How to jump double dutch

Once you have your Double Dutch turning down, it’s time to add a jumper. I do want to stress the importance of working on your turning first, if you can’t turn, nobody can jump. In fact, if you have 2 good turners, almost anyone can jump inside Double Dutch. Not too long ago I performed at a few different special needs schools in the Northeast. When I called up a couple volunteers during the show and said we were going to have them jump Double Dutch, I could see some of the workers grimace thinking there was no way their kids could do it. However, within a couple tries, we had every student able to jump and even a few of them doing some turns and basic footwork skills. Work on your turning!

There are 2 ways you can get a jumper into Double Dutch. Have them jump in from the outside or have them start in the middle. I will deal with starting in the middle in a moment, but let’s go over entering and exiting Double Dutch as this is the preferred way to get your jumper in.

The easiest place to enter the ropes is from the side of one of the turners. Most people will instinctively try to start right in the middle of the ropes, but trust me, it’s easier entering from the side. Have your jumper stand close enough to a turner that they can touch their shoulder with ease. When the rope that is closest to the jumper hits the ground, count: Ready, Set, Go. You can choose to make the count every time any rope hits the ground, or every time the rope closest to the jumper hits. The important thing is that the word ‘Go’ is said when the rope closest to the jumper is on the ground. As that rope lifts up past the jumper have them take one large step toward the middle of the ropes and then jump into the middle. It’s best to give the jumper a practice try or two before they enter the actual ropes, so hold the ropes apart and let them try a couple times to get the feel for what they’re supposed to do. If they consistently don’t jump far enough forward to be in the middle, you might want to pick a spot on the floor where the middle is easily identified by a line so they know just how far they need to go.

From a turning standpoint, you need to be aware that every jumper jumps at a different speed. I like to have them take a couple jumps outside the rope first so I know about how fast they will be jumping. When they get into the middle they may or may not actually jump that same speed, but at least it will give you an idea of what to expect. The first couple times you turn for a jumper, don’t be too timid about pulling the ropes under their feet. It’s easy to think that you’re going to pull their feet out from under them and knock them over. If you turn without any confidence it’s really easy to cause a jumper to miss because you’re not actually pulling the rope under their feet fast enough. However, sometimes you will catch them. If that happens, simply let your arm hang really loose or let go of that rope. Smaller kids can be knocked over by a rope and you can make matters worse if you hold on with a death grip. It doesn’t happen often, but it is something you should be aware of.

Exiting Double Dutch is very similar to entering. You want to end up going out next to a turner, we usually advise people to exit the opposite of where they entered. When they’re in the middle, count the rope on the side you want them to exit (when it hits the ground). Use the same count as when they entered: Ready, Set, Go. On ‘Go’ have them take one jump toward their exit point, then step out of the ropes close enough to the turner to touch their shoulder.

Have them practice entering and exiting the Double Dutch ropes quite a few times so the timing begins to stick. After they can get in and out with you counting, have them try counting the ropes by them self so they can do everything on their own. You’re now jumping Double Dutch!

If your jumper is brand new to Double Dutch and they have no confidence in what they’re about to do (ie a Kindergarten student), OR when they try to jump in they can’t seem to jump rhythmically, I would suggest having them start in the middle. Have them stand in the direct center between both turners, have one rope on each side of the jumper and have them start jumping up and down. If they are barely off the ground, encourage them to jump as high as they can and mimic what you’re looking for. Once they’re jumping, pick a rope to start with and hold the other rope out to the side. I usually have people stick their arm straight out to the side so that rope is completely out of the way. Swing your starting rope up and over the head of the jumper, as that rope is at the top of it’s swing, start turning the other rope up and over. Watch your jumpers feet and swing the rope underneath them. As they take their next jump, swing the other rope and keep turning so that they’re jumping inside the ropes. This does take a bit of practice to get the ropes going without slapping them together or smacking your jumper in the head so practice it a few times without your jumper first.

