Tips to get your kids (and the rest of the family) skipping.
In the Twomey household, at any family get together or event, the gathering rapidly escalates into a cheeky bit of skipping and some lovely skip-hop double-dutch ropes being turned in the back garden with aunties, uncles, nephews and cousins jumping in and out of skipping ropes, having a “right old laugh” learning how to skip. Since I joined skip-hop and learnt how to skip, my family have got involved too.
Learning how to skip obviously has huge benefits physically but also socially. It can be turned into a family event, but many ask, how do we learn how to skip in the first place? Here are a few skip-hop top tips from the team, on how you can teach yourself and your children how to skip, burning off those unwanted calories in the process and having a right old giggle with the family members close to you…
How to skip - the basic forward skip technique is as follows;
1) Start with the rope behind you, resting on the back of your legs, give the rope a tug to make sure your not standing on it!
2) Hands should start at waist height with arms extended in front of you (imagine you are holding a tray).
3) Arms move downward first, getting the rope in motion which then moves over your head in a forward direction.
4) Just before the rope makes contact with the front of the feet, make a small jump from your toes, so as the rope passes underneath your feet.
5) Repeat, making small circular movements with the wrists.
There are a few common mistakes I have found, through many months of coaching skipping in schools, which people make when they are first learning how to skip. Here are a few to help you troubleshoot your problem;
Hands start from to next to the head (like a football/soccer throw on), throwing the skipping rope down towards the floor. This makes the rope move too quickly, leading to problems with the skipper jumping the rope. Skip-hop top tip: Arms start at waist level, straight out in front of you.
Younger children always have problems getting the rope to start turning over the head. After teaching thousands of children how to skip in skipping workshops I have devised ways of explaining to children how to skip. One of the teaching techniques I came up with works well. Try to get your child to imagine there is a “big chocolate bar” about a metre in front of their feet. Explain to them, they are not allowed to move their feet, and that they have to start in the starting position as explained above. Tell them they have to throw the rope over their head slowly, they are to hook the imaginary chocolate bar with their rope and then pull it to their toes. Once they are used to this, introduce a jump with the feet together just before the rope touches the toes. This always seems to work for me. So give it a go.
Once you or your children have mastered how to skip this basic forward skipping technique, there are thousands of other tricks and variations of tricks to start learning and working on, but before you do that you have to master the 5 basic skip-hop skipping techniques (click here for videos).
1) The double bounce – Every time the rope rotates once, you bounce twice. Once over the rope as it is front of your toes and the second timed so as the rope is above your head for the second bounce.
2) The single bounce – Every time the rope rotates once, you bounce once. Make jumps small and keep arm movement to a minimum. Good posture is also important.
3) Running on the spot – Exactly how it sounds. Very similar to the double bounce to start of with, in a running motion. Once you have mastered this then try and change it into a single bounce.
4) Hopping on the spot – Need I say any more? Just make sure you change legs.
5) Backward skipping – Turning the rope backward.
Skipping really took off for me and to this day I find it incredibly addictive and immensely exciting trying to learn how to skip a new trick or skill. The only problem was, when I started my family had to jump on the waggon too. Now wherever we go, the ropes come out, everyone gets involved…and the best bit is, once you get going…you have so much fun you forget how healthy it is for the whole family.