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Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Kenzie Christensen!

Kenzie Christensen is a long time competitive jump roper and member of Flight Crew Jump Rope Team

We get into loads of details about growing up in the competitive jump rope world, which was super fun! If you’re not a competitive jumper just a heads up that there will be some specific references, but you’ll still really dig this episode.

We talk about so much in our conversation, including growing up in the sport of jump rope, how Kenzie’s competitive training improved over the years, why speed step isn’t as popular as freestyle, and the growth of jump rope organizations over the last decade or so.

We also get into the jump rope club Kenzie started in College, how that club put on workshops for the local elementary school, the differences between coaching youth competitive jumpers versus adult recreational jumpers, and a whole lot more!

Transcripts may contain a few typos. With episodes lasting over an hour, it can be difficult to catch minor errors.

You can listen to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon MusicStitcher, Overcast, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Nate K-G: Kenzie, welcome to the podcast! I’m really excited to have this conversation with you about your jump rope journey.

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah, I’m super excited for today, so thanks for having me on, Nate!

01:20 How Kenzie Became A Competitive Jump Roper

Nate K-G: Yeah, absolutely! Let’s get started with where you’re from, and then how you started jumping.

Kenzie Christensen: I am currently living in Logan, Utah. I grew up jumping in my elementary school. It was the boys and girls afterschool club, and the PE teacher started the club. And it was either that, or doing like arts and crafts. I kind of did arts and crafts at home with my mom and my grandma, so I was like, “Oh, why not try something different for jump rope?”

And at first, I thought it was kind of weird. I was like, “Aah… jump rope… like… that maybe my thing… cause I also played piano and did soccer.” 

Nate K-G: So you were doing a lot then, wow!

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah! After I started picking up on it, and then it got a little bit easier. Then, I was way more into it cause I was like, “Ooh, there’s so much you can do with this, and it’s way cooler than the other things I was doing.”

Nate K-G: So you were at the boys and girls club. Was it structured in a way where it was just everyone show up, grab a rope, and then just start jumping? Was there a specific club where it kind of funneled into a team? Or what did that look like?

Kenzie Christensen: The jump rope club was specific for like performances and stuff, and then you could get onto the competitive team. Eventually, they went away from the performance team just because everyone wanted to compete anyways. Well, there’s no reason to have the performance team because everyone’s training for competition. So we’re just going to call you all like the competitive team. 

So, we had levels that we had to pass off. You had level one through three and there was different things that were taught. And then, once you passed off level three, you were invited to be on the team if you wanted to compete.

Nate K-G: That’s cool! Was it like a skill card? Is that what you guys had?

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah, it was like an eight and a half by 11 piece of paper with 30 skills for each level.

Nate K-G: That’s so cool! What team was that?

Kenzie Christensen: It was Just Jumpin’ out of River Heights.

Nate K-G: Nice! Is that the main team that you were on? Or did you switch over to different teams?

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah, so throughout growing up from elementary school to high school, I was on Just Jumpin’, and then when I went to college, I kind of jumped with a few different teams. I went to school at Utah State for college, and so I started a club up there, but then, I also competed with the Summerwind Skippers, Montana Super Skippers, and a few other ones just through competition. Going to school, like all of my friends wanted to keep competing, so I was like, “Ooh, let’s just like make up something when we get to competition, just to have fun!”

03:45 How Kenzie Trained For Competitions

Nate K-G: Okay. There’s a lot of questions that I have for you. Let’s go like maybe two or three years roughly into jumping. You’ve learned some foundational skills, you’re on the competitive team, you’re getting used to doing competition… What were your training sessions? What did they look like? Would you go in and spend all of your time on freestyle and no speed step? Would you have like an even split? Like, what was your training looking like?

Kenzie Christensen: So on my competitive team our coaches split it up. So we would have about three to four practices a week just after school and it would depend on which date was which events we would practice. I would say my team was more freestyle based, like we practiced speed, but it wasn’t something people were…

Nate K-G: Excited about?

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah, they weren’t really excited about it. So it was like not something the coaches wanted to put pressure on you to practice. So we mainly did freestyle a lot of the times. 

04:41 Why Isn’t Speed Step More Popular?

Nate K-G: Why do you think that the speed step not being as popular? At least in the US competitive jump rope, because I know in other countries they crush it. What do you think is the reason for that? To me, it seems like the mentality for speed set training is always like, “go as hard as you can every time,” which is kind of a recipe for burnout when you don’t like adjust the expectation, or you don’t pull back a little bit to do some more enjoyable types of speed step training. What are your thoughts on that?

Kenzie Christensen: I think, especially since a lot of the kids started in elementary school, our coaches didn’t want to put a high pressure of like, “speed is the thing that you need to do and be good at in jump rope to place well at competition.” And so I think they put aspects like freestyle ahead of speed and did that more, because it gave kids more free reign and creativity with that. Instead of like, “you’re here to train jump rope and do speed to like win type of a thing.” 

Cause I feel with speed, you have to go all out all the time and it’s boring. Sometimes, I think to be in the gym and practice speed for an hour, and it feels like you’re not getting anywhere… because you keep getting the same score over and over again. But with freestyle, you could be doing it for an hour and come up with like really amazing combos.

Nate K-G: I feel like speed step, at least in the US, I feel like if that could be adjusted to include trainings. Like you’re saying, to do 30 seconds a minute, or three minutes, or whatever time domains… I personally love one minute, but I know people don’t really do that as much anymore… but, whatever time domain it is, to run it again and again, and again, to hit a PR is like, that is frustrating. Because like it gives, you’re not going to hit a PR every time you do it, that just by the nature of what you’re doing, it’s going to take a few months, could take a few years, it depends on where you’re at, you know? And so, I think that approaching it slightly differently and adding in training that is slightly more fun, AKA a little bit lower intensity, and setting yourself up to win could be a huge opportunity. 

I don’t want to skip ahead too far yet, cause I still have questions, but do you do speed training now, or do you pretty much just do freestyle?

Kenzie Christensen: So I do speed training now because I have figured out, not as much as I probably should, but I have figured out how to make it more fun, and not like I’m in a gym doing 30 seconds speed timings for a half hour, and then three minutes timings for another half hour. 

If you break it up and do like mixing and matching things like, “oh, I’m going to do like 30 seconds on and then 10 seconds off, 30 seconds on like switching your ropes in between.” So it’s a beaded rope versus a licorice rope, instead of just your speed rope the entire time. Then, you’re kind of like building different muscles and stuff like that, which makes it way more fun and entertaining for me, than just the speed rope the whole time.

