Third Rule Book Draft

We are excited to release an updated draft of the IJRU Rule Book consisting of the Judging Manual and Competition Manual. Over the past month we have tried to get through a bunch of the previously unpublished sections and get them ready for a first publication, we will continue this work in May.

Once again we are interested in your feedback, please read through the documents and fill out the survey at the end of this post when you are finished.

If you have not had an opportunity to read our earlier blog posts, they may be helpful in understanding these rules and how they were developed. Most of the difficult decisions in developing these rules are discussed there. 

We’re hoping to have a detailed blog post about the score calculations in the comming days so stay tuned.

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Technical Congress
Second Rule Book Draft

We are excited to release an updated draft of the IJRU Judges and Competition Manuals. Over the past 2 months the Technical Congress has continued to develop the rules and discuss the feedback we received on our first draft. 

Once again we are interested in your feedback, please read through the documents and fill out the survey at the end of this post when you are finished.

If you have not had an opportunity to read our earlier blog posts, they may be helpful in understanding these rules and how they were developed. Most of the difficult decisions in developing these rules are discussed there. 

Many people have voiced concerns that our rules are too different from the previous organizations. At a foundational level we do not believe that the IJRU rules are drastically different from the rules of either previous organization. At the end of the day we are still evaluating routines for the difficulty level of each skill and how well the athlete performs those skills. To help illustrate the similarities between the systems we have created the following chart: 

Required Elements/Deducion Judge
  • Each Required Element performed 4 different times
  • Single Rope
    • Multiples
    • Gymnastics/Power
    • Wraps/Releases
    • Interactions for pairs and team routines
  • Double Dutch
    • Turner Involvement
    • Gymnastics/Power
    • At least 4 sklls performed by each athlete
    • Partner interactions in DDPF and DDTF
  • Time Violations
  • Space Violations
  • Misses, removed major and minor mistakes. just one type of mistake. deduction % TBD
  • At a minimum 2 judges
Head Judge
  • Required Elements performed at least once at a level 3 or higher
    • Rope Manipulation
    • Inversion Displacement
    • Spartial Dynamics
    • (Turner/Jumper exchanges for Double Dutch)
  • Time Violations
  • Spartial Deductions
  • Accuracy Deductions (misses) .1 deductions for minor mistakes, .2 deductions for major mistakes
  • 1 Judge
Required Elements Judge, 10% of the score
  • Each Required Element performed a certain number of times to get maximum creit. List with a number of possible points but you dn't have to do all of them to get maximum credit.
  • Single Rope
    • Sets of 4 multiples (triples or more)
    • Gymnastics
    • Power
    • Speed Dances
    • Releases
    • Wraps
    • Interaction for pair and teams routins
  • Double Dutch
    • Turner Ivolvement
    • Switches
    • Gymnastics
    • Speed Dance
    • Release
    • Jumper interactions
  • Missses, 12.5 points for minor and 25 for major
  • 3 Judges
Presentation Judge, % of the score TBD
  • Judge A evaluates Form and Execution as well as misses
  • Judge B evaluates entertainment value as well as Musicality
  • Uses -, check, and + marks to evaluate
  • Enter a mark at least every 2 seconds
  • At a minimun 2 judges for Judge A
  • At a minimun 2 judges for Judge B
Presentation Judge, 40% of the score
  • Evaluatd Technical Presentation as well as Entertainent Value
  • Uses -, check, and + marks to evaluate
  • Enter a mark at least every 2 seconds
  • 3 Judges
Presentation Judge, 40% of the score
  • Music – to the beat
  • Music – using the music
  • Movement
  • Fom of body and Execution
  • Originality
  • Overall Impression
  • Every category got a score beween 0 and 10
  • 5 Judges (drops highest and lowest)
Difficulty Judge
  • Records a score for eac skill performed with level 0.5, 1, 2, 3... with no theoretical maximum
  • 3-5 Judges
Content Judge, 60% of the score
  • Records a score for each skill performed ranging in levels from 0.5 to 7
  • 3 judges
Difficulty Judge, 50% of the score
  • Records a score for each skill performed ranging from 1 to 6 in SR and 1 to 5 in DD.
  • 5 Judges (drops highes and lowest)
Head Judge
  • Time Violations
  • Space Violations
  • Recording of at least 3 skills per skipper in DD
  • Checking that both genders competes in each event in the Opencategory
  • Misses, minor and major misses
  • 1 Judge (Could be one of the difficulty judges)

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Technical Congress
First Rule Book Draft

In this blog, we have been sharing important questions and milestones as we develop the new IJRU rules. It is time to share our first working draft of the IJRU Judge Manual and Competition Manual. The focus areas of this first release are the judging process (in preparation for judge training beginning mid-year) and the competition structure (in preparation for the IJRU 2020 Championship event). 

This draft release is the best opportunity to provide us with feedback on the overall structure of the rules and competition. As with our earlier posts here, we welcome your feedback. Feedback from the community has already assisted us in adjusting the course in important areas. We will continue to implement the changes as needed.  

If you have not had an opportunity to read our earlier blog posts, they may be helpful in understanding these rules and how they were developed. Most of the difficult decisions in developing these rules are discussed there.  


Our next release will be early March where we will include a draft of the formulas to calculate scores and more details of the competition including number of competitor slots available. This will be a complete draft of the document. From there, we will go through a few rounds of feedback before the final rules are published.  

We look forward to your feedback in the survey section below! 

