Double Dutch consists of two ropes held at either end and turned in opposite directions while a third person jumps in the middle. It is now practiced as a competitive sport, though many who compete learned the game on the streets and at the playground.
Double Dutch History
It is surmised that Double-Dutch rope jumping may have its origins in the ancient rope-makers in Phoenicia, Egypt and China. The runners who supplied the rope-makers with hemp would have to jump the twirling ropes to get up and down the floor. The history of the modern sport, however, started when Dutch settlers brought the activity to America when they settled in New Amsterdam. The English, who later settled on the island and made it New York, adopted the game and named it after the Dutch settlers.
In competitive Double Dutch, there are two types of teams--a single team with three members (two turners, one jumper), and a double team with four members (two turners, two jumpers). The competition, according to American Double Dutch League (ADDL) rules, is composed of three tests. The first is the compulsory test, in which jumpers must complete a set of tricks in a certain amount of time; the second is a speed test in which the number of jumps are counted; and the third is a freestyle section where jumpers are scored on a trick routine of their own design.
The compulsory round is made up of five required tricks, performed in a preset order. ADDL competitions require these five moves: 1) Two turns to the right, jumped on the right foot; 2) two turns to the left, jumped on the left foot; 3) two crisscross jumps in which the right foot crosses in front of the left; 4) two crisscross jumps in which the left foot crosses in front of the right; 5) 10 high steps, in which the jumper must alternate feet (jumper must jump 10 times on each foot), each time raising the knee to waist level and making the thigh parallel to the floor.
The speed round is fairly self-explanatory. The object is to jump the most times possible within a two-minute period. Jumping in the speed test is done on alternating feet, while the upper body remains very still. The number of jumps is counted by a competition official, and the count is based on the number of times the left foot jumps (thus each "pair" of jumps, one on the right foot and one on the left, counts as one unit towards the jump count total).
The freestyle round is a one-minute period of time in which the jumper or jumpers do a set of tricks of their own design. While the routine is not required to be exactly one minute, points are deducted if the routine is over one minute or under 45 seconds. The order and choice of moves is left to the team, but certain elements (turn, acrobatic, dance and ending) are required. The jumper also cannot take more than five seconds to enter the ropes, be outside of the ropes for more than five seconds, or jump a single rope for more than three turns.
Certain violations apply to all three rounds of competition. Points are taken for mistakes or for dropping a rope. If the jumper has a bad entrance into the ropes, or a bad exit jumping out, points may be taken away. Along with these performance-based rules, jumpers are required to maintain their appearance (keep uniforms neat, remove jewelry or hair accessories) and to exhibit good sportsmanship and positive attitudes.