Now we are free’ from the Gladiator soundtrack while I stretch and warm up.
‘Fight Song’ by Rachel Platten
‘Geronimo’ by Sheppard
If we came over for dinner at your place what would you cook for us? What’s your signature dish?
Gooey chocolate puddings – they are to die for. Crispy on the outside and rich, melted chocolate on the inside. It’s part family recipe and part improvisation (basically I added a ton more chocolate!)
What’s one lesson you’ve gained through sport, that applies to your whole life?
Accountability. There is no hiding in sport. You either win or you lose. There is no obscuring the issue with things like ‘I tried to meet the deadline’ or ‘I would have done it except for X person’. It’s 100% on you to deliver what you’ve promised and to put in the work to meet your goals. Owning up to your failures means you spend your energy learning from them, not trying to brush them under the rug.
What do you think life after sport will hold for you?
Currently my professional career is in Management Consulting. Working with elite business leaders in my career and amongst elite athletes in my sport has taught me how many parallels there are between high performance in the two. I’m blending my experience in the two fields to speak and consult on the strategies for succeeding at the highest level.
The books or resources have most impacted your life?
There are so many great resources out there. I think every athlete should go to a Tony Robbins event (you get to walk on fire!) I’ve also worked with Mark Dobson at www.dobbo.com.au for many years – he is the absolute best at dealing with the mental side of sport. And some favourite books are Relentless, The Power of Now and The Art of Learning.
Do you believe in luck when it comes to sport?
Just a little bit… But I try and bring the philosophy that you need to be so good that even if the other team is lucky, you’ll still beat them. Of course when the luck goes my way I don’t complain!
Where can we learn more about you?