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Technical Congress
Community Commentary

Sorry for our absence over the last few weeks. We hope you understand that this is a very busy time of year. During our time away from the blog, we put together a difficulty matrix for single rope and double dutch freestyle. Next week, we will resume our regular weekly posts, beginning with difficulty.

This week on the blog, we are going to respond to a number of comments that we’ve received over the past few weeks.

Space violations should be simplified. Rather than creating exceptions by only awarding a space violation when a body part touches the ground outside of the competition area, make it any time a body part or rope breaks the plane of the competition boundary.

The reason we changed space violations to any time a body part touches the ground outside of the competition boundary, was because we believe it is too difficult for judges to determine if a rope or body part has broken the plane while in the air. The judges are often stationary and positioned at the front of the competition area. As a result, it is extremely difficult for them to tell if an athlete’s rope breaks the plane of the boundary at the back of the competition area. We think there is too much room for error and we don’t want athletes to receive deductions unnecessarily. By only giving space violations when a body part touches the ground outside of the competition area, this will actually simplify the judging and will hopefully lead to more consistency.

Do you think crosses should be a separate required element?

We asked this question a few weeks ago and received mixed results. Two thirds of the respondents believe that crosses should not be a separate required element. The most common reasons were that people feel we shouldn’t have too many required elements in order to allow athlete’s to be creative with their choreography. They also believe that most routines will incorporate crosses regardless and, therefore, it isn’t necessary to make this a required element. We tend to agree with this rationale and have decided not to include crosses as a required element.

Should we consider using the term “repetition” instead of “repeated skills” to avoid some of the problems associated with remembering every single skill that has been performed in a routine.

Quite a few members of the community are concerned with how the judges will account for repeated skills. There is a general feeling that this is too difficult because there can be slight variations in the entrance or exit from a skill that may cause it to look the same to a judge that has been watching 100s of routines. We are aware that this is not easy to do and we agree that judges should be watching for repetition in style (too many side-swing multiples in a row) as well as the repetition of an exact skill. This is something that judges are already watching for in both the FISAC and WRJF model. We are hoping the difficulty associated with this aspect of judging, can be addressed by dividing the responsibilities of the presentation judges so that they are watching for less.

There should be a minimum of 3 judges for each set of judges.

We agree with this comment. This will allow for the possibility to drop the score of an outlier or get an average of three scores. We don’t want to create a massive judges panel, but at the same time, we feel it is important to divide up some of the judging tasks in order to create a more consistent judging system. The size of the judging panel could vary at different levels of the sport.

We received only a few comments, often conflicting, in regards to the weight of the different presentation categories and components. Some people felt that form and execution should be weighted heavily, while others felt that musicality should be weighted the most.

We are interested in hearing more feedback on this specific topic. For those of you who feel that we should weigh certain aspects of presentation more than others, can you please explain why that is. Is it because we want to encourage athletes to spend more time choreographing to the music than working on their form and execution, for example? In your comments can you please explain your rationale to help us make a more informed decision. For example, one comment suggested that form should be weighted heavily in order to encourage athletes to work on their form, which could help reduce the number of injuries in our sport.

We also want to keep the scoring system as simple as possible. If we are going to weigh some components of presentation more than others, it will complicate the system and needs to be done for a justifiable reason.

There should be a deduction from the presentation score for a large mistake such as a collision, long rope tangle, or fall.

We have removed the concept of major and minor mistakes, but there will still be a deduction for a miss. This will be accounted for by the deduction judges. We have not yet determined how much will be deducted because we need to test out the system once it is fully developed. That being said, we do agree that a collision or rope tangle would detract from the overall entertainment value of a routine and also could result in a deduction from the presentation score. We are not sure if we should be deducting twice for a mistake. For example, the athlete will receive a miss deduction, they will not be awarded any difficulty points for the skill, and they will lose time from their routine. Should they also receive a deduction from the presentation score? We are open to additional feedback on this.

We should not include appearance in judging the athlete’s style. In many instances athletes do not get to choose their uniforms and shouldn’t be judged based on how they look. This could also lead to discrimination due to cultural differences in relation to eye contact, uniform styles, hair styles, etc.

We very much agree with this comment and want to do everything possible to avoid discrimination, or the potential for discrimination, in the judging system. We were hoping that these types of issues could be addressed through the judges training. However, if there is a general belief that we should avoid judging appearance all together, that is something we are open to considering.

For 4x30 speed relay, the time call outs should be at 10 and 20 seconds, instead of 15 seconds. This will create consistency with the 1x30 speed event.

Thank you for this suggestion. We will consider this for the final version of the time tracks.

We received a few different suggestions for 1x180 call outs. One suggestion was to have a call out every 15 seconds throughout the event. The rationale was to create consistency and allow athletes and coaches the ability to better track time and pacing during the event. Another suggestion was to have a call out every 15 seconds for the entire last minute. The rationale was to ramp up audience involvement, similar to a final lap in speed skating.

The reason we chose not to have call outs every 15 seconds was because this can be boring and distracting for the audience, however, we are open to the idea, if this is something that athletes and coaches would find useful. Does anyone have a preference between these two proposals? Or do you like the original proposal, which included call outs every 30 seconds except for the final 15 seconds at the end of the event?

