Tips and tricks for rope skipping rookies

Rope skipping (or jump rope) is a classic recess activity, but it is also a highly skilled sport with provincial and national competitions. Here are some tips from Rope Skipping Canada, whose mission is to promote rope skipping as a wellness activity, a recreational pursuit and a competitive sport in Canada.

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SINGLE ROPE

Begin with the rope behind your legs and your hands in front of your body, about waist-high. Make one large circle with your arms to swing the rope up and over your head. Be patient and wait for the rope to fall toward your toes before jumping. No need to jump very high.

Once you get the rope going, let your arms hang naturally with your hands near your hips. Make small arm motions using mostly your wrists and keep a steady rhythm of jumping and breathing. Shift your weight from side to side so your feet and ankles stay loose.

If you’re ready to take it up a notch, there are many tricks you can try. Visit the CANSkip website for videos that demonstrate skills such as:

  • Side Swing – Put your hands together and alternate swinging the rope to both sides of your body, rather than under your feet.
  • Front Cross – While the rope is swinging up over your head, cross your arms in front of your body, covering your belly button. Cross your arms wide enough so each hand reaches beyond the opposite elbow. Jump over the rope with your arms crossed. Uncross your arms once the rope is swinging back up over your head.
  • Skier – Bounce side-to-side like you’re a skier carving down a hill.
  • Bell – Bounce your feet in a front-to-back pattern.
  • X-step – Cross your feet as you jump. Try alternating which foot goes in front.
  • Hopscotch Bounce – Alternate between two-foot and one-foot jumps, just like playing hopscotch.
  • Double Under – Spin the rope twice in one jump. This requires a higher jump and faster wrists.
  • Backwards – Start with the rope in front of your toes and rotate it in the opposite direction. See if you can do the other skills backwards, too.

DOUBLE DUTCH

Turning two long ropes in tandem is no easy task. The turners (the two people holding the rope ends) should practice without a jumper until they can keep a steady rhythm with a smooth arc. If you’re a turner, make big alternating circles with your left hand going clockwise and your right hand going counter-clockwise. Imagine yourself drawing two side-by-side circles that don’t overlap. The speed should be about the same as a single rope skipper.

As the jumper, start by standing next to one of the turners. This might seem awkward at first, but it actually helps you avoid touching the rope as you make your way into the middle. Watch the rope that is closest to you, as that’s the one you’re going to jump first. As it swings up into the air, start moving forward into the middle of the ropes. As the rope comes down, jump the rest of the way into the middle like you’re jumping over a puddle. Keep jumping in the same rhythm you would if you were skipping with a single rope. If things get tangled, re-set and try again.

In double dutch, you can use the same jumping skills from single rope, such as Bell, Skier, X-step and Hopscotch Bounce. You can even skip with your single rope inside the double dutch ropes! There are also other types of partner skipping, such as 2-in-1, Twins, and Wheel. All of them require skill, patience, teamwork and communication.

Whether you’re skipping in the schoolyard or competing with a team, enjoy your turn and challenge yourself! For more information, visit ropeskippingcanada.com.