Check out the full episode of the podcast at the links below:
Three Stages of Shadow Jumping:
First Stage: The goal is to simulate jumping, but without the rope. During this, you want to ensure that you are maintaining proper technique, (which I’ve discussed in podcast episodes 14, and 22) meaning you want to ensure that you are still maintaining a simulated grip of the handles, jumping on the balls of the feet, and keeping an upright position throughout. The closer you can simulate proper technique, the better off you will be in the long run. This is also a really good way to train yourself to decrease the height in which you jump. Ideally you aren’t jumping more than an inch off of the ground. In the early stages, you may find that you are swinging from the arms instead of the wrists, your jump height is inconsistent, or much higher than it needs to be, and these are often due to training with a rope without having a good grasp on mechanics, and rhythm. Shadow jumping will help you get used to being light on your feet, and you’ll begin to improve in these areas. This is also a great way to introduce counting rhythm into your jumping. Depending on how skilled you are with rhythm, this may take some getting used to, however I found it very useful to introduce a four count into my jumping. For example, I would synchronize each jump with the beat 1-2-3-4, and adjust the speed as necessary. It will help develop your consistency and co-ordination so when you do introduce the rope, you’ll have a foundation to build on.
Second Stage: The second stage involves building off of what you’ve established in the first phase, but now with both handles of the rope in one hand. While the goal of the first phase is to develop your technique and feel for jumping, this stage is about marrying that up with the timing of the rope. The rope being only in one hand will still prevent catching, but will train you to follow the rhythm of it as if you were swinging normally. Similar to the first stage, you want to mimic proper technique as closely as possible, and you’ll also want to make sure to alternate hands throughout your training. Oddly enough, while I didn’t know to incorporate this early in my training, I use this phase a great deal now when warming up, or practicing direction changes, so the value of these phases does not diminish the better you get. You can implement them at all levels, and reap the benefits.
Third Stage: The third stage is where you put everything that you have developed in the first two phases together in order to swing the rope in an even arc over the body. In the beginning, you aren’t actually jumping over the rope. From the ready position, which involves having a handle in each hand, with the arms outstretched in front of you and the rope resting behind the knees, you are swinging the rope back with the arms kept close to the body, and using a quick turn of the wrists to bring the rope over the body. Let the rope hit the front of your feet, then step over it and repeat. It is useful to practice this in front of a mirror in order to ensure you are creating an even arc with the rope. The key is to begin slow, and once you get comfortable with the mechanics, begin to jump over the rope. This stage would have been valuable to my progress if I had applied it because there was a period that my right hand was slightly lower than my left while jumping, so it was creating an uneven arc which was causing a lot of catches. If I had used this stage of shadow jumping in front of the mirror, I would have noticed it much earlier. As your mechanics improve, you can begin counting the amount of consecutive jumps. So for example, you can start with one clean jump, then when you are comfortable with that, progress to two, then three and so on. Before you know it, you’ll be able to keep a consecutive rhythm going. It is sometimes useful to break progression down into small chunks. In this case, I would work toward 10 clean repetitions, then work for 25, 50, 75, and so on. The main thing to keep in mind is don’t sacrifice technique for repetitions.