I think it would be better to remove the “Judges Ready?”, “Athletes, ready?”, “Set” calls and replace them with 3 lower frequency beeps of equal length to the starting beeping, with the same amount of time in between. This would save time and almost certainly allow the athletes to better anticipate the start, because the words/phrases themselves are not the same lengths and the athletes could follow the rhythm of the beeps. Every second adds up to extra minutes and hours, especially at large tournaments where there are hundreds of heats of speed. If you could even cut 5 seconds off the beginning of the timing track, it would save a lot of time. If done well, using starting beeps could also create excitement, like what can happen in the sport of alpine skiing which is mentioned in the blog.

We understand the importance of saving time during a tournament but want to make sure that we are not losing the friendly tone. Is starting an event with beeps instead of the voice commands of “Judges ready?”, “Athletes ready?” less personal and inviting? What do you think about this suggestion? We welcome feedback on this topic.

 Until next week,
The IJRU Technical Congress

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Freestyle Score Calculations

A freestyle routine is evaluated in two main dimensions: difficulty and presentation. These aspects are separate to encourage athletes to create routines that push the boundaries of the skills in the sport, while also making the routines entertaining to watch for audiences inside and outside of our sport. We have had other posts on how these aspects of scores are calculated, and the goals for each. This post talks about how these scores are combined to provide proper weighting for each aspect. We’ll avoid the math as much as possible, but ultimately that’s how this all ends up getting done.

The IJRU Technical Congress believes that both aspects are important to a routine. That said, as many of you have commented, difficulty is the foundation of a routine. Our sport is built on a history of innovation and raising the bar and much of this is based on content. Since we are creating rules for competitive sport, it’s important to use the technical aspects of the routine as the foundation.

But that does not mean presentation is not important. For the growth of our sport, it is essential that our sport is accessible and attractive to those that know nothing about jump rope/rope skipping. Everyone in the sport today can tell the story of the first time they saw a jump rope/rope skipping show. Dry, engineered, technical routines are usually not memorable and do not attract people into the sport. The entertainment value of a routine is what creates a great first impression.

Incoming Rule Sets 

Both FISAC and WJRF weighed difficult and presentation scoring, but in different ways.

FISAC, in its most recent rule set, used a ranking system in which all competitors in an event were ranked separately in difficulty and presentation. Then these ranks were used to pick the winner. The advantage of this approach is that it eliminated the need to create a balanced point system that weighed difficulty and presentation in the right proportion. The order of the results is all that mattered. The drawback of this approach is that it didn’t take into account the differences in scores between these ranks. For example, if two athletes ranked closely in presentation but had a large difference in difficulty, it may seem logical that this bigger difference in difficulty would give that athlete more credit, but under this system, being one point ahead is the same as being a hundred points ahead. While this is an extreme example, this approach didn’t seem ideal to us.

In the incoming WJRF rule set, the scoring calculations factor in target values for difficulty and presentation scores. This forces WJRF to create target values that will weigh both aspects in the desired proportion. Unfortunately, this is difficult to do for all levels of the sport and that bar moves as the sport advances. At lower levels of the sport, athletes do better with presentation but their content scores tend to be low, so presentation scores end up being weighed much more strongly. At the high end of the sport, very dense and difficult routines created high content scores that made presentation a very small factor. In some cases, athletes are incentivized to focus less on presentation and spend that time adding more difficult skills to their routines.

The Goal 

We believe that an ideal system for combining content and presentation will: 

  • Work for athletes competing in all levels of the sport.

  • Use difficulty as the basis for scoring – at high levels of the sport, you can’t win without a hard routine.

  • Reward for great presentation, and mark down for weak presentation. 

  • Give presentation sufficient importance. Since we are using presentation to handle non-ideal aspects like repetitive skills, the presentation score has to have power to make major shifts in ranking at all levels of the sport (presentation must have ‘teeth’!).


We have moved to a calculation system that uses the difficulty score as the basis, then uses the presentation score to make a plus/minus adjustment within a percentage range. For example, an athlete that receives a content sore of 100, but a -40% adjustment based on weak presentation. That athlete would get a score of 60. Similarly, an athlete with a base difficulty score of 50 could get a +30% boost from presentation taking their final score to 65.

IRJU Scoring calc.jpg

We are still working on the exact range and values, but at the beginning of a routine, an athlete will start with a 0% presentation adjustment, and through positive and negative marks on various elements from the presentation judges, that adjustment can end up a positive or negative percentage value.

The benefit of this approach is that it meets our goal of a formula that works at all levels of the sport. Since the adjustment is a percentage, it works well on easy routines and hard ones. It uses difficulty as the base, so even with an extremely entertaining routine, there’s a hard upper limit no matter how well an easy routine can score.


This approach also gives presentation weight at all levels. A championship routine with great skills can be surpassed by a slightly easier routine with great presentation.  

Compared to the WJRF system, this is more consistent at all levels of the sport and will not need to be adjusted as much as difficulty increases.  

Compared to the FISAC system, this rewards athletes who are well above other athletes in difficulty and presentation while retaining a balance between both aspects.

We are still evaluating different approaches to deductions (required elements and misses)

Community Commentary

Winter festivities are around the corner and December is a stressful month. We have read all your feedback and discussed it, but unfortunately we haven’t had time to write responses yet. To make sure we give you the best responses possible we will publish this weeks community commentary separately.

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Speed Signals Sounds and Call-Outs

This week on the blog, we will discuss the speed timing tracks. We have identified some key differences and issues that we are attempting to resolve with clearer definitions than FISAC-IRSF and WJRF had respectively. And this week, we’d like to guide you through our suggestion for new time tracks, part by part.