Nate K-G: With the beaded, speed is… I’ve been having so much fun with that lately. Lately, I haven’t even been doing time domains. I’ve just been doing pacing work, where else, I’ll set up a BPM and turn on whatever BPM, one between one 60 and 180 BPM, and I’ll just do half of that to start, and then ultimate between half of that, and then, the full speed. I use 180 as an example, but that’s just three per second, right? So I’ll do one and a half per second and then three per second, then alternate back and forth with like a beaded rope, which is a lot more enjoyable than a wire up, because with beaded, you don’t miss as much, cause you’re a lot more consistent, you know?

Kenzie Christensen: Yes! I think most of the freestyle too, cause I jumped with a beaded rope, and so it kind of helps like crossover the two, with training speed with the beaded rope definitely helps with the freestyle.

08:32 The Different Ropes Kenzie’s Used

Nate K-G: Did you start with beaded or have you used different ropes along your journey?

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah, I’ve used different ropes. So when I first started, it was licorice… because it was easier for me to learn with and I had long handles, so crosses were easier. And then one year, I got put with a pairs partner, our coaches would always assign us like our groups for the year. And my parents partner jumped with the beaded rope, and he was not changing to a licorice rope, and so I was like, “okay, I guess I’m learning how to jump with a beaded rope.”

Nate K-G: That’s funny! That’s interesting that your coaches assign the groups. Cause I know with a lot of teams, it’s kind of like, “you make friends on the team, then you end up just working with your friends.” Did they select based off of skill level, or like compatibility, or do you even know like how they went about selecting people for teams?

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah. I think it was kind of a mix between both. Speed, I think was more of like, “if you’re fast, you’re going to be together,” or at least for single rope, like relays that we used to do. But Double Dutch was also kind of based off of compatibility, just because… like, I feel like every team kind of has like, the drama people, and then like, the okay people, and then, people that just want to do jump rope and win. It’s kind of like, have to put the people together that are going to work well. That would be so hard to pick teams. I don’t know how the coaches do it and I applaud them for what they do and putting groups together.

Nate K-G: It’s hard, because like you said, everyone’s got different personalities. And just based on the sheer number, or the low number of athletes on a team, usually it’s below 40 or potentially even 30 jumpers. You can’t really avoid that. At least one of the teams is not going to be a hundred percent compatible. So it happens… but I feel like that’s part of like the learning process in jump rope is, “you gotta learn how to actually be a team player.” Which is funny, cause it seems like such a singular individual sport, but there’s a lot of team aspect to it. What are your thoughts on that?

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah. I definitely think that jump rope makes you have to like work as a team, even like learning how to get over people’s differences, or communication… is like a huge thing. Because everyone has different backgrounds and were raised differently, which is completely fine, and I love that. And then you come into a team, and you just have to figure out how to work together, which I think strengthens everyone individually, which is great. 

Nate K-G: Helps a lot, too, when you get into the work world. You’re already used to that kind of understand that other people exist and you have to work with them. Throughout your journey, let’s go from elementary all the way through towards the end of high school. Was it pretty much the same amount of training, the same type of training throughout that whole time? Or did it change?

11:20 How Kenzie’s Competitive Training Progressed

Kenzie Christensen: My first competition for nationals was in 2008, and then I think in 2010 or 2011… I can’t remember what year it was, but I went to grands for the first time in my single freestyle. I think that was when it hit me that I was like, “Oh, if you train a little bit harder, or push yourself a little bit this way, or actually know what the rules are of what you put in your routine, you could like go pretty far in jump rope.”

So I think that was the year that definitely changed it for me. And I would stay late at practice, I would train harder, I would do things, or I would look at like who was the top in speed, and look at the numbers, and be like, this is a goal to shoot for because I want to be at least close to them. If not, try to beat them.

Nate K-G: I feel like it takes a lot of jumpers a while to get to that point, if at all, because with jumper, at least the way it is in the US it’s so just recreational and fun focused. And obviously, there is the competition piece, but a huge focus of the competition team is to still have fun when you’re at competition. More so than I think other youth sports, especially, with sports where you can get scholarships. The focus is do well, get good so that you can get a scholarship, or something that just isn’t around and jump rope, you know? So it’s a lot more recreational focus. 

You said that you spent more time at the gym, what were the results of putting in more time with your jumping?

Kenzie Christensen: I also really loved triple unders. I had done like decent at competition with them, but then I looked at the scores, and then I was realizing you don’t have to like go over like 200 for females to do good and triples, and it was like 150 or something… it seems like a low number to me cause I had already gotten over 100. And so was like, oh, well, if I just stay after practice and try to get to 200 triple unders, I can mess up, but just keep going consecutively until I hit 200. 

That training really helped me to win the trophy that year in triples because I spent more time in the gym practicing just that event, cause I knew it was something I could excel at. I think just picking something and just keep training it like every practice definitely helps in the end results.

Nate K-G: This is like a common theme with a lot of competitive jumpers. I think most competitive teams, the general focus is to be kind of an all-around jumper. Cause you’re part of the team, you’re doing Double Dutch, and you’re doing single rope, and you’re doing speed, and triples, and freestyle, and everything, then you kind of should be pretty decent at most of it. But I think there’s a lot to be said for picking specific events, ones that the athlete is more predisposed to do well at, and then to put more emphasis there, like you’re saying with the triples. I’m sure there are many jumpers who have done that.

But just naturally, because as you’re jumping, you tend to gravitate towards the things that you are better at and find more fun. I feel like in the future, where competitive jump rope is going very long-term, is that eventually there might be athletes who jump only specialized with like one specific event or something, or maybe like one or two that are related, right?

Kenzie Christensen: Yes. 

Nate K-G: That’s cause obviously, triple unders, training for that, and let’s lump that with 30 seconds speed… that’s a way different training approach than Double Dutch, three person. What do you think about that?

Kenzie Christensen: It was crazy. Cause when I like wanted to like do well in triples, it kind of affected my double unders a little bit because my timing was so different for the training. I would I jump my triples like slower, I don’t do them fast and it’s not timed, so you just go until you mess up. And then doubles, you have 30 seconds and try to get as many as possible.

It took me a while to get into the groove of like, this is how you do your doubles again, this is how you do triples, and like mix and match them, so that my training didn’t like completely ruined my group events by like training only triples. And then they’re like, “okay, now you don’t know how to do doubles, or speed, but like, come on, we need you here!”

Nate K-G: “Get it together!”

That’s very real though, when you focus so much in an endurance event. The same would be true, I would imagine of like, if you focus specifically on three minutes speed, you might not necessarily be able to move over to 30 seconds that’s usually easy. Obviously, it’s a bit closer, but it’s more endurance focused, but that fast switch difference is definitely a lot. That’s really interesting. You train triples so hard then the doubles were like, oh no, I got to these together. That’s funny! 

So you got trophy in triples?

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah. So in 2015 and 2017, I got the Triples, yeah, USA Jump Rope Nationals.

Nate K-G: Nice, that’s awesome! What were your numbers?

Kenzie Christensen: Ooh… I think one year was 174… somewhere around there. I can’t remember the other year, I should look these up to know.

Nate K-G: Something around there!

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah.

16:25 How Kenzie Started A Jump Rope Club In College

Nate K-G: That’s cool! So towards the end of high school, most competitive jumpers have some type of an adjustment moving on and going to college. Was it a challenge moving from high school to college as a jumper? Was it pretty easy because you were around other jumpers? What did that look like?

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah, so for me, I think it was an easier transition, just because I grew up in Logan, and that’s where I went to school growing up. And then there’s a college right here, and I just stayed at home and went to college here. So there was still jump rope around if I wanted to be involved. My freshman year of college, I didn’t really like practice or do anything because trying to figure out that college life, and all of the classes, and what buildings you’re supposed to be going to.

Nate K-G: Yeah, a lot happening. This is such, a common thing, I feel like for most jumpers that you end up doing a lot less. At the end of that first year, was it challenging to get back into the groove of things? Did your skills drop a little bit, making it more challenging? Or was it pretty much like picking up where you left off? What was that like?

Kenzie Christensen: From training like three to four days a week… to training maybe like one day a week, definitely took a toll on the skills. So starting my sophomore year of college, I started the Utah State jump rope club. And so then we started practicing two times a week and that definitely helps like bring back up stem skills.

But there were still things… like my speed scores dropped because I wasn’t practicing speed, and then like power got harder, and multiples were harder. The crosses were pretty much still really easy to me cause I had always like done very well with my rope manipulation stuff, so that was easy, like picking up right where I left off. But everything else definitely took a little bit like of time getting back into it.

Nate K-G: What was it like with the club team at the university? I’m so jealous people who’ve made a club team, because I did do a small club, not really club a, a class at when I was in college, but it wasn’t the same level of like a club team. For a jumper who might be interested in starting that at their university, what are some of the steps to start it? And then what does it actually mean to keep the club going throughout the year?

Kenzie Christensen: So there’s different regulations for every college, obviously. So you just have to look into like, if you have a club sports program, or just like a club program, and then go into their office, and just talk to them about like how to get involved. We had a USU Club Office, I just walked into and was talking to them like, “Hey, how do I get involved?” They’re basically like, “oh, you fill out like this paperwork, make sure you have like bylaws, like standards and stuff like that.” 

And it was easy, because The Collegiate Jump Rope Association now has like examples that you can use, and like change it just as your requirements are needed for your university, which was super helpful. So you didn’t have to write it yourself. You could just use theirs and kind of change stuff around. So that part was super easy. So I thank them for doing that.

Nate K-G: Yeah.

Kenzie Christensen: And then, we just like took off from there, we kind of marketed the club. You can hang banners up, and so me and two other girls that grew up in competitive jump rope, we started the club and it’s still pretty small. It’s kind of hard to get people interested in jump rope in college, because everyone is like super busy with classes, and like doing their normal life stuff. 

Nate K-G: There’s so many things going on. It’s hard to commit to a club.

Kenzie Christensen: Yes, but it’s taken off, like kids still jump today. I go up to practice every once in a while and then help them out. But yeah.

Nate K-G: That’s really cool. What did you do? And you said it was twice weekly, but you did the practices?

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah.

Nate K-G: Well, what did you do during those sessions?

Kenzie Christensen: We kind of did a mix of everything. Some people wanted the exercise portion of jump rope. So we would work on like footwork skills and speed steps to try to get those like down faster, so that they could just like do it as a cardio workout at home. But then other kids were interested in like learning all the skills. 

So we would kind of break it up half and half and do like group stuff, so like triangle, or rainbow, or like box, so that like more fun for people instead of like, “Okay, here we go! Let’s go work out for like an hour and a half…” even for people who doesn’t know how to jump rope. 

Nate K-G: An hour and a half jump rope workout wouldn’t be so hard… to just keep going for that long would be so hard. That’s really cool. I noticed that there, it seems like there’s a lot more group stuff with the college teams for the reason that you explained. Have you done a lot of coaching and jump up as well?

Kenzie Christensen: Growing up, we would teach weekly workshops. 

Nate K-G: Weekly workshops?

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah.

Nate K-G: Wow, that’s very frequent! Was that like a community thing to bring new kids into the sport?

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah. So we were just trying to like give people the knowledge that jump rope existed. And so with those same afterschool programs that evolved into the weekly workshops, when we basically became like our own afterschool thing. It wasn’t associated with the boys and girls club anymore. Anyone in the surrounding area that we live could come to River Heights Elementary, and learn how to jump rope, and pass off same things to get on the team. So that’s how Just Jumpin’ grew their team, was through the weekly workshop.

Nate K-G: Was it just like local buzz that it was like offered? Was it through the school that you got most of the kids coming in? Like how did people know about that every week?

Kenzie Christensen: River Heights Elementary was like, that’s where I went to school. I feel like a lot of us that grew up in River Heights just kind of knew about the club, and we would tell our friends that went to different elementary schools, and we would perform around at different elementary schools. And then at Utah State, we would always do halftime performances. And so I think just by performing, that people would gain the knowledge that we existed 

Nate K-G: Gotcha! So they were super aware cause there was a lot of stuff going on. I’m assuming you then did a lot of the coaching, and I would imagine at some point started helping to lead the workshops?

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah. So then once you hit probably like high school age, I would say, they would let you be like the leader of the whole workshop. You’d be the one on the mic talking to the kids, like, “Hey, we’re going to warm up!” Like, “this is what you’re gonna do… here’s your instructor…” 

Nate K-G: What was the first time you did that, what was that experience like?

Kenzie Christensen: Oh, I was probably so flustered and I was probably saying like all weird things, like not knowing what I was supposed to be doing. I probably said the wrong thing, like so many times.

Nate K-G: It was a growth experience.

Kenzie Christensen: Yes, sure.

Nate K-G: That’s funny. Wow, it’s such a great opportunity to give middle school or high school student. I would imagine many different ages… but that’s a really awesome thing to do. 

Did you find that coaching the university club was similar to that? Or was it different? Or how did you kind of look at that?

Kenzie Christensen: It’s harder to coach in college because we didn’t require practices to be mandatory. So it’s kind of like you would go to practice and there might be two people that show up, or you go to practice and there might be 10 people that show up, because it was like a club. We had like a roster, but it wasn’t like required that people coming to practice, or required to be a fee like to be in the club.

