For those of you who are not aware, jump rope is a competitive sport, very much like gymnastics, synchronized swimming or figure skating. Every spring jumpers across the nation compete at their regional tournament, hoping to qualify for Nationals which is always the following June. Our region consists of every jump rope team from Arizona and California, and the tournament was held March 22nd, right here in Tucson.
Nearly 18 years ago I began jumping and competing with a team called Jumping For Joy located in Santa Clara, California. When I was 14 years old my family and I moved to Tucson and I began jumping with the Tucson Twist-Its. My sister, Lydia, and I competed with them for three years before we decided to take a break from the competitive aspect of the sport.
Still in love with jump rope, we taught a few jump rope camps and classes for friends from our church and homeschool group. During those years our most dedicated jumpers began to advance in skill level as well as interest. Long story short, I have now jumped back into the sport with two feet, this time around as the coach of my own team called the Rattlesnake Ropers.
Four Rattlesnake Ropers, including myself, went to this regional tournament and competed in a variety of different events.
Here is my team, minus me: (notice our “Little Snakes” in the background)
This was an amazing tournament because both my old teams were there. The Tucson Twist-its is now coached by my former jump rope partner, Lauren. Jumping For Joy, now named Sol Jumpers, is coached by Michelle, a girl I remember as one of the “big girls” on Jumping For Joy. There are still a few jumpers from each team who remembered Lydia and I and it was awesome to catch up and learn what’s been happening over the past decade (now almost two decades!).
The first events competitions always start with are called Speed events. These events are the endurance and training events.
Speed is similar to jogging in place, Right foot, Left foot, Right foot, etc. where the rope goes under each foot. One event is a 30 second timing, another is a 1 minute timing, and the endurance event is a 3 minute timing. Jumpers jump as fast as they can in the time limit while the judges are counting every right foot jump. The jumper with the most jumps wins!
There are also double dutch speed events with turners and jumpers taking turns in relay fashion.
The Freestyle events are the events that are the most entertaining to watch (and by far my favorite!). Freestyle routines must be at least 60 seconds long and must not go over 75 seconds, and have a hand full of different skill requirements including multiple unders, footwork, rope manipulation and rope releases, and gymnastic type skills.
One of my jumpers, Jordan, competed his single freestyle routine in the male 15-17 age division. There was one other competitor in this division and Jordan won first place! I am very proud of him.
I competed my single freestyle in the female 23-29 age division and won 2nd place out of six girls, second only to Michelle, coach of Sol Jumpers, and beating Lauren (Twist-It’s coach) by one place. Here is the link to my freestyle on YouTube http://youtu.be/qz4P35D08tY
Pairs freestyle routines consists of two jumpers jumping the exact same routine together. These are fun because they include partner interaction, similar to pairs figure skating. My partner, Nate, and I competed our routine in the 18+ open division against one other partner group and we won 1st place.
There are two different Double Dutch Freestyle events, the first one is called Double Dutch Single Freestyle and it consists of 3 jumpers. In this event, jumpers become turners and turners become jumpers. The three boys on my team, Ben, Nate, and Jordan competed in this event and did a great job. Here is their routine on my YouTube channel http://youtu.be/npH4QwTYHac
Double Dutch Pairs Freestyle includes 4 jumpers. The boys and I literally threw our routine together a half hour before we were up. Our only competition, a team of one boy and triplet girls from the Coronado Speed Spinners, said they hadn’t made up their routine yet either. So instead of both scratching our routines, we decided to see who could put together the better routine in such short notice. We had so much fun with this challenge and made four new friends in the process! We ended up taking 2nd place. Top 5 from every event and age division qualifies for Nationals, so we both automatically made it to Nationals anyway!
The very last event of the day is Triple Unders. A triple under means the rope successfully completes three turns around the body for every jump. This event is only for jumpers 15 years old and older and is not timed -you jump until you make your first mistake. My oldest jumper Benjamin won 1st place for the male triple under event with a score of 50 consecutive triple unders, and I won 1st for female triple unders with a score of 62. We called ourselves the triple champs!
This picture is of the parade of teams right before the awards ceremony:
Some of my “Little Snakes” watching the competitors. I have quite the hand full of younger jumpers working their way towards qualifying for the team who are excited about competing next year.
After the awards ceremony:
The sport of jump rope is unique as it combines both training and endurance events as well as the performance type events. Yes we are competitive, but the sport is also a very kind sport -you become really good friends with the people you compete against. Teams and individual jumpers are considerate and kind to each other, encouraging and cheering each other on. In this last picture, the four of us are posing with our double dutch competition who beat us by 0.12 (twelve hundredths of a point!). We are very much looking forward to seeing these four jumpers at Nationals next week.
If you or anyone you know is interested in becoming involved with this wonderful sport, please contact me! I will be starting “Little Snake” practices at the end of the summer and I’ll let you know time and location. I am looking forward to growing my team as well as the sport of jump rope.
My sister and I are teaching a summer camp July 28-Aug 1 at Saguaro Canyon Church. Contact me if you want more info about this camp. This would be a great way to learn more about jump rope, to see if it’s something you’d like to pursue.
Stay tuned for pics and stories of Nationals…