This is the part where the event is presented to the athletes and where the athletes prepare for the event.

The Technical Congress have identified one key problem with the FISAC-IRSF and WJRF time tracks where a simple merge cannot occur. FISAC-IRSF uses "skippers ready" and WJRF uses "jumpers ready" when preparing the athletes for the start. IJRU's standpoint is that "Skipping/Jumping" (Rope Skipping/Jump Rope") should always be used in an official context, but we all agree that "jumpers slash skippers ready" sounds flat out bad in a “ready, set, go” call-out. Because of this, the Technical Congress proposes the wording "Athletes ready" to provide a neutral solution.

Therefore, all speed time tracks should start as follows:

"<Event Name> <Event Time> <2.000 seconds silence> Judges Ready? <0.500 seconds silence> Athletes Reday? <0.500 seconds silence> Set <0.500 seconds silence> <0.350 seconds BEEP>"

Where “<Event Time>” is defined as "[<N> times] <Time> seconds" where [<N> times] is only required if the event is performed in a relay fashion. (For example: “four times thirty seconds” or “one hundred eighty seconds”) All time definitions in the event presentation come in seconds. We wanted to add the time definition of the event to the start of the timing track to make it easier to confirm that the correct timing track is being played.


We also identified a problem where athletes sometimes misinterpret switch signals in FISAC-IRSF as a stop signals, because they sound exactly alike. However, to make the switch and stop signals as audible as possible, and as easy as possible to distinguish from the time call-outs we want to use beeps instead of spoken signals. Therefore, we want to use different frequencies for the start/stop signal and the switch signal.

As a baseline we averaged the frequencies of the sound FISAC-IRSF uses (a square wave with a frequency of 694 Hz) with the sound WJRF uses (a square wave with a frequency of 463 Hz). We then ended up at a square wave of 578.5 Hz, which conveniently enough is really close to the tone D5 (578.3 Hz) in standard tuning (A = 440 Hz).

To separate the start/stop beeps from the switch beeps we simply moved one whole step down the chromatic scale to a C5 (525.3 Hz) for the switch beeps.

Both the FISAC-IRSF and WJRF beeps are approximately 350 ms long, and we don’t see any reason to change that.

If we evaluate where those frequencies land in a Fletcher-Munson Curve, which approximates the loudness a normal-hearing person can perceive different frequencies, we can draw the conclusion that the IJRU sound should be well within an easily audible range. Below we’ve marked (from left to right) the FISAC-IRSF beep sound, the IJRU beep sound and the WJRF beep sound.

“ Approximate equal loudness curves derived from Fletcher and Munson (1933) plus modern sources for frequencies &gt; 16kHz. The absolute threshold of hearing and threshold of pain curves are marked in red. Subsequent researchers refined these readings, culminating in the Phon scale and the ISO 226 standard equal loudness curves. Modern data indicates that the ear is significantly less sensitive to low frequencies than Fletcher and Munson's results. ” Image and description from  this fantastic article by Monty from xiph   Green vertical lines added compared to original image, used with permission (C) Copyright 2012 Red Hat Inc. and Xiph.Org

Approximate equal loudness curves derived from Fletcher and Munson (1933) plus modern sources for frequencies > 16kHz. The absolute threshold of hearing and threshold of pain curves are marked in red. Subsequent researchers refined these readings, culminating in the Phon scale and the ISO 226 standard equal loudness curves. Modern data indicates that the ear is significantly less sensitive to low frequencies than Fletcher and Munson's results.” Image and description from this fantastic article by Monty from xiph

Green vertical lines added compared to original image, used with permission (C) Copyright 2012 Red Hat Inc. and Xiph.Org

While looking at the image above it might seem like the “optimal” frequency would be around 3500 Hz (approx. a G#7) but that doesn’t sound as pleasing. 1000 Hz was, however, a promising candidate for a beep sound.

We also reviewed a bunch of videos from competitions and speed events and what sounds were heard during those. Interestingly, we could see that there’s relatively little sound around 400-600 Hz where we’ve suggested placing the beep sounds, which should once again make them as audible as possible. We also recognized that when the audience began cheering at the end of the events the frequencies around 1000 Hz got very crowded, and that could in turn make a 1000 Hz beep less audible. Therefore, we decided to keep the beeps with lower frequencies to make them a bit more audible.

Sound spectrogram of  this  speed event from the FISAC-IRSF Championships in Sweden 2016. X-axis is time, y-axis is frequency. more red means more sound in that frequency at that time, blue represents less.

Sound spectrogram of this speed event from the FISAC-IRSF Championships in Sweden 2016. X-axis is time, y-axis is frequency. more red means more sound in that frequency at that time, blue represents less.

We had discussions about replacing the spoken “judges ready? athletes ready? set.” part with a series of beep sounds, like in alpine skiing, however, we felt that a spoken time track does feel less robotic and thus a bit more welcoming.

We also discussed randomizing the time between the “set” and the start beep every time the event occurs, like in a track sprint event, for example. However, we’ve decided that we’re more interested in testing the athlete’s speed than testing the athlete’s reaction time, and we believe that randomizing the start time is not beneficial.

Time Call-outs

To distinguish time call outs from start, stop, and switch signals, we are proposing keeping those as spoken call-outs; and to avoid unnecessary wordiness we have omitted the word “seconds” in those call-outs.