If you find that your jumper switches their jumping style once the ropes start turning, you may want to try a little trick…have them jump with their eyes closed. I’ve found that a lot of students try to help us with their jumping and actually make things harder by doing so. When their eyes are closed you eliminate this problem and it speeds the process of them jumping inside the ropes. Once the ropes are going, tell them to keep jumping high and open their eyes. This usually helps them to see that they don’t need to change anything in order to keep jumping Double Dutch. If they switch back into a double bounce, start over again with their eyes closed and try again. Once you’ve got your jumper starting good in the middle, eventually work on having them jump in from the outside just like before. I’ve found this helps build the little bit of confidence they need to get in on their own.

As with everything in jump rope, practice, practice, practice. Double Dutch is quite rewarding once you get it, but it does take some time to get it down. If reading about all this makes your head dizzy, watch the instructional videos in our Double Dutch section on beginner Double Dutch. Watching how it’s done can certainly make things easier.

Learn how to Jump Double Dutch like a Pro!

Learn from our extensive video library that contains detailed instructional videos on jump rope skills. From Basic to advanced, our World Champion and Guinness World Record holding instructors will help you jump rope like a pro! We have over 4 hours of Double Dutch specific content.

Turning is by far the most important part of Double Dutch, but I find that it is also the most neglected part. This neglect leads to most people having trouble ever getting a jumper in and therefore they quit. So lets break this fundamental skill down into some bit size pieces. Oh yeah…Do all these without a jumper. You need to be able to turn before you can have a jumper in the middle strutting there stuff. Ready?

Here are 7 tips to help you turn Double Dutch like a pro!

How to jump double dutch

Picking out the right ropes

When it comes to Double Dutch, there is no such thing as the perfect ropes, just what’s perfect for you. You can use cloth, beaded, speed, leather, etc. Every type has their pluses and minuses, but everyone will work. Try a few different types to find what feels most comfortable for you. The thing that is important is the length. When starting out, it’s best to use 12-14 foot ropes as they are long enough to easily fit a jumper in the middle, but not too long to introduce excessive fatigue when you’re first starting to turn Double Dutch. If you’re only practicing turning, you can get away with using 8-10 foot ropes to learn the turning skills, but when you’re ready to add a jumper you need to get up to at least a set of 12 footers.

Whatever length you choose, make sure that both ropes are the same length! If you practice with ropes that are way off, you’ll quickly develop some bad turning skills to compensate for the ropes.

Wall-e

Having good form is critical to mastering Double Dutch. You can start out turning with someone, but a quick drill that you can do just about anywhere by yourself is actually a great way to start. Find 2 pencils, sticks, jump rope handles or something similar. Just make sure they’re about the same size. Put one ‘handle’ in each hand and face a wall. Step close enough to it so that you can comfortably hold the handles in front of you with their ends barely touching the wall (quick pointer, I wouldn’t suggest doing this on a wall you really, really care about as it could possibly scratch it a bit). Keep your elbows in by your side and slowly ‘draw’ a circle on the wall with each hand.

You want your hands to be working oppposite of each other, so when one hand is up, the other is down. Also, you want your turning motion to be toward the center of your body for normal turning. You can turn the opposite direction for a different style of Double Dutch (Irish/Egg Beaters), but I would suggest starting with the regular style. The circle should go from about your chin to your waist line in height, but they shouldn’t overlap, the inside edges of the circles should just barely touch in the middle. Your handles should also never leave the wall. The point of this exercise is to familiarize yourself with turning circles and keeping your hands at the same distance from your body. If your hand goes in and out as you’re turning, it can make life very difficult for a jumper.

The Thumb/Nose Paradigm

Once you’re ready to move away from the wall, a good way to continue good form is to practice touching your thumbs to your nose. The way we do this is by holding the handles/end of the rope in your hands, palms facing toward your body and then you stick your thumbs up. Starting with one hand (make sure your turning partner is using the same side, ie if I am turning with my right hand first, my partner is moving their left hand since we’re facing each other) bring your thumb up to your nose, lightly touch it, then bring your hand down to your waist, then back up to the nose and repeat. Remember that you’re making a circle with your hand while you’re doing this and that your hands are on opposites while you go, when one hand is up, the other is down. Wax on, wax off.

Mirror, Mirror on the…

Symmetry is very important to making Double Dutch work well. Think of the center of your body as a mirror. Your hand should never cross the midpoint of your body and both hands are doing exactly the same thing, albeit at different times. It’s very common to see a new turner making a very good circle with one arm, but the other arm is really struggling. Both sides are very important and you need to make sure that you’re watching your form so that you start off on the right foot. Watch your partner as you’re turning and helpfully point out if you see them making different looking circles from their left to right side. Ask them to do the same for you.

Ol’ Stumpy

Your leg position will help you greatly as you get into turning. Don’t stand with your feet together, otherwise you might find yourself tipping over or waving around as you’re concentrating on everything else you’re doing. It’s best to bring your feet about shoulder width apart as it will give you a good steady base to work off of.

Can You Hear Me Now?

The best way to know if you’re turning correctly is to listen to the ropes. It’s very common to hear a galloping sound when you first start, this isn’t good. Turning Double Dutch correctly should make a very even, consistent sound as the ropes hit the floor. It should be 1-2-1-2-1-2 not 1—2-1—2-1, etc. Use your ears and make sure that the ropes are making a nice even sound as you go. Beaded jump ropes are the best type to use if you really want to hear the ropes as you turn Double Dutch.

Go Speed Racer, Go

Turning speed can be one of the most frustrating things to figure out when you’re first starting. What’s correct? Well…that depends on the jumper. Everyone jumps at a different pace and it’s your responsibility to turn at whatever pace they’re going. Most new jumpers have a hard enough time jumping somewhat rhythmically that they can’t think about changing their jumping pace, so it’s up to you to turn Double Dutch at whatever pace they’re jumping. While you’re practicing at the beginning, it’s good to attempt turning at different speeds. Try to turn as slow as you can, then slowly speed up and go as fast as you can. The key to remember while doing this, make good circles! It’s very easy to start having bad form when you attempt to change pace so always listen and watch that you’re still using good turning form while practicing different speeds.

That should get you started with turning. These tips will help you get past some of the common mistakes that people make, but just like swimming, you have to jump in the water to actually learn. Don’t assume that just because you know how to do something, that you will immediately do it perfectly. Get out there and practice. 5-10 minutes a day and you should have the basic Double Dutch turning down in about a week or two.

If you really want to get good at this, practice with different people. Everyone starts out with their own quirks and if you always practice with the same person, you may just develop an opposing quirk to the person you’re working with where things are working fine, but you’re both doing something wrong. You’ll notice these quirks when you work with someone new. Turn with as many people as possible and this will force you to develop a good turning technique.

If reading all this makes you loopy and you need to watch it in action, jump over to our Double Dutch section of the site and watch the videos on beginner Double Dutch. We have hours of detailed instructional videos that will teach you how to turn Double Dutch like a pro in no time!

Learn how to Double Dutch like a Pro!

Learn from our extensive video library that contains detailed instructional videos on jump rope skills. From Basic to advanced, our World Champion and Guinness World Record holding instructors will help you jump rope like a pro! We have over 4 hours of Double Dutch specific content.

Small Group (1-10)

Grades 1-2

Jump Ropes

Under 10 minutes

Development Goal

To develop eye-foot coordination, cooperation and teamwork.

Before You Start

  • At a recess: One rope grants one jumping turn, two ropes (double dutch) grant two jumping turns.
  • For both double dutch and single rope jumping, a standard jump rope is 15 feet long.
  • Waiting players form a line, or designate and follow a jumping order.
  • Jump rope is the most common and widely played cooperative playground game – all active participants (turners and jumpers) need to be aware and be paying attention for the jumper to do the best job s/he can.
  • Address rope swinging safety, making sure all jumpers know to look out for others before they begin swinging.

Set Up

Gather jump ropes of the appropriate size for the group and make sure there is enough room to allow swinging ropes remain safe.

How to Play

  • The turners each hold one end of the rope and face each other; when turning the rope it should be arced and touch the ground at one center point.
  • The jumper stands in front facing one turner with the side of one foot touching the rope at the center point of the rope.
  • After a jumper has completed his/her turn s/he takes the place of a turner, and the turner goes to the end of the line. Make this clear so there is no confusion about the responsibilities.
  • No do-overs are allowed; once a turn has happened, the player needs to show sporting behavior and fair play by taking his/her turn turning the rope.

