by Janice Marie Ferguson
Earlier this week I was working with Karla on her double unders. She’s been fighting to get her double unders down, and seems to be making very slow progress. Since she was alone in the 5 a.m. class, I really had the opportunity to pay close attention to what she was doing. Right away, I noticed that she was not bounding upward in the movement. She was stomping downward. Several people in our gym have this fault, and could benefit from seeing this comparison that I showed Karla.
Let’s start with the video I took of Karla:
Notice how hard her landings are? In class, I tried my best to explain to her that she needed to focus on jumping or bounding up, not jumping or stomping down. Note that by the time I took this video she had improved, but she was still stomping her landings.
Sometimes it’s hard to explain how to correct faults with verbal cues. I tried my best in class, but as I was thinking about her problem at home later that morning, I knew it would help her if I could show her what I meant. So, I sent her this video:
You’ll notice in my video, I start out doing bounding jumps, then for a brief moment, I stomp, and then go back to the bounding. Do you see it? If you can’t, you should be able to hear it. Do something for me real quick. Replay Karla’s video again. But, this time close your eyes and listen to the sound of her jump. Then, replay my video. Do the same thing. Close your eyes and listen to the sound of my jumps. Hear the difference between using your knees as springs as opposed to shock absorbers?
Now, if you look at the video again, it should be noticeable that Karla doesn’t use her knees as springs. She uses them more as “shock absorbers.” How do you see it? Look at her knees. They are still bent at the height of her jumps. Then, as she descends in her jump, she comes down for a hard landing. With this technique she’s unable to create the necessary height or “hang time.” This stunted amount of air time would require a nearly impossible rope speed at her novice level. At this rate, Karla will spend a very long time trying to get double unders. To fix her problem, she will need to learn how to bound from the balls of her feet and then quickly extend her knees at the top of the jump like springs.
For more tips on double unders, see one of my all-time favorite instructional videos with Jon Gilson, of Again Faster: