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.
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 movement 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. Like any skill, practicing correct movements is the key to learning.
Practice timing. A 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. Now it’s time to try with a 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!
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 glutes 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.
Jumping too high and/or kicking heels up: Jump only a few inches off the ground. The cord or cable is very small in diameter, so you don’t have to take big leaps. Skipping 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.