Variations

  • Jump Rope Challenge
  • Helicopter
  • Snake
  • Zero 1, 2, 3

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By: Abigail Raney

Published: 14 August, 2009

Double Dutch consists of two ropes held at either end and turned in opposite directions while a third person jumps in the middle. It is now practiced as a competitive sport, though many who compete learned the game on the streets and at the playground.

Double Dutch History

It is surmised that Double-Dutch rope jumping may have its origins in the ancient rope-makers in Phoenicia, Egypt and China. The runners who supplied the rope-makers with hemp would have to jump the twirling ropes to get up and down the floor. The history of the modern sport, however, started when Dutch settlers brought the activity to America when they settled in New Amsterdam. The English, who later settled on the island and made it New York, adopted the game and named it after the Dutch settlers.

Competition Structure

In competitive Double Dutch, there are two types of teams–a single team with three members (two turners, one jumper), and a double team with four members (two turners, two jumpers). The competition, according to American Double Dutch League (ADDL) rules, is composed of three tests. The first is the compulsory test, in which jumpers must complete a set of tricks in a certain amount of time; the second is a speed test in which the number of jumps are counted; and the third is a freestyle section where jumpers are scored on a trick routine of their own design.

Compulsory Round

The compulsory round is made up of five required tricks, performed in a preset order. ADDL competitions require these five moves: 1) Two turns to the right, jumped on the right foot; 2) two turns to the left, jumped on the left foot; 3) two crisscross jumps in which the right foot crosses in front of the left; 4) two crisscross jumps in which the left foot crosses in front of the right; 5) 10 high steps, in which the jumper must alternate feet (jumper must jump 10 times on each foot), each time raising the knee to waist level and making the thigh parallel to the floor.

Speed Round

The speed round is fairly self-explanatory. The object is to jump the most times possible within a two-minute period. Jumping in the speed test is done on alternating feet, while the upper body remains very still. The number of jumps is counted by a competition official, and the count is based on the number of times the left foot jumps (thus each “pair” of jumps, one on the right foot and one on the left, counts as one unit towards the jump count total).

Freestyle Round

The freestyle round is a one-minute period of time in which the jumper or jumpers do a set of tricks of their own design. While the routine is not required to be exactly one minute, points are deducted if the routine is over one minute or under 45 seconds. The order and choice of moves is left to the team, but certain elements (turn, acrobatic, dance and ending) are required. The jumper also cannot take more than five seconds to enter the ropes, be outside of the ropes for more than five seconds, or jump a single rope for more than three turns.

Violations

Certain violations apply to all three rounds of competition. Points are taken for mistakes or for dropping a rope. If the jumper has a bad entrance into the ropes, or a bad exit jumping out, points may be taken away. Along with these performance-based rules, jumpers are required to maintain their appearance (keep uniforms neat, remove jewelry or hair accessories) and to exhibit good sportsmanship and positive attitudes.

  • How to jump double dutch

How to jump double dutch

How to jump double dutch

How to jump double dutch

How to jump double dutch

How to jump double dutch How to jump double dutch How to jump double dutch How to jump double dutch How to jump double dutch

What would compel grown women to kick off their high heels in order to literally kick up their heels?

What would captivate digitally-addicted kids to quit the computer and come outdoors to play?

Double Dutch is the magnetic force that entices children, teens, adults and seniors alike to jump for joy whether it’s a pastime they know and remember from the past or it’s their very first time. Double Dutch is a vigorous style of jumping rope that uses two ropes turning simultaneously.

The DC Retro Jumpers is the exhibition team of adult jumpers that is available for high-energy demonstrations and lessons.

The DC Retro Jumpers have appeared on WRC-TV, WUSA-TV, Retirement Living TV, The Washington Post, The Washington Examiner, The Washington Afro American, National Public Radio – WAMU-FM and in a documentary on women and fitness for the Department of Health & Human Services. The Adult Double Dutch Program has received funding support from the DC Department of Health-Addiction, Prevention, Recovery Administration and the Edgewood-Brookland Family Support Collaborative.

Maury Student Jumping at the Cherry Blossom Parade 2019

DC Retro Jumpers in Russia!