We have tried to derive a formula for time call-outs, like we’ve done with the start of the time tracks. Best described with the following table.

We did this so that if events are added in the future, or if you run a local competition with different speed events, it should be easy to know exactly how the time track for that event should sound.

Athlete compete time
Less than or
equal to 1 minute
More than 1 minute Soft Limit
Less than or
equal to 1 minute
Every 10 seconds
More than 1 minute Every 15 seconds Every 30 seconds
and last 15 seconds
No Limit At soft limit

For triple unders and the call-outs would be “15”.

For all the IJRU team speed events the call-outs would be “15” and for Double Dutch Speed Sprint on “15, 30, 45”.

For Single Rope Speed Sprint the call-outs would be “10, 20”.

For Single Rope Speed Endurance the call-outs would be “30, 1 minute, 30, 2 minutes, 30, 45”.

In addition to these rules, we are proposing that any events this table doesn’t cover, that are shorter than or equal to a minute, should have call outs after half the event, rounded to the closest 5 seconds. If each athlete’s section is longer than a minute, call outs should be made every 30 seconds, and once halfway between the last “30” or “X minute(s)” call-out and the end beep, rounded to the closest 5’th second.


Note that these examples are NOT the final or official time tracks. Although, they are accurate in timing, some different accentuations might be made in the final versions, and a different voice might be used.

Community Commentary

We are still working through your feedback from last week, and will resume the community commentary feature next week.

Please take a moment to reply to the survey on last week’s post about Presentation Judging! We really want your input!

Also, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to get notified when we publish a new blog topic!

Until next week,
The IJRU Technical Congress

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Presentation Judging Part 2: The Athlete and the Routine

This week on the blog, we will continue our discussion on presentation judging. We will outline the two different types of presentation judges that the Technical Congress recommends and what aspects each set of presentation judges will be responsible for judging. This will hopefully help to clear up some of the questions that members of the community had in regards to last week’s post on repeated skills.

The previous WJRF presentation judging system consisted of 1 set of 3 presentation judges. These 3 judges were responsible for evaluating the technical presentation and entertainment value of a routine. They used a tablet and software app to insert the presentation score in real time by pressing +/✓/- buttons. A plus was awarded anytime an athlete excelled in their presentation, a check was awarded for average presentation, and a minus was used when something detracted from the presentation. We believe that having three judges is too few to evaluate all presentation components. However, we like the idea of using an electronic device to input scores in real time. We feel this will help remove the potential for bias and human error from a judge trying to tabulate a score at the end of a routine. This also removes calculations from the judges’ responsibilities.

The previous FISAC-IRSF presentation judging system consisted of 1 set of 5 presentation judges. These 5 judges watched for use of music, skipping to the beat, movement, form and execution, originality, and overall impression. Presentation judges were asked to make marks on paper each time they saw an athlete use their music, for example. At the end of the routine, the judges would add up these marks and tabulate a total score based on the weighting of each component. We like that FISAC-IRSF included more presentation judges and divided presentation into 6 different components. However, we think that moving to an electronic device will help eliminate any potential tabulation errors, and splitting them into two types of presentation judges will allow each judge to focus on evaluating fewer components.

The Technical Congress has decided to divide presentation judging into two separate types: 1 that judges the choreography of the routine and 1 that judges how well the athlete performs the routine. By dividing these tasks, we hope to make presentation judging easier for the judges because they are watching for less. We also hope this will result in more consistent judging that will ultimately benefit the athletes and sport. We have not determined how many judges will be included in each set of presentation judges, but there will likely be a minimum of 3 per presentation judge type, which is more than either WJRF or FISAC-IRSF. We also want the judges to regularly enter scores in a concrete way throughout the routine.

Presentation Judge Type 1: Athlete Presentation

One set of presentation judges will be watching how well the athlete performs their routine. This will then be subdivided into two components: form/execution and style.

Form and Execution

  • Posture/clear lines

    • For this component, judges will watch to make sure that athletes are not hunched over during skills, that their legs are straight for certain gymnastics moves, that they don’t sag in their push-ups, etc. There are a number of skills that are more impressive if performed using proper form and posture. As a result, we believe the form and body positioning of the athlete should be judged.

  • Amplitude

    • defined as how high the athlete jumps during skills. Multiples and some power/gymnastics skills, for example, are more impressive when athletes get a lot of height on their jumps. This makes the routine more exciting to watch and demonstrates a strong level of execution.

  • Bobbles/wobbling rope/arch of the rope

    • Because we have eliminated minor and major misses, we believe it is important to watch and deduct for any bobbles, wobbling ropes, or ropes that catch on an athlete, but don’t actually stop. These types of execution errors detract from the overall performance in a freestyle routine and should be judged.


  • Confidence

    • Presentation judges will reward athletes who make eye contact with the judges and audience, rather than looking at the floor. Some display of confidence adds to the overall presentation of a routine.

  • Professionalism

    • The way an athlete behaves while on the competition floor can also impact their overall presentation. We want to encourage athletes to conduct themselves in a professional manner. For example, laughing after a mistake, eye-rolling, arguing with teammates during a routine will negatively impact the presentation and this will be reflected in the score. Conversely, an athlete who performs with poise and professionalism should be rewarded.

  • Appearance

    • We want our athletes to look professional and part of that is through appearance. Uniforms should be clean, hair should be pulled off the face and not interfere with the performance in any way, and jewelry (if worn) shouldn’t interfere with or detract from the performance.