It changed when we became a club sport, there was like a lot of different regulations you had to do. But coaching from little kids to college was different. Little kids kind of like, it was mandatory to show up, or like to the workshop, like your parents were paying for it. 

Nate K-G: Your parents just pick you up and drop you off. You just there.

Kenzie Christensen: Yes. We didn’t call it… it wasn’t mandatory. So it was kind of like, wishy-washy what we’re going to do at practice each day.

Nate K-G: I know what you’re talking about. That’s when the class that I did as well, that were the first couple of weeks, we had a very small one and be like three and five people… and then like some weeks you’d be like one… or some weeks like it would be like everyone, and you’re like, “okay, I guess we’re doing really different things then…” Normally, it’d be something group related, but I guess we’re just doing individual stuff. Yeah, that’s a fun part of it.

So you said that the club is still going, so you had a process in place to have officers, and people keep going, and you just would keep bring people into it?

Kenzie Christensen: I don’t think we had the greatest process of like, “once Kenzie has gone, like what’s going to happen with the club?” So the club is like really small and they try their best to get people to come in, like they invite their roommates and try to word out, we do performances. But I just don’t know if Logan is like, not the place that people want to join jump rope, because other college teams are like super big, and here people will come and try it and then they’ll do it for like three weeks and then… 

Nate K-G: They’re just gone…. 

There might just be other things to do. I know, like that’s kind of how it was when I was at UC Santa Barbara. And Santa Barbara, you’re by, like the ocean and the mountains. So there’s like every other activity that you can go do in the middle of a bright, sunny, perfect day, that does not involve being inside. Which for me personally, I would way rather be jumping, obviously, because that’s my life. But like for most people they’re like, “well, there’s also these other things to go do.” I feel like very common. 

25:48 Kenzie’s Favorite Competition Year

Nate K-G: Let’s go back to competition a little bit. I’m curious, what was your favorite competition here? You’ve already obviously talked about the years you’ve trophy in triples, but are there any other specific competition years that stick out as like your favorite or some of your most favorite?

Kenzie Christensen: In 2016, I had a clean singles at Grands. I love single freestyle. It’s so cool, and creative, and just something that’s like really close to my heart. So the fact that I had it clean it grands, even though I didn’t place, it’s still means the world to me, that I was even up there on the stage, and I got it clean.

Nate K-G: I had a similar experience with speed step, one minute speed. I forget what year it was, I think it was like 2012 or something. It was the same thing where like, my score qualified me for grands. But when I got to grands, I was like second to last, you know what I mean? I think I hit like a 168, which I was super pumped about, but obviously that’s not going to win you any trophies when you’re at grands, you know? So I totally understand what you say.

The fact that you made it and you hit it clean is amazing. Was your training any different leading up to that competition?

Kenzie Christensen: I think I ran my single freestyle probably more often. I think that also came with like me being older in the sports. I realized the importance of like muscle memory. And knowing your routine is like a huge factor, because when your adrenaline is going, like your brain really doesn’t know what’s happening. Like I could start a routine, and then finish, and I’m like, I don’t really remember what happens. I would have to go back and watch the video to know that I did decent, cause I was like, “I don’t know if I even messed up!”

Nate K-G: That’s funny. Yeah… that and like your body just like freaks out and you get really weird misses that like you’d never normally have, and you’re like, “I don’t understand what’s going on because I’ve never missed that skill in that way ever in my life before!”

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah, and you’re like, “how do I pick up from here?” My rope is tangled, and now you’re just like staring at the judges… and you’re like, “okay… well, where am I supposed to do? Am supposed to jump now? Like what’s happening?”

Nate K-G: For me personally, there’s been a couple of times, like, I’ll drop a handle, but it’s not even the hard skill, it’s like a medium to easy difficulty, and like, it catches your foot weird, and you drop your handle. Your brain is like, “wait a minute… this isn’t, this is not how this goes. I literally don’t know like where they go from here. Cause this is not how this works!” 

Kenzie Christensen: Oh yeah. I was just agreeing like, it’s crazy cause it catches and then it really is like, “now what happens? Because I’ve never met this skill in my life!”

28:14 Competition Routines Vs. Performance Routines

Nate K-G: Do you find that competitive routines, the process of performing that, does it feel different than when you’re doing like the halftime show, or like the workshop show for you? Are they different? Are they pretty similar? Obviously, the skills and the construction of what you’re doing is going to be very different, but like in terms of actually performing it, does it feel the same or different?

Kenzie Christensen: Competition there, I feel like there’s a lot more pressure on you to do well, even if it’s like your first competition or the last competition. I think everyone puts a lot of pressure on yourself to do well, just because you don’t want to go out on the floor, and then like ruin your routine that you’ve practiced all year for. Because everyone wants to see you do so well and so then you’re putting that same pressure on you. 

But as for performance, there’s not really the pressure of like, doing super well to the fact of like, you want to place and get a ribbon. It’s like you want to do well to showcase our sport to these people, that have either never seen jump rope or have seen jump rope. So it’s like, you don’t want to mess up on a single bounce because they know that was a really easy skill. And so performing, I think there’s less pressure, at least for me than competition.

Nate K-G: Yeah. That makes sense. I feel like most jumpers probably share that sentiment. As we’re talking about, I can go back and forth. Cause I did a performance at a concert one time in LA, and there was like 20,000 people in the crowd, like it was like EDM thing. And you would think that that would be terrifying, at least I thought it would be terrifying. But there’s so many people at that, I’ll just kind of blend into like one big massive audience. 

You don’t really think of it as much, versus like you’re saying, when you’re on the competition floor, you’re staring at like 10 judges, and they’re all staring right back at you. And you’re like… it’s that awkward, like minute between like walking out, and then waiting to start where you’re just standing on your pose, and you’re just like looking at them, and they’re looking at you. And you’re like… I can’t really look anywhere else, so I guess I’ll smile, but now I’m just like sitting here, like with the uncomfortable face muscles, just smiling and waiting to begin this, you know? know And you’re just hoping you don’t miss that first skill.

Kenzie Christensen: Yes!

Nate K-G: Yeah… the joys of waiting for your routine. It’s funny that I feel like once you get started like that, the second you get started with whatever run it is, whether it’s speed, freestyle, Double Dutch, single rope, whatever. Like the moment you begin, I feel like you completely changes. It’s always like the leading up to it. It’s like, “ah…”

Kenzie Christensen: Yes! Because like, they’re still doing their judging stuff, like the flag is still up, it’s like, you don’t know what to do. Like, “am I allowed to look around the floor?” Like, “do I have to be staring at the judges?” It’s really that awkward thing of, “I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing because I’m here to jump rope. And I don’t know what to do because everyone is still moving around.”

31:03 How Jump Rope Has Impacted Kenzie’s Profession

Nate K-G: Yeah. Do you feel like competitive jump rope has had any kind of an impact on career, professional life?