Photos – Click here or on the image below to view more photos of the DC Retro Jumpers in Russia!
How to jump double dutch

Click here to view more videos of the DC Retro Jumpers in action!

The Culture Café
300 Riggs Rd. NE, Washington, DC 20011
Explore your personal development goals! Double Dutch can help you excel. Learning Through the Ropes will teach you:

  • How to jump in and out of an arena when things are already in play.
  • To honor your own unique rhythm and raps to accentuate your goals.
  • How to jump Double Dutch if you never learned how!

This event is presented by:

Spoken Word
DC Retro Jumpers, and
Esther Productions Inc.

Funding is provided by:

The Awesome Foundation
Special Thanks to Culture Cafe

How to jump double dutch

Long Island Dutchess of Ropes brings back the lost art of Double Dutch

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FREEPORT, New York (WABC) — Long Island’s Dutchess of Ropes is on a mission to bring the lost art of Double Dutch back into the lives for women of all ages.

The group is a judgment-free zone that is open to all levels of Double Dutch even if you don’t know how to jump. Duchess of Ropes CEO, Yocana Orange wanted to create a space where women can get their fitness on, feel nostalgic and bring out their inner kid.

“So you can jump double dutch with your eyes closed because it’s a sound and it’s a rhythm,” said Orange. “It’s not so much a visual thing, but it’s more of a feeling and it’s more of a sound.”

When you register with the group not only will you get to double dutch, but hula hoop and hopscotch as well. Now that the summer season has concluded, Orange plans to incorporate more activities for the fall like Mommy and me double dutch classes and yoga.

“You don’t have to know how to jump, come on out we have single ropes you can start with that, we have the fitness instructors that will help to get moving and we’ll introduce to the rope slowly,” president Florence Ellis said. “It’s not just Double Dutch, it’s also bonding with other women.”

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Have you seen the D.C. Retro Jumpers at the Cherry Blossom Festival or another local street fair? The group of six women, all over age 50, twirl two ropes in opposite directions, and people of all ages line up to jump Double Dutch.

Sometimes they stop traffic. One driver spotted them, slammed on her brakes and ran over to jump, pumping her arms in the air and grinning.

“Just to see the ropes turning brought back so many memories that she had to jump out of her car and jump,” recalled Robbin Ebb, 55, the group’s lead instructor, whose mother taught her the sport. “She was an old-school jumper, so she knew how to jump. She hugged us.”

Double Dutch “stimulates the endorphins,” said Joy Jones, a writer who founded D.C. Retro Jumpers in 2004. But it’s the camaraderie that keeps Jones coming back to the sport.

“A crowd is always standing by, watching you and encouraging you, and when you get it, people applaud,” Jones said.

Possible origins of Double Dutch

Some historians suggest that Double Dutch originated at the seaports of ancient Phoenicia, Egypt and China, where ropemakers twisted long strands of hemp and others hopped to avoid tripping over them.

Dutch settlers brought the tradition to New York City, and the sport became popular in U.S. cities in the early 20 th century.

Since then, the sport has become the purview of Black American girls, who invent chants to accompany the rhythmic slap of the ropes: “Salute to the captain, bow to the queen, touch the bottom of the submarine.”

While Double Dutch is not yet an Olympic sport, it has a spot in the annual World Jump Rope Championship. Other competitions take place in D.C. and across the country, and it’s a varsity sport in New York City schools.

Art imitates life and vice versa

Jones got the idea to form a Double Dutch group more than a decade ago, when she and her co-workers wanted to lose some extra pounds.

“I said, ‘Why don’t we jump Double Dutch?’ Everyone said, “No, I’m too old; my knees are bad; I couldn’t possibly” — and we were in our 20s and 30s then!” she remembered.

After the idea fizzled, Jones decided to write a play about a group of women who jump Double Dutch on their lunch hour in downtown D.C. When a Washington Post writer observes them and writes an article, “wonderful things happen,” Jones said.

Jones’ play Outdoor Recess was produced in 1999, 2001 and 2004, and she won a “promising playwright” award for the work.

When Jones was promoting the play, several people encouraged her to launch a real Double Dutch team. Deciding it was time for life to imitate art, Jones invited some friends to join her at Turkey Thicket Recreation Center, a park near her home.