  • Showmanship/Stage presence

    • Here the judges can watch for personality, how well the athlete commands attention from the audience, and their overall style. A great performer will draw in their audience and make a connection. 

Presentation Judge Type 2: Routine Choreography

The other set of presentation judges will be watching how well the routine was choreographed. This will then be subdivided into two components: entertainment and musicality.


  • Creativity/uniqueness

    • We have identified creativity as a key component in a winning routine and believe that unique skills, combinations, and choreography add to the entertainment value of a routine. As a result, judges will reward athletes that put together unique and creative routines by looking for innovative skills and combinations that help push the sport forward. 

  • Lack of repetition/repeated skills

    • Repetition and repeated skills detract from the entertainment of a routine. When a routine consists of repetitive skills, it becomes boring for the audience; this also includes large sections of a routine that contain similar looking skills. In order to account for this, athletes will receive a lower presentation score if their routine is repetitive.

  • Movement

    • Movement across the competition floor also adds to the entertainment value. If an athlete remains in the same place for their entire routine, this can look repetitive and it will be less dynamic and entertaining for the audience. As a result, athletes will be rewarded for moving across the floor in a creative and unpredictable way.

  • Flow

    • Routines that look choppy are not as entertaining as those that flow smoothly from start to finish. Creating smooth transitions will add to an athlete’s presentation score.

  • Wow factor/unexpected skills

    • We also want to encourage athletes to push the boundaries of the sport in their choreography and skill selection. Having skills that are really impressive and unexpected adds to the wow factor of a routine and is something that the presentation judges will reward. That being said, we don’t want athletes to attempt skills that they have not perfected. An athlete’s presentation score will decrease if they fall or stumble while attempting a skill. This will encourage athletes to only attempt skills that they can safely perfom.


  • Beats/Accents

    • Routines that are well-choreographed to the music are more exciting to watch, and the use of music can add to the overall presentation. If an athlete is able to use the music by jumping/skipping to the beat and hitting accents, they will receive a higher presentation score.

  • Story-telling/mood matching

    • Selecting a song and altering the mood and style of choreography to match the song is one way that an athlete can tell a story in their routine.

Additional Information

  • We are aware that some of the categories and components that we have identified overlap in a number of ways. At this stage, we are still working through this system and are interested in hearing your feedback. Do you think any aspects of presentation are missing from this system?

  • We have also not yet assigned a weight for each category and component of the presentation judging system. Our working process is to first create a basic outline of the judging system that includes the presentation judging categories and components, as well as the difficulty levels for each skill/type of skill. Then, once that is completed, we will test the system by judging a wide range of routines at a variety of skill levels. This will allow us to understand the impact that certain decisions will have on the score of a routine.

  • Below we have outlined two ways we could approach the weighting of presentation. We are looking for general feedback on each and are open to alternative suggestions.

    • Each category could be worth the same percentage of the total score. For example, if presentation was worth 40% of the total score, each category could be worth 20%. Then each of the four components could also be weighted equally at 10% each. In this scenario, we would be weighting each category and component the same because we believe they are equally important aspects of a winning routine.

    • Alternatively, we could weigh some components of presentation higher than others. For example, the Routine Choreography category could be worth 25% of the score and the Athlete Presentation category could be worth 15%. Then each subcategory could also be weighted differently. In this scenario, we would be valuing Routine Choreography more in the judging system.

Please fill out the survey at the end of the post to provide your feedback, questions, and comments on this basic outline of the IJRU presentation judging system. This is still very much a work-in-progress, so all suggestions are welcome!

Community Commentary

What is the definition of a repeated skill?

Many comments we received last week questioned how IJRU defines repeated skills. We feel it is important to clarify this issue and provide a more substantive definition. A repeated skill is any time an athlete or team completes the exact same skill within a routine. For example, a frog is a different skill than a frog-cross, double under frog, or frog-AS. The way in which athletes enter and exit skills, turner involvement, and multiples can add variation to a base skill and these skills will not receive deductions for repetition. However, if an athlete in a double dutch freestyle completed a standard frog during their routine and then another athlete on the same team completed a standard frog later, the routine would receive a deduction for repetition. This can be hard for judges to track throughout a routine, so we understand that this will likely only be detected if it is obvious to the judges that skills are being repeated. We also believe that repetitive movements should be avoided and therefore they will receive detract from the presentation score as well. For example, if an athlete completed a long multiples combination that was made up of mostly forward side-swing multiples without leg crosses or rotating, over time this will begin to look repetitive and will detract from the entertainment value of the routine. We understand that presentation judging will always include some subjectivity, but we would like the judging and training system to be as accurate and objective as possible.

Will presentation judges really be able to account for each repeated skill in a routine. Are we just moving the problem of repeated skills from the difficulty judges to the presentation judges? Should there be a separate panel of judges that only look for repeated skills?

We feel that repeated skills and repetitive choreography act in opposition to original/unique skills and combinations. As a result, we feel that it makes sense logically for presentation judges, specifically those watching the entertainment value of a routine, to account for repeated skills. Because we have decided to divide up presentation judging into two judge types that each watch for different components, we don’t feel we are asking too much of these judges.

I think a lot of people are waiting to see the whole draft rulebook/judging guide so we can start our own regional and national discussions. We were told in July that the rules would be sent out in October and although I have been enjoying the blog posts (which are very informative), it is very slow and at this rate we won't know the whole system until it's too late to make suggested changes before countries have to start implementing the rules.

