‘You can’t jump rope if you are not fit’

  • Photo by Akil Simmons

Students jumping rope through the Bermuda Heart Foundation's Jump 2b programme to encourage youth fitness. Interschool performance jump rope team the Bermy Bouncers will be coping in the World Jump Rope Competition in Orlando, Florida, this month.

    Photo by Akil Simmons Students jumping rope through the Bermuda Heart Foundation's Jump 2b programme to encourage youth fitness. Interschool performance jump rope team the Bermy Bouncers will be coping in the World Jump Rope Competition in Orlando, Florida, this month.

Bermy Bouncers will compete in the World Jump Rope Competition

By Jessie Moniz Hardy

Jumping rope makes you feel like you’re in another world. That was the word from 12 year old Carissa Da Silva, Team Captain of the performance jump rope team Bermy Bouncers.

The Bermy Bouncers, comprised of middle schoolers from across Bermuda, will be competing in the World Jump Rope (WJR) Competition in Orlando, Florida, at the end of the month.

“Last year, we took a team from Somersfield Academy called the Somersfield Star Squad,” said Sionna J Barton, Marketing and Development Manager of the Bermuda Heart Foundation’s Jump 2b Fit programme.

“This year the Somersfield Star Squad is dormant as the jumpers have amalgamated with children from other schools around island to create the Bermy Bouncers.”

The aim of Jump 2b Fit is to organise performance jump rope teams and activities in Bermuda to raise the fitness levels of Bermuda’s young people.

The Northlands Hot Steppers, were the first formed performance jump rope team on the Island.

“Mary-Beth Aitken formed the team after attending one of the first Jump 2b Fit workshops,” said Ms Barton. “She did exactly what we hoped for, and implemented jump rope more predominantly within her curriculum and formed the Hot Steppers.

“They participated in the WJR camp last year, and will be once again attending the camp this year.

“This year, I am really happy to say, we will be taking The Bermy Bouncers to Florida. We have 15 students ages nine to 15 years old and I am thrilled at their progress.”

She said the Somersfield Star Squad did extremely well last year, and now some of the students in the newly formed Bermy Bouncers, will be defending titles.

They will be competing in events such as double Dutch speed, Chinese wheel and single rope freestyle, among other events

Myles Smith, 13, said he was first introduced to performance jump rope as a sport, when the Somersfield Star Squad came to his school, TN Tatem, to do a demonstration.

“Ms Barton asked who was interested in joining an after school programme, and I raised my hand as soon as possible,” he said. “After a few practices, at my school, Ms Barton invited me to come down to Somersfield to do more training. That is how I got involved in the Bermy Bouncers.”

In 30 seconds, Myles can jump about 73 times, and he loves showing off jump rope tricks for his friends.

“I like how we can have fun,” Myles said. “You can be yourself no matter what happens.”

Myles is a runner, and a tennis player and his dream is to one day become a professional tennis player.

The Bermy Bouncers programme is intensely physical. Every practice session starts off with a four minute jump.

There are also push ups and sit ups involved. If the student isn’t particularly fit when they start, they soon will be, if they stick with it.

Ms Barton said one 11 year old girl on the team lost 12lbs in a few months.

“The children have to be incredibly fit,” said Ms Barton. “I tell them that from the get go. I tell the children you can’t jump rope if you are not fit.”

Somersfield Academy student Yusef Bushara, 12, said until he joined the team he didn’t realise that jump rope was even a sport.

“I just wanted to try something and it caught my attention,” he said. “It was eye opening, realising how difficult it actually was.

“You have to be so coordinated to do some of the things we do. I went to the World Championships last year in Florida.

“It was an amazing experience, and I am extremely excited to be going again. Another team from the United States came here in February and we got to host them. That was really fun.”

Another Somersfield student, Charlotte Dinsmore, 11, said she has learned a lot since she started jumping a year ago.

“You have to be extremely fit,” she said. “When I started, I could barely jump once. Now, I can probably jump about 75 times in 30 seconds.”

Some of the jump rope routines involve multiple people jumping at once.

Charlotte said this is extremely challenging. Sometimes, there are multiple people and multiple ropes.

“It is a lot harder to jump with someone else because you have to accommodate them,” she said. “If they mess up, then everyone messes up. I like rope manipulations.

“That is a category which involves letting go of one handle, spinning the rope in the air and then catching it. I am not very god at it. I am better at the footwork.”

For more information about the Bermy Bouncers or Jump 2b Fit, see www.facebook.com/Jump2bFitBermuda or e-mail Ms Barton at sionna@bdaheart.bm or call 232-2673.

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Published Jun 18, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated Jun 17, 2014 at 7:55 pm)

‘You can’t jump rope if you are not fit’

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