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah, so growing up in this sport, I had a few knee injuries that could have stemmed from jump rope or soccer. I don’t know where from, but I was in physical therapy, like quite often, just for like knee stuff to make sure that everything was still okay and functioning properly. And so, I’ve always been super interested in like the exercise aspect, and like how things work in the body, just in general.

So the medical field has always interested me, a ton, and then just being able to help people progress is a huge thing too. Because in jump rope, you see people when they’re like bottom, they don’t even know how to do a single bounce, all the way to where they can do like really amazing skills.

And so the medical field is kind of similar, especially in like physical therapy stuff, because you see someone at their lowest at their injury, and then see them through their injury, and then hopefully are stronger than before their injury happened.

So I went to college for exercise science, that’s what my undergraduate degree is in. I just figured out that I’m going to go to physical therapy assistant school, for what I want to do with my career.

Nate K-G: That’s awesome. Yeah. So that definitely a very clear impact then!

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah.

Nate K-G: Almost one-to-one! That’s amazing. So you are going to start that this upcoming school year? 

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah, I can start in May, actually. So just a few months, we’re going to start the program for that. 

Nate K-G: That’s so cool! Oh my gosh, that’s gonna be a lot of fun then you can bring all the knowledge back and help all the jumpers to not have any injuries and stuff. I feel like it’s a very, not very common, but it seems to be that there’s been several jumpers that I’ve known, who have gone into that for very similar reasons, which is really cool. It’s good to see you kind of feed into it. 

32:54 Managing Chronic Knee Injury

Nate K-G: What is the knee injuries that you were talking about? Were they brought on by a specific injury, or did they just chronic developed over time?

Kenzie Christensen: I think it’s basically chronic, it developed over time. I have a tear in my lateral meniscus on my left knee. So it catches every so often, basically every two years, like clockwork. It’s really hilarious. Me and my physical therapist, like make fun of it because it is like always every two years I have to go back and see him because the same thing will happen.

They have a really tight IT bands. So it is like locks my knee up and it’s like saying no more, you can’t move, and then it will release, and my leg will be super weak. So then I just have to like make it stronger through physical therapy, and then I’m cleared from physical therapy to continue on doing what I want, and then hopefully it doesn’t happen again, but every two years it’s happened.

Nate K-G: That sounds really frustrating to have to go through that. Is it just kind of a part of the way things go now? Or is it still really frustrating every time?

Kenzie Christensen: We have done like MRIs and stuff, but it’s not to the point that it’s like, I need surgery because nothing is like really wrong with it. Like the tear is so tiny, well, you could do surgery, but it could not fix anything either. And so I just deal with it. 

Nate K-G: It’s like a weird, like limbo position of like, it’s bad enough to annoy you, but it’s not bad enough to like do any other medical procedure.

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah. 

Nate K-G: Oh, man… Yeah. I’m not a fan of injuries. Have you had to change your, your jumping or any of your physical activity period to accommodate that? Obviously, when you do physical therapy, you do, but do you do anything throughout the year? In the year, between those two years and that little gap time, do you work out specifically or adjust your jumping at all to account for that? 

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah. So, like when I squat to go down in a push-up, I just have to squat differently a little bit. It’s still like the same positioning, but I can’t be in like a full knee flexion, where your calf is like touching your butt, essentially. Like, I can’t walk down that low, and like squatting positions or anything. And so I have to be more at like a 90 degree angle, and stuff like that when I’m squatting. But I try to do cross training. 

Nate K-G: That’s the next thing I was going to ask you. I was going to ask you what kind of cross-training you do? 

Kenzie Christensen: So just body weight stuff mainly with a band on my legs and I just do like leg workouts. I do some weightlifting and stuff. I am not the best weightlifter and things, like, I’m not huge fan of going to the gym and lifting weights and I’ve never been that way. And I liked just being able to be at home and doing my workouts. So mainly just body weight stuff.

Nate K-G: Probably over the last two years, it’s been a little bit preferable than to do your workouts at home. This is kind of a silly question… how has it been the last two years with jumping and, and with your training? Because obviously, not being able to go to a gym for a long amount of time, I would imagine has impacted things greatly for you.

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah, because when COVID happens, you couldn’t go to the university gym to work out anymore, because school wasn’t in session, and then the gyms shut down as well. And so I would jump outside in the winter, cause I live where it snows, that’s like not really something that can happen. 

Nate K-G: Jumping in the cold… like I have no right to complain, cause there’s not snow here. When it’s like 30 degrees and you’re trying to jump, it’s just not a good time. Especially, I would imagine, like, as we were trying to go outside… it’s all slushy and slippery and icy. No way. That’s tough.

Kenzie Christensen: But luckily we moved into a place that had a garage. So I was able to set up like a little jump rope area workout space in the garage. Not that it helps too much when it’s freezing outside, like the low zero, the garage is still pretty cold. It’s a little bit nicer, there’s no snow or ice, so that’s definitely helpful.

36:59 How Kenzie’s Jump Rope Goals Have Evolved

Nate K-G: Yeah. How have your goals with jumping changed, if they have? Because I would imagine, for most competitive jumpers, you know, it’s just competition. You live and breathe it every single day, but then you move out of that. You go to college, you get a job, you do normal adult things. 

Not everyone is able to dedicate four days a week to practicing anymore at like, around two hours-ish, right? That’s a lot of time. How have your goals with jumping changed and adjusted?

Kenzie Christensen: I still love competing. So my goal is still to compete and do my best that I can, and competition as always has been. But I’m not training to like be the best anymore because I have things at home that I have to do, and like other responsibilities, but I’ve also taken. Yeah. Which you don’t realize it’s going to be so crazy until you’re an adult and it’s like, there’s not enough hours in a day to do what I had to do.

Nate K-G: Exactly. 

Kenzie Christensen: And then, I’ve taken on some leadership roles too through AMJRF. So that has been really cool to like help the sport progress in ways that like they’re involving jump ropers a lot into their meetings, and how they should like run things, and do stuff too, which I think is super helpful is like getting jumpers involved in leadership aspects of that.

We grew up in the sport, we see where there was like potentially flaws and how we could like fix them. So I like the leadership part, which I didn’t think I would, but it’s really cool to help jump rope keep growing.

Nate K-G: What about the leadership did you think was not going to be exciting? You didn’t think that you would enjoy it? What is it just seemed kind of like stale, like you’re not jumping, so like what’s the point?