In time, Jones and her friends were invited to perform or teach at local events and, gradually, organizations began to pay hundreds of dollars per exhibition.

At one festival, an actual Washington Post writer glimpsed Jones’ group and wrote an article about them. The story caught the eye of a producer who books artists’ performances. She called Jones to invite D.C. Retro Jumpers to teach Double Dutch in Russia.

In 2018, Jones, Ebb and two other team members flew to Moscow as “cultural ambassadors,” performing at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and in St. Petersburg.

“We were a hit everywhere we went,” Jones said.

Book about Double Dutch

After the Russia excursion, Jones’ literary agent suggested she write a children’s book about the sport. Jayla Jumps In was published in September 2020 (the paperback comes out this fall), and Jones dedicated it to her Double Dutch team.

Today Jones — a playwright, performance poet, writing instructor and trainer — is in the process of writing a second children’s book and co-writing a biography of Bill and Lois Wilson, the husband and wife behind Alcoholics Anonymous.

Jones admits she’s not particularly good at Double Dutch, but she does it for fun and exercise — and to spend time with friends. Showing off their skills isn’t the point of D.C Retro Jumpers’ exhibitions, she said; it’s about teaching others how to do it.

“Anyone from 8 to 80” can learn how to jump, Jones said, and she and Ebb have taught people of all ages at their events.

“You can learn in less than 10 minutes, and when we get you in the rope, the person is excited that they can actually do it,” Jones said. One woman in her 70s watched them for an hour before shyly asking to try.

“I just love seeing people who haven’t done it in a while or who have never tried it,” Ebb said. After a little encouragement, “They show off, turn around, kick their feet up. That makes me scream and holler because they built up their courage.”

In teaching after-school classes, Ebb sometimes “gets the chills” when she sees a child try a new move or invent a rhyme, she said. She has formed bonds with children who recognize her at the grocery store and confide in her.

“I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” Ebb said of her part-time job as a Double Dutch trainer.

“I’m so glad that I’m able to help the community one way or the other because my community was a village. That’s what I want to be for them. If I can make them strong or make them keep moving, I’m there for them.”

Teaching Double Dutch a job that Ebb, 55, plans to keep for years to come.

“For as long as I can turn [the ropes], I’ll be doing this. It’s so gratifying. What I’m doing is hitting so many points — the health benefits, the camaraderie,” Ebb said. “I don’t want to stop.”

Want to jump by yourself?

Like the idea of jumping rope for the health benefits, but want to do it on your own? Jump ropes have come a long way since we were kids. Now often made with ball bearings in the handles to keep the ropes from tangling, adjustable length jump ropes can be purchased from $5 and up on Amazon.com.

The latest thing for boosting your workout are weighted jump ropes. These ropes are thicker and weigh anywhere from ¼ lb. to 5 lbs., burning more calories and boosting cardiovascular fitness and endurance. Weighted ropes typically sell for $20 and up.

And don’t think these are only for experts. Psychologist and trainer Dr. Janine Delaney is quoted in Good Housekeeping as recommending them for beginners because the feel of the rope helps with timing of the jumps.

Rope jumping is a simple, easy-to-learn activity that is great for fitness and can be done just about anywhere. I’ve put together this simple tutorial for learning the basic jump and the jog step, the two most foundational jump rope movements. Once you’ve mastered the basics, see our tutorials on beginner and intermediate tricks.

Before you start …

  1. Choose the right jump rope. For beginners, we recommend a simple beaded jump rope or licorice jump rope. These ropes are inexpensive, durable and relatively slow (vs a speed rope, which is very fast and more suited for advanced jumpers).

Size your rope. Because speed is not the objective, a longer rope is ideal for beginners. A longer rope slows things down and allows for less than perfect timing. To size your rope, stand the jump rope in the middle of the cord. The BOTTOM of the jump rope handles should come up to your armpit.