We understand that the community is eager to see an entire draft of the rulebook, but we also want to make sure that we spend time carefully considering each rule and testing it to make sure that it will fit with the larger vision the IJRU has for the growth and development of the sport. We are also committed to receiving input and feedback from the community and this inevitably takes time. The IJRU Board of Directors stated that 80% of the rules would be communicated to the general membership between October 2018 and January 2019, and this is one of the roles of the blog. We are working diligently to have a draft version of the rulebook available in late January/early February to allow time for consultation and feedback prior to the AGM in July.

We have started writing and editing a copy of the rulebook, and we want the community to understand that this process takes time. Each word and phrase must be carefully considered to ensure that we are adequately communicating each rule with the intended meaning and in the simplest terms. We also need to structure the rulebook so that it is logically organized and easily searchable. Please continue to stick with us as we work through this process together.

Until next week,
The IJRU Technical Congress

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Presentation Judging Part 1: Repeating Skills

This week on the blog, we are discussing repeating skills. Variation was one of the key elements of a winning routine that the Technical Congress identified. We believe that the rulebook can promote variation by encouraging athletes to avoid repetition. We want athletes to be rewarded for creating original choreography that demonstrates a large range of skills. One way we have done this is through required elements, which were discussed on the blog last week. Athletes are required to perform a variety of different types of skills during their freestyle routines, in order to avoid a deduction. Another way this can be done is by deducting from the presentation score when a skill is repeated.

In the FISAC-IRSF judging system, repeated skills were not scored. Although this is one way to encourage athletes to avoid repetition, we believe that this is not the most effective method. In the IJRU judging system, every single skill that an athlete performs will be judged and scored by the content/difficulty judges. If an athlete performs a skill for a second or even third time during their routine, that skill doesn’t actually become any less difficult. As a result, we believe the skill should be awarded a difficulty level and corresponding point value. Instead, the IJRU Technical Congress has decided to subtract from the presentation score each time a skill is repeated during a routine. We believe that repeating skills actually detracts from the originality and creativity of a routine; therefore, it makes sense for this to fall under the presentation score. In order to meet this need, we plan to make the presentation judging system as objective as possible. Judges will be asked to input scores while watching a routine in real time. This way, any time a repeated skill is identified by a presentation judge, they will input a deduction to the system as it happens.

Both FISAC-IRSF and WJRF wanted to encourage athletes to be creative and avoid repetition. We agree and believe that this is best tackled by the presentation judges. Next week, we will continue to discuss presentation judging in more detail. 

Community Commentary

I believe that interactions are an important required element for single rope, but requiring 4 may be too time consuming.

Thank you for your comment. In order to address this, we will explain how we have defined interactions for single rope more clearly. An interaction is defined as any skill that involves two or more people, including scoops, stacked power, assisted gymnastics, and exchanging handles. Each individual skill completed in this way is considered an interaction; therefore, we don’t believe they will take significantly longer to complete than any of the other required elements. For example, if an athlete scoops another athlete while doing a multiple and then does a cross-scoop during the next jump, this would be considered two skills. In previous judging systems, an interaction was defined as any time the athletes came together, performed a series of skills, and then separated. In our definition, each skill performed while the athletes are interacting, even within the same combination or sequence, are considered individual interactions. As a result, we don’t think it will be too time consuming to complete this required element.

Will an athlete/team have to fulfill all required elements to receive no deduction or will it be like FISAC-IRSF in that you can get a maximum score by fulfilling a minimum required elements standard?

In order to receive no deduction, athletes will need to fulfill all of the required elements. The IJRU system does not require as many elements as the FISAC-IRSF model, and as a result, this rule will not impact an athlete’s ability to create an original and engaging routine. We also believe that if a certain element is “required,” there should not be a way to get full points without actually completing each element. In the IJRU system, failure to meet each required element will result in a deduction, instead of additional points. You can also get a partial deduction if you only complete some, but not all, of the elements. For example, if you completed 3 of 4 power/gymnastics skills you would receive 1 deduction, and if you completed 2 of 4 power/gymnastics skills you would receive 2 deductions.

Crosses are just as foundational to single rope freestyle as multiples and power. They act as a building block for a number of different skills and perhaps should be included as a required element.

We can discuss the option of adding crosses to the list of required elements. They could possibly be added to the section on wraps and rope throws if we rename that element rope manipulations. It may not be necessary to require crosses, since most routines will include at least four crosses, regardless of whether or not they are required by the ruleset. What do you think? Should crosses be added as a required element? Should they be combined with wraps and rope throws as a form of rope manipulation? Or should they be their own distinct element?

I believe there should be more turner involvement skills required in double dutch freestyle.

We understand that turner involvement is a very important aspect of double dutch freestyle and is one way that athletes can add to their difficulty score. It is important to remember that just because we are only requiring 4 skills doesn’t mean that athletes can’t complete more than 4 turner involvement skills in their routine. Athletes are encouraged to be creative and choreograph dynamic and difficult routines. The number of required elements act as a minimum not a maximum.