Kenzie Christensen: Yes. Because jump rope is like really fun. You’re in the gym, you’re working out, you’re hanging out with your friends, it’s super awesome. But leadership to me was always like, “oh, I’m going to be sitting behind a computer, talking to people like doing boring paperwork and stuff, like that.” Like, you don’t get to see the end outcome like you did at practice, you’re just sitting in computer. But it’s like, you still do get to see the end outcome. Like you get to see people like progress still, but it’s from behind the screen instead of being in the forefront, the one competing.

Nate K-G: So it’s that delayed gratification. It’s not like within each session, it’s after like a year of work, and then you put on nationals, you’re like, oh yeah, that did kind of go back to the last time. We did make some improvements! Back to work!

Kenzie Christensen: Yes. 

39:36 How The Sport Of Jump Rope Has Grown Over The Years

Nate K-G: Yeah. That’s funny. The leadership stuff has been really cool, especially considering the fact  “the by athletes for athletes” kind of philosophy seems to be a lot more common now. Cause you’ve been obviously jumping for a good number of years, do you feel like the sport of jump rope has evolved over the years? And if you do, in what ways?

Kenzie Christensen: So I feel like definitely somebody to bring up, is like the college jump rope. that aspect has definitely evolved for the best thing that could’ve ever happened for college jumpers, I think. Because now kids have the opportunity to like, when they’re applying to colleges, if they don’t want to stay close to home, but they still want to jump rope, they have like so many options of schools that they could pick to like keep jump roping in college. 

And just getting more people like involved in the sports, I think has definitely evolved because when I started, like in Utah, there was us, we were the only team here, and then the closest team was Proform in Rexburg. But now, there’s like a few little like side club teams in like closer to the Salt Lake area, which is really cool, because even though they don’t compete, it’s like the knowledge of jump rope is there. So I think the knowledge has just spread to a lot more people. There’s still a ways to go with that, but I think it’s heading in the right direction.

Nate K-G: It feels like it’s expanding into an actual sport now, where like we obviously had the youth part of the sport pretty solidified, but for most jumpers after 18, it’s like, you’re not really competing as much anymore, and it’s a very youth focused sport. 

But now that we have these university teams, and obviously there’s a tremendous amount of adults who jumped out too, it’s kind of growing into a full-fledged sport, just like any other, where you’ve got youth competition, you’ve got… not yet, but there will be, a built competition in different leagues, and ways to get involved, which is pretty neat. 

41:38 The Rise Of Adult Recreational Jumpers During The Pandemic

Nate K-G: The recreational adult jumpers are really exciting to me, because I feel like that’s a really big opportunity to see like adult competitive leagues, the same way you have tennis leagues on the weekend, or any other sport on the weekend. Um, What are your thoughts on that?

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah. I love how people started jump roping during COVID, especially like who had never jumped up before, and now they picked up a jump rope, and they’re trying to learn a lot about it, and like learning skills, and stuff. Because it’s such an easy thing to take with you traveling, or just work out with, even outside, and everyone that does it now, for like the recreation side of jump rope. 

It’s so cool to see them like learning new skills, and doing all the stuff that like I learned when I was little, cause that’s how I grew up in the sport. But it’s like the fact that they’re still getting just as excited, doing a cross when they’re like 22 years old, as I was when I was seven learning the same thing… I think is the coolest thing. Because I was like, you’re an adult being so excited that you just learned how to cross with the jump rope, just as excited as I was when I was younger, like, I just love that!

Nate K-G: Well, it’s cool that it’s for all ages. I know, like for me personally, growing up as a competitor, there was a long stretch of time, especially like my initial years… were just didn’t make sense that an adult, whatever, like jump rope. 

There was someone at the gym I used to practice at with my first team. I think it was, uh, it was a woman who was… Fitness was somehow related to her career. I don’t remember the exact person, but the point is… she would come in and do 10 minutes of jumping nonstop, like several times a week, and I would see her and be like, “that’s really hard to do, but it’s not like competitive jump rope, man!” You know?

But now, it’s like really cool to see that no matter what, your age, 5 to 75, you can pick up a rope and do a lot of really, really cool things. Which I think, it has been an interesting back and forth for the traditional competitive world to see that grow, and to realize like… recreational jump rope can be just as difficult, and it can be full of skills that are just as challenging as the competitive world. 

For competitive members, you have to start like 10 years old or younger, in order to like really be competitive by the time you become a teenager, you know? But now, there’s people of all ages who are able to throw down like legitimate combos and routines, as long as they are exposed to the right information and stuff, which is really cool. 

It blows me away, cause I just remember being a kid I’m like, no adult like jump rope, you know, like… that’s not a thing! And now it’s like, yes, like all of them do! They’re all getting into it and then cranking out like some super hard skills, which is extremely impressive.

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah, that’s how I remember too. Cause like our coaches kind of jumped growing up, but they didn’t grow up in competitive jump rope. So they kind of just like jumped for fun, and we always thought it was like the craziest thing. They were like, “why are you jump roping, you don’t have to jump?” Like one year, they even like competed at regionals, and all of us were like, “this is so crazy, you don’t jump rope, like this is wild!” But now it’s like totally normal, like coaches will jump and they will compete as well. And it’s like really cool to see that change of jump rope happen too, because older generations can jump rope, and it is amazing to watch them.

Nate K-G: I find that it’s more of a factor of being exposed to what’s possible, and then getting the right messages that like, “yeah, you can learn these!” I think with adults… adults tend to lose that the childlike, “I can do that,” “it doesn’t matter,” you know? The adult is like, “that looks really tough, that’s not really worth my time,” you know? That tends to be kind of like the assessment, but like, if you can get through to that person, be like, “yes, this looks insane, and it in fact is a little bit insane, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. You can absolutely still achieve this.” 

Then all of a sudden it’s like the doors are blowing open and we see that with so many people now. Which is really cool to see with the college jumpers too. Because to be honest with you, like when I first saw a few of the university teams, I was like, that’s really cool, but would probably be really hard to get them doing any significant skills in such a short amount of time. And like you said, people don’t show up consistently twice a week, but yet these groups are still throwing down. Especially at I think it was this last year, the summit, with all the different videos of the different collegiate jumpers. I mean, that was amazing and really, really cool to see.

Kenzie Christensen: And I think the older you get, you’re like more coordinated. So you picking up a jump rope, it’s a lot easier to like learn a cross, or a toad, like sooner, because it’s not like your arms are flailing around because you don’t know really how to use them with your jump rope. But it’s like, you’re coordinated enough in college to be like, oh, this is how I do a single bounce, this is how crossed my arms. So only takes like a month maybe to master the skill, instead of like five months, and then you can move on.

Nate K-G: Well, like the kids are like Gumby too. They just kind of like flop around and you just have to like, “listen, this is how you do it. Let me show you the skill, this is how you move your…” and they’re like, “okay, sounds good.”

