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skipping techniques

click her to learn about  skipping safely

This material is downloadable in PDF format to all registered users of this site. To download please log in or register here you will then find the file at the bottom of this page.

As defined by the New Oxford Dictionary of English ...
skip - [no obj.] jump over a rope which is held at both ends by oneself or two other people and turned repeatedly over the head and under the feet, as a game or for exercise.

In essence, skipping or jump rope, as it is called in the US and Canada, is the achievement of being in the air while a rope travels under your feet. That's it. Or is it?

The journey from non-skipper to skipper is one that children and adults will have to make on their own in the same way as riding a bike and to a degree, swimming: a certain amount of instruction is required but ultimatey it is down to the individual to make their own connections in the brain. The day that a person first manages more than one turn of the rope without getting tangled in it can be as memorable and significant to them as the first time they ride a bike in a straight line or swim 3 metres without sinking. I know this. Having struggled for a whole day to master the crossover, confused and angry that I couldn’t do something which I believed ought to be pretty simple, I finally managed one and the joy was overwhelming. I truly felt I had achieved something big.

Each time I learn a new trick I feel that same sense of elation. (Or maybe I should just get out more.) Every time I teach the crossover and see someone manage it for the very first time, I make myself remember that deep sense of pleasure so I don’t lose sight of what is happening before my very eyes on a daily basis.

Many things happen when you try to skip. Your brain engages your hands and arms to bring the rope over your head and at the same time it must engage your legs and feet to jump at exactly the right time. You're already thinking about the jump before it's even quarter of the way round. And this is the problem people have. You jump too soon, too late, you snatch the rope, forget to jump, move the rope too fast, too slow, because most of your brain power has gone into your feet instead of your arms or vice versa. Then it happens -that penny-dropping moment. And it seems to happen on it's own - without thinking. As one teacher said to me the other day, "you don't have to think about breathing out after you've breathed in, it just happens". The same with skipping. Once the penny has dropped, you won't have to think about it. It will seem so natural.

Rope length

An easy test of whether the rope is the correct length is to stand on the rope with both feet and point the handles to the sky. The handles should be no higher than the skipper's shoulders and no lower than the skipper's waist.

As your skipping technique improves, so the rope should be shortened. Most ropes do not have the facility for shortening or lengthening, but with the speed skipping ropes which skip-hop provides for beginners, knots can be tied beneath the handle. Do not tie knots above the handle as this can impede the movement of the rope and cause twisting of the cable. With the advanced skip-hop Universal Pro Adjustable skipping rope  provided by skip-hop, the cable can be cut and the handle re-assembled. But, as you can imagine, this is kind of final.

Rope and hands position

The handles must be held correctly. For a forward double bounce hands should be waist height and in front of the skipper.

A common mistake is throwing the rope from above the shoulders like a football, which will impede the skipper no end and is considered very bad form. This, I discovered recently, is a physiological thing rather than a pre-conceived idea that in order to get the rope over my head, throwing the rope or placing my hands behind my ears in a position akin to removing a t-shirt, is the best method of transporting the rope. The fact is, bringing the arms backwards too far in a circular movement in order to move the rope over your head is an uncomfortable movement.

As it says in the skipping tricks section of the site, economy of movement is the key. A small turn of the forearm with a bit of help from the wrists will get the rope over your head. Moving the entire arm in an attempt to make a circle is actually very uncomfortable in the front of the deltoid (rotator cuff) if the arms go back too far. Novice skippers compensate for this by raising their arms to a point behind their ears and throwing the rope, as if cracking a whip. The smack you get on the back of the head is also similar to cracking a whip. But, moving the arms DOWN and making a football sized circle that doesn't go back further than your hips will be sufficient to make the rope travel high and slow over your head.

This material is downloadable in PDF format to all registered users of this site. To download please log in or register here you will then find the file at the bottom of this page.