Calgary Skip Squad
It isn’t about making mistakes, it's about how you respond to those mistakes
Harrison is interning at Sport Calgary while pursuing his degree in Business Administration. He hopes to positively influence youth in Calgary by contributing to All Sport One Day. Harrison loves playing basketball, coaching basketball and spending time with friends and family.
From the moment I walked in, I could feel the enormous amount of passion and dedication members of the Calgary Skip Squad had for skipping. Sounds of laughter, encouragement and shoes striking the floor echoed throughout the gymnasium. I was astonished how quickly these kids could jump rope. I had only been there one minute, and I already felt intimidated by their superior skipping skills. My ego wouldn’t have been able to handle getting laughed out of the gym by teenagers half my age.
Prior to my experience with the Calgary Skip Squad, I thought skipping was something professional boxers did to improve their timing and footwork. But Carla, the head coach at Calgary Skip Squad, informed me that skipping competitions are hosted on a national and international level. Individual and team competitions follow rules set out by Rope Skipping Canada. To win a skipping competition, individuals or teams must have the best combined score in the following events:
Speed: This is a timed event where athletes jump over the rope as many times as they can. Judges count a jump when the athlete’s right foot touches the ground. In speed events, there must be one revolution of the rope per jump.
Power: Similar to the speed event where athletes jump rope as fast as they can. In power events, athletes must execute as many double-unders or triple-unders they can within a certain time limit. Double and triple-unders refer to how many times the rope revolves around the athlete per jump.
Endurance: Athletes will jump rope as fast as they can for a longer amount of time to achieve the highest score possible.
Freestyle: This event resembles a choreographed dance with gymnastic moves, but with skipping ropes. Routines require vast amounts of timing, rhythm, and precision. Judges score routines based on footwork, strength, rope manipulations, difficulty, creativity and presentation.
For team freestyle events, athletes perform routines using double dutch, pairs and even groups of four or more jumpers. These team events can be much more difficult, as judging is partially based on jumpers executing jumps simultaneously with no mistakes.
If you are contemplating joining the Calgary Skip Squad, don’t let the fear of competition stop you. Newcomers can try recreational skipping classes to build confidence in a welcoming environment before competing against others.
After marveling at the demonstration by members of Calgary Skip Squad and learning some competition rules, it was my turn to give skipping a try. I joined an activity called “long rope” where eight people jump over the same rope.
When I did the “long rope” for the first time, I felt immense pressure to jump with expert precision as to not ruin the activity for everyone. Suddenly, I was overcome with relief when the rope stopped due to something other than an error on my behalf. A young girl let out a disappointed groan once she realized she had made a mistake. Before we restarted the exercise, everyone consoled the young girl and said, “That’s okay! You are doing great”. Once I saw how encouraging and supportive these teenagers were, I knew it would be alright if I made a mistake (I made plenty).
Then I was invited to try double dutch, I was doubtful of my abilities. I had tried unsuccessfully many times in elementary school. But before I got too discouraged, Carla gave me a few hints and told me exactly when to jump in. After a few tries I was able to jump double dutch.
As you will see in the video, I mistimed a jump, thus stopping the rope. However, I never felt disappointed. Despite making a mistake, I was met with applause and supportive comments.
When we finished skipping, I asked a member of the Calgary Skip Squad why he was so passionate about skipping. I wasn’t surprised when he told me that skipping has helped him build self-confidence and has been the catalyst for many of his friendships.
My time with the Calgary Skip Squad helped to reinforce a valuable life lesson. It isn’t about making mistakes, it's about how you respond to those mistakes. Whenever I made a mistake, a member of the Calgary Skipping Club was there to give me the encouragement, support and confidence I needed to keep going.
The Calgary Skip Squad offers non-competitive skipping lessons for children ages six and older. Their recreational skipping program helps to develop flexibility, balance, coordination, tones muscle, speed and endurance, which provide the foundation for all physical activities, sports and school. Competitive skipping programs train athletes for speed, endurance, power and continue to develop advanced skills and freestyle routines. The team competes all around Alberta and Nationally. The competitive team attends workshops, performs for the public, and competes against each other throughout the year. To learn more about skipping, the Calgary Skip Squad and to register, click here.
Check out Harrison's sport story featuring the Calgary Rowing Club.
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