And what’s interesting about competitive jumpers too, it’s like 50% of the knowledge that they need to know is already there. You have to like, just show them the skill, and they pretty much figured out with a little bit of guidance. 

Whereas adults, it’s a lot more like cerebral and focus on like, “here’s how to do this…” and, “here’s where to move your hands…” and, “how to execute these skills…” which personally, I think is very fun to actually like get into the details, and a lot of adult jumpers, like they need that to actually execute the skills.

46:09 Coaching Youth Competitive Jumpers Vs. Adult Recreational Jumpers

Kenzie Christensen: It’s different to teaching competitive jump ropers, like, I noticed this a lot too from like just teaching at workshops compared to college, is you could show competitive jump roper, like a really hard skill and kind of explained bits and pieces, and then they totally understand what’s happening.

But in college you show the same skill, and then they have no idea what happened. So you have to start from the beginning and explain every little step, which definitely helps you as a teacher, I think, also to know what’s happening in the skill. Because it’s like, you know how to do it, but then like explaining it definitely makes it at a different level of like, “oh, that’s actually what my arm is doing,” you know… instead of, “this is normal… this is what it looks like.”

Nate K-G: Yeah, a hundred percent! I’ve noticed that like the more I’ve coached adults, I have to get razor sharp with my ability to like, explain exactly what’s going on. And to the end, the biggest hurdle tends to be seeing what’s happening and seeing the pattern of what’s happening. 

Like as a competitive jumper, you know, like a TJ is just some basic skills put together in one jump. It’s like, that makes sense that they’re all interrelated, you know. Or like right now… really common skills, like the Archer release, is like I guess the social media name, which is behind the neck backwards mic release. As a competitive jumper, you are pretty clear like, oh, this is just a couple of skills being added together. But when you’re an adult, they all look so different and independent.

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah. 

Nate K-G: So you have to go through and take the time to explain, which I think is really fun, because with adults, you actually have like the bandwidth with these jumpers to explain the theory. Whereas with kids, it’s like, they don’t really want to know about the patterns. They kind of just want you to throw a skill, and then be like, “here’s what it is,” you know, which I understand cause that’s how I was too! 

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah.

Nate K-G: Like, you’re saying you have to get really clear about what you’re doing. And sometimes, someone asks a question about a skill, and you’re like… “you know, that’s kind of a good question! What am I doing?”

Kenzie Christensen: Yes I am ran across that so many times, or like the side swing, where you like to swing cross or swing open, there’s different versions of side swings. There’s a girl that is in competitive jump rope, that didn’t know that there was two different side swings until I was explaining it in college, which like, kind of blew my mind.

But then again, I’m like, I don’t know when I learned that there was two different versions of side swings. I was like probably when I was in college too, because I never was asked like a question like that until college of like, well, “why is the swing this way? Not this way?” And then it’s like, “oh, I don’t know. I never like, had to learn that. Like, it was just something that my body did.”

Nate K-G: And it gets really interesting too. The more you get into it, like these tiny little details that you do, like naturally… cause competitive jumpers are just naturally they lean towards efficiency. That’s the whole purpose of like everything we do. But, at recreational jumping, there’s no real reason to be efficient other than if you just want to do that and to learn more skills.

So the swings are really interesting. Then on top of that too, is like, when you realize that there’s different names for them. I think Lee calls him like a cross swing and an open swing, which I tend to not use that naming. Cause it can say like a cross swing to an open, or an open swing to a cross, tends to get a little bit confusing. I usually stick with like a box swing for like that open position or a wrist on wrist, that’s where your hands are.

But it’s cool because as you work through that, I’ve had a lot of like really long really in-depth theory conversations with Chris, @thejumpropecoachchris, and it’s really cool when you realize that even the swings, and the mechanics behind the swings stack as well.

So like when you do a toad swing, you can do a toad swing multiple ways. You can do an inverse toad, and well, you can do an AS swing, as a wrist on wrist, or as a box, depending on what comes next, which is like… that stuff you can actually talk about with adults and get into. Whereas a kid’s like, “yeah, I don’t care what that name is, just show me like what it looks like!” And it’s, completely different. 

The other one, too, that in addition to the swings, mic releases. Because you can do like a rope toss version and a wrist pop, but then there’s also, this was a recent one that kind of took me a little bit of time to like conceptually work through, Lee’s version of a mic, where he lets go with his releasing hand super low, compared to his turning hand. I talk with Chris for this one a lot. Those are like three main variations of how to do a mic release. But the first two, the rope toss and the wrist pop, are kind of technically just a box swing or an open swing. If you think about like of your hands. 

Whereas, one that lead us is the mechanics behind it are effectively a wrist on wrist or a cross swing, but you’re releasing that way. Jump rope, as I’ve gotten older, it’s gotten more and more interesting to understand like all the different pieces and stuff, which is really cool. 

But yeah, it does a little bit of a tangent, but this has been a really fun conversation so far to chop it up with you. I have a couple more questions… I think we’ll start to work towards wrapping up.

52:25 What Kenzie Has Learned From Jump Rope

Nate K-G: I am curious… what has jump rope taught you? If anything at all the answer can definitely be, no, if you feel like there hasn’t been anything, but, if it’s taught you anything, I’m curious what that is.

Kenzie Christensen: I think jump rope has taught me a lot about self-motivation or responsibility. I think any sports could definitely teach you these things, but in jump rope, because there are individual events and there are team events. Self-motivation is a huge thing for your individual events, because it’s like, “okay, go work on your single,” and people could just sit there, and talk, and not care about their single. 

Nate K-G: Oh, I don’t know if it has happened in a lot of practice to, or that does happen, or some of the teammates are just kind of hanging out.

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah. Self motivation, I think, is like a huge thing. The responsibility of like showing up to practice on time, making sure you’re getting your stuff done, like at home, like your chores, your homework and stuff on time. So you can like go to bed on time to get enough rest, to like recover for the next day for practice.

I think those are two definite things that jump rope has taught me. And maybe some patience… because growing up, I did not have patience. People when they taught me were like, “yeah, you were crazy, you just wanted to swing your rope around, and know how to do the trick immediately.” I think patience is something jump rope has taught me of like, “oh, if you just slow down and listen to what people are actually saying, like maybe you would get the skill a little faster.”

Nate K-G: Yeah, and avoid a few really nasty whips as well, as much as those can be avoided.

Kenzie Christensen: Yes. For sure!

Nate K-G: That makes sense. A lot of really important life lessons. I feel like as a competitive jumper, you can’t walk away without having learned something that sticks with you. Like when you show up to the gym, and like every day is about pretty much getting hit as hard as possible with your rope, like you’re going to learn something or you’re going to leave.

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah.

