I have been a member of the team at skip-hop for 12 years and before that I co-ran a company that brought the tuition of Samba percussion to school children. When researching the benefits of Samba and music in the healthy stimulation of developing brains I came across an observation by scientists in California, namely: Music education exercises the part of the brain that governs spatial perception and abstract reasoning skills.
It occurs to me that there are many parallels between the learning of music and rope skipping;
1) Audio Spatial Perception in Skipping
Samba percussion involves the rhythmical repetition of accented and un-accented beats where the protagonist must recognize both tempo and metre. They must then go on to develop both the ability to concentrate and of course to persevere in order to learn and maintain these rhythms. Skipping requires and develops;
- recognition of beats both accented and un-accented
Memory particularly comes into play (and I mean in this instance both senses of the word) with the introduction of skipping rhymes which are particularly used with long rope skipping (many examples of which can be found on our skippng-rhymes pages).
These rhymes are not only great fun but help to focus the skipper on the metre, which in this instance is the regular tap of the rope hitting the floor but also the tempo, the actual time it takes for the rope to go through a full revolution. Both of which are vital in order to skip successfully.
Long Rope Skipping is where the two turners of the rope must coordinate the metre of the turns with one another and work at a tempo attuned with the skill of the skipper. Accented and un-accented beats are notable here because for skipping beginners and younger children, the rope turners would turn the ropes to strike the floor only on the accented beats. For intermediate skippers the rope would strike the floor on every beat of the skipping rhyme.
Further more, recognition of both the metre and tempo is required by the skipper as he or she must enter and begin jumping exactly in time with the turners.
2) Visual Spatial Perception in Skipping
As if the aforementioned were not enough, skipping must combine the skills of rhythm and timing in relation to visual spatial perception by recognizing the skipping rope’s; distance, direction, speed and position.
All these calculations are performed very rapidly in the brain and then converted into movement by the skipper to enable him or her to perform the basic skipping techniques. Once these basic skips are mastered then there are ever more complex skipping techniques and skipping tricks which will further tax and therefore develop these emerging skills.