How to jump double dutch

How to jump double dutch

  • Pick the right surface: Jump rope should be a low impact activity. Jump on a mat if outside or on a forgiving indoor surface. Hardwood floors are best as they give you a little extra bounce and are easier on the knees. If possible avoid concrete (unforgiving) and carpet (will make your rope bounce and you will have to jump higher to clear it).
  • Learn the basic jump (20 minutes)

    Here are a few helpful strategies for starting out. The single bounce or “basic jump” is the absolute foundation of jumping rope. Become an expert at the single bounce and learning more difficult skills is much easier. I can’t stress this enough!

      Start with your hands in the “ready” position. Grip the handles loosely with your fingers, not your palms. You want to avoid giving your handles a “death grip.” A loose grip will allow for a natural and more efficient turn of the jump rope and allow for greater speed. Hold the jump rope in front of you with your hands together and your elbows in close to you body.

    How to jump double dutch

    Practice a toe catch. Place the rope behind you and turn the jump rope over your head. Catch the jump rope under your toes and lift up your heels and let it out from underneath your feet. Repeat this movements until you become comfortable spinning the rope and catching it under you feet. The key to learning any physical skill is repetition: teaching your muscles a motion and creating a memory of how to do it. In jump rope, practicing correct movements is the key to learning.

    How to jump double dutch

  • Pretend jump. Jumping rope is all about timing the turn of the rope with your jump. Try taking an imaginary jump rope and pretending to turn it over your head and jump rope with it. Yes, you’ll look ridiculous, but this is a great way to practice your jump and proper form. Jump on the balls of your feet with your body fairly erect. Your heels should not touch the ground, and your elbows should be near your sides with your wrists doing the work, not your arms. Continue for several minutes. Once you feel comfortable with the motion, continue to the next step.
  • Practice timing. Another great way to practice correct timing is to place both handles of the rope in one hand and turn the rope at your side and jump. Try to coordinate both movements and, if possible, have somebody watch you to make sure the timing is correct.
  • Try the real thing. Now it’s time to try with a real jump rope. Be patient with yourself and go slow. Challenge yourself to do one jump. Then two jumps. Then three, etc. Always try to improve upon your personal record. Improvement will come quickly with persistent practice. Don’t give up!
  • Common Mistakes

    • Too much arm, not enough wrist: Don’t swing your arms to spin the rope. Instead, use your wrists. Your hands should be held near the front of your hip bones with your wrist doing a majority of the work. The elbows do a small pumping motion in combination with the work of the wrists. The only exception to this us your very first turn of the rope will require some arm movement. You do not want your arms to come out away from your body. Besides looking funny, it makes the rope too short and slows the rope down.
    • Jumping hunched over: You want to jump straight up and down with your butt and hamstrings absorbing the shock. Good form includes making a good athletic arch in your lower back with shoulders back. The biggest mistake most people make is bending forward and hunching their shoulders. The only time this is OK is in competitive speed jumping (doing 6-7 jumps a second) where the competitor needs to bend forward to make the path the rope travels smaller. See a speed jumper in action.
    • Jumping too high and/or kicking heels up: Jump only a few inches off the ground. The cord or cable is no more than 5mm in diameter, so you don’t have to take big leaps. Jump rope should be a very low impact activity.
    • The double bounce: Double bounces (where you hope twice between each spin of the rope) can become a bad habit and hard to break. Increase the speed of the rope and force yourself to do a single bounce. Pause between jumps and do not allow for two jumps between turns.

    BAD Form

    This video is an example of poor form. (It’s a longer video, so just sample segments to get an idea.)

    GOOD Form

    Our good friend Madeline Praye (in this video below) is a national jump rope champion and has amazing form.


    The Jog Step

    After learning the single bounce jump, the jog step is your next challenge. The jog step is one turn of the jump rope for every step taken. A common mistake is to take a step with both feet with one turn of the rope. Instead, lift your foot up (don’t kick back or the rope will get caught on your foot), and turn the rope under. You can start very slowly and increase speed as skill increases. Remember to lift your knees and keep your feet from coming off the ground very high.

    About the Author

    How to jump double dutchMatt Hopkins is a former competitive speed jumper and jump rope coach. Matt has won numerous national championships in speed jumping, and his athletes have won several national speed and freestyle titles and have broken world and national speed records. He also taught middle and elementary school PE in Leavenworth WA for 23 years.