Nate K-G: One of the two, definitely the patience. Yeah. Patience is… you can also learn a skill, and then for some magical reason you’ll forget it by the next session. And you’re like, “I don’t know where it went, but apparently I don’t have that…” Has that happened to you?

Kenzie Christensen: Yes. So many times you’ll be able to like do something, or you finally just got it for the first time. Then you go back the next day and try to do it, and you’re like, well, “where’d it go? Guess I don’t know how to do it anymore.”

Nate K-G: That happened to me with my push-up pull through when I first learned it. This is kind of crazy, cause it was so long ago, but I remember exactly where I was when I learned it, cause it was that big of a deal to me, you know? And I got it, and I was like, it’s that magical moment where like it finally clicks, like, this is amazing. And… I couldn’t do it for another two weeks. It was just gone. It was just gone!

Kenzie Christensen: Yes. That was me and a BC. So I used to like not be able to do BC, like forever. And I was always spinning to the left because I don’t know why, I never tried to on the right side, but I was like doing it on the left forever. And then finally, one day at practice, someone was like, “well, why don’t you just go to the right?”

And I was like, “oh, I don’t know. Why wouldn’t I think that myself?” I went to the right and I got it, and I was like, “are you kidding me? I’ve tried this for years on the left side!” I’m like, “why didn’t it just click in my mind?” to

Nate K-G: do you normally turn to your left? Is that like the more comfortable side for you?

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah. I’m a like a left spinner or like left leg goes up on things, but I frog, or mule kick, donkey, kick, whatever you want to call it, I go off my right leg. For most For most other things are left sided. 

Nate K-G: That’s interesting. Yeah. I am a left spinner as well, but I bound off of my left leg. Have you ever practiced doing a handstand on the wrong leg?

Kenzie Christensen: It’s so awkward!

Nate K-G: It’s really weird! It’s like, my hips just don’t want to do it. They’re like, we’re not going to move that direction.

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah, it’s like, I don’t think that my leg knows what to do when I’m like hopping on the one leg. It’s like, “oh, this is weird. What’s happening? Oh, now you’re on your hands… like this doesn’t work!” 

Nate K-G: Yeah. It’s like, “you should just do a two-foot of frog dude, like, don’t even know why you’re trying this,” because I’m basically just going to do that anyway. Well, that’s funny. Okay. That… I feel you so much on that skill.

56:49 What Is Jump Rope To You?

Nate K-G: There’s so many good things, we could keep going, but I do want to be respectful of your time. So let’s work towards wrapping up with the last main question of the podcast, which is, “what is jump rope to you?”

Kenzie Christensen: Oh, this is such a good question. Jump rope, I think has gone through phases throughout my life of like what it has meant to me. In the beginning it was just something fun to do after school to make me not go home, and probably ignoring my brother and his friends that were probably hanging out, and just a great way to exercise, and get all my energy out before going home. 

And then getting into like the competitive performance stage, once I was able to be on the team. I think the performances just allowed me to have like a outlet of creativity, and showcasing like, “oh, this is how awesome jump rope is.” And then kind of going back more to the competitive side of like, “oh, I’m here. I want to win. I want to be the best at my sport. I want to do the best I can…” through like middle school, high school.

And then into college, I think it went back to the performance just because we did a lot of performances through like the college team. And then with Flight Crew Jump Rope, we did a ton of performances. I think that definitely took off.

And then right now it’s kind of a mix between both, like I want to go compete this year, so like trying to get like my hype up for that. And then like still being in the performance aspect is like really cool. And it’s just my whole life, like jump rope… everything really revolves around jump rope ,and just anything I can do to help the sport is just… yeah.

58:32 Kenzie’s Favorite Flight Crew Performances

Nate K-G: It’s gotta happen. Flight Crew… I forgot to ask you about that. I want to know how you got started performing with Flight Crew and some of your favorite performances that you’ve done with the team.

Kenzie Christensen: I did Medora in… ooh, 2016. I don’t know what year that happens in actually, I feel like the years of jump rope, I don’t know what year is it like anything in. But that was like my first major performance with Flight Crew. 

And we spent the summer in Medora, North Dakota. It’s like this little town like kind of close to the Montana border in North Dakota. And we just did a show every night. It was like a 20 minute set in like this outside of the amphitheater thing. It’s like pretty big, I don’t know how many people could sit, probably a few hundred people, maybe. But the town was really tiny and it was like the craziest place. So like go and do a performance for jump rope, like Medora North Dakota, never heard of it until I’ve gone there. 

It was so awesome because during the day we could just like hang out, it’s like a jump rope team, just learn jump rope stuff, or hang out by the pool. And then at night, we could go showcase how cool and amazing our sport is by doing a performance.

And that was like the first time I’d ever performed on a big stage and so it was really different than competitive jump rope. And that taught me a lot about performing and how you like, kind of get into a character, and you like really showcase with like your face, and your background dancing kind of like plays a part into that, and that your jumping doesn’t have to be like your level four skills, like the hardest things you have to do. Like you just needs to be showy enough, that the people get involved with what you’re doing, and that they can understand what’s happening.

Nate K-G: What was the performances every single night? Was that just like a community thing? Was there a specific event that was tied to it?

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah. So there was a show, there was like singers and stuff that did shows all the time. So we were there for six weeks and then they would bring in a different act for another like six weeks. So it’s just like an amphitheater, they do summer shows throughout the summer, and people like driving from all of North Dakota and South Dakota to see this show. Like it’s a really big thing that people love to go and watch.

Nate K-G: That’s really cool! So did you guys do the exact same performance every night or did you change it up? Because six weeks is a long time to do the exact same performance, I would think.

Kenzie Christensen: So when we first started, there was like the base of like, here’s what we’re doing, you know? And everyone had like their single individual spots that they were like highlighted during. So it’s like if you got more comfortable with your single freestyle section, and you wanted to add a little something, you could during there. And our choreography kind of changed with like the background, dancing, and motions that we were doing, but the main jumping stuff stayed the same to the same music at the same set, just because it would be hard to keep mixing that around.

Nate K-G: So you get the main structure, that makes sense. You work always consistent and it was just the fine details. That’s cool too, in case like anyone would come back on like a different night or a different week or something, they would see something like slightly different.

I don’t know if they would pick up the difference, but that’s cool. It’d be slightly different. That’s really neat. This has been really fun to chop it up with you. I know that we’ve talked a little bit through discord and through social media, this is the first time we’ve actually like sat down and had a conversation.

I think that’s probably a good spot to put a pin in it for now, although I’m sure at some point we’ll end up chatting again. Kenzie, thank you for taking this time today to chat with me on the podcast.

Kenzie Christensen: Yeah, thanks for having me on Nate. I had a blast!

Nate K-G: Definitely!