Over 30 years I began my jump rope career as part of the Juneau Jumpers in Juneau, AK. I’m currently spending Christmas and New Years up in Alaska and last week I had the opportunity to teach the current Juneau Jumpers team. Not just teach, I was asked to also give some history of the team.
I will never forget the reason I decided to start jumping rope. My PE teacher, Coach Berry, decided to bring a jump rope team from Colorado up to Juneau and put on some shows at all the schools. I remember watching that show and deciding that I wanted to be a jump roper too! Coach Berry created the GV (Glacier Valley) Jumpers and instituted some basic requirements. Sadly, I did not make the team that year. My lack of practice and, if I’m going to be honest, real lack of skill meant I was not good enough for the team.
I spent that entire year practicing on my own so I could make the team in 3rd grade. Since all the 5th graders were moving up to middle school, and Coach wanted to keep them on the team, he changed the team name to Juneau Jumpers and made it a city wide team. Thankfully all my practice paid off at this point. I got on the team in 3rd grade and have been jumping rope ever since.
To say that the Juneau Jumpers made an impact on my life would be quite an understatement
So when the current coach asked if I would be willing to come in and teach while I was in town, I had to say yes. If I can help make an impact on a team that has affected my entire life, well, that would be a great opportunity. We set up 3 dates that worked with my schedule and I had a blast working with all the jumpers.
One of the great things about jump rope is the sharing nature of the sport. We like to share what we know with other jumpers. Many sports focus on hiding everything they do so they have the upper hand at competition. We share everything we know.
I was able to work on single rope and chinese wheel skills with all of the jumpers. It’s nice to work with teams that have the basics down already. I love focusing on more difficult skills and challenging them with styles of jumping they haven’t done before. One of my favorite things to teach are awkward skills. They challenge you to jump in ways that are outside of your comfort zone, which in the long run will make you a better jumper.
I’m really glad that I was able to work with the Juneau Jumpers. They have a lot of talented jumpers and I look forward to seeing them improve. The coach told me that they had a younger boy on the team who was debating on whether he wanted to stick with it after his friend had left. His mom had called the coach and told her that whoever the guest was, he really had inspired him to keep going! You never know what kind of an impact you can have in the life of someone else. I’m so excited that I get that opportunity!