Until next week,
The IJRU Technical Congress

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Required Elements

This week on the blog, we will be discussing required elements. We have made some changes to the way both FISAC-IRSF and WJRF scored required elements. The Technical Congress believes that the purpose of required elements is to ensure that athletes display a variety of skills in their routines, in order to make them entertaining and dynamic for audiences.  Required elements also encourage athletes to become well-rounded freestyle athletes because they need to demonstrate that they can complete a number of different types of freestyle skills, rather than rely solely on power or multiples, for example. We feel that the FISAC-IRSF and WJRF rules didn’t fully promote these outcomes. We believe the FISAC-IRSF rule included too many required elements and we felt that this could limit an athlete’s ability to creatively put together an entertaining routine. In contrast, we think the WJRF rules didn’t place enough emphasis on required elements. We felt that only requiring athletes to perform one skill doesn’t adequately demonstrate that they have a basic ability in that element of the sport.

In the IJRU judging system, required elements will be counted by deduction judges. Deduction judges will also count mistakes, space, and time violations. For every required element an athlete has not completed, they will receive a deduction from the total raw score.

The difficulty level of all required elements will be awarded by the difficulty/content judges. Competitive athletes should be able to complete the required elements regardless of their skill level. This means that there will be no difficulty level associated with required elements. For example, a level 1 power skill will count as a required power element.

Single Rope Required Elements

  • 4 Different Multiples

    • These multiples can be double unders, triples, quads etc. In the former FISAC-IRSF rulebook, multiples needed to be completed in sets. In the IJRU rulebook, multiples do not need to be completed in a set, however, athletes can choose to perform all 4 multiples in a row. We do not want to restrict athletes by requiring a large number of sets, which may result in freestyle routines looking similar. Instead, athletes have the ability to choreograph their routine as they see fit, as long as they include a minimum of 4 multiple skills.

  • 4 Different Gymnastics/Power Skills

    • The athlete(s) can choose to perform 4 different gymnastics and/or power skills with their rope. Any combination is accepted. For instance, athletes could choose to do 1 gymnastics skill and 3 power skills, or 4 power skills and no gymnastics skills, in order to fulfil this required element. This allows the athletes a bit of freedom to choose skills and will help to ensure that skills are performed safely. We don’t want to see athletes perform gymnastics skills that they have not fully perfected in order to avoid a required element deduction. We feel that gymnastics and power skills both test strength and power and as a result are interchangeable. Because it has been determined that a difficulty level should not be associated with required elements, athletes do not need to pull the rope under themselves before landing power skills, but will need to jump/skip the rope after landing for the skills to be counted.

  • 4 Different Manipulations (Wraps/Releases)

    • The athletes are required to perform 4 different wraps and/or releases. Wraps and releases showcase an athlete’s ability to complete intricate rope manipulations. As a result, we feel as though both wraps and releases test a similar skillset. In order for a skill to count as a wrap, the rope must wrap and then unwrap. Similarly, in order for a release to count, the athlete(s) must release and then catch the rope. If an athlete releases a handle and then catches it with another body part, then wraps and unwraps the rope around a body part, and then catches the rope in their hand, this would count as 1 release and 1 wrap and the athlete would fulfil 2 of the manipulation elements in one sequence. Athletes do not need to jump/skip the rope during a wrap or release in order to fulfil the required element; instead, this will impact the difficulty level of the skill and will be recorded by the difficulty/content judges.

  • 4 Different Interactions

    • In pairs and team freestyle, interactions are required. When athletes interact with each other during pairs and team freestyle events, it makes these events more appealing to watch. Interactions also make pairs and team freestyle events different from an individual single rope routine and as a result, we want to encourage athletes to perform these skills. Interactions in single rope freestyle events include, but are not limited to, scoops, assisted flips, stacked power, switching handles, etc.  

Additional Information

  • In single rope pairs and team freestyle events, all the athletes must do the required element at the same time. For example, a scoop frog is only an interaction. It is not a power required element because all athletes aren't performing the power skill.

  • More than one required element can be completed in a single skill. For example, a double under frog/mule kick is a multiple required element and a power required element.

  • Athletes will not be awarded a required element skill if they are not holding the rope handles. For example, if an athlete puts the rope down and performs a gymnastics skill, that is not considered a jump rope skill and will not fulfil one of the gymnastics/power required elements. Athletes need to complete the skill while holding the rope and then jump the rope immediately after the skill in order for it to count.

Double Dutch Required Elements

  • 4 Different Gymnastics/Power Skills

    • The team can choose to perform 4 different gymnastics and/or power skills with the ropes. Any combination is accepted. For example, a team could do 3 gymnastics skills and only 1 power skill, or 4 power skills and no gymnastics skills in order to fulfil this required element. A power combination that contains a frog to split to push-up to crab includes 4 different power skills and would fulfil the required element.

  • 4 Different Turner Involvement Skills

    • In order to make double dutch freestyle more dynamic, turner involvement can raise the difficulty level and entertainment value of a routine. As a result, we want to encourage teams to include turner involvement. Turner involvement includes, but is not limited to, multiples, wheel, turning with one or both arms in a restricted position, jump-throughs, power/gymnastics skills while holding the ropes, etc.

  • 4 Different Interactions (Double Dutch Pair & Double Dutch Triad Freestyle)

    • We want to encourage athletes to complete athlete interactions during double dutch pairs and triad events because this makes the event more dynamic and also creates a significantly different routine than a double dutch singles freestyle. Athlete interactions include any skills completed while athletes make contact with each other, or move over/under or around each other. For example, a subway, assisted flip, leap frog, stacked power, linked arms etc would all count as skills that involve interactions. The athletes do not need to be performing the same skill in order for an interaction to take place. Switches are not considered interactions.

  • 4 Skills Performed in the Ropes

    • In all double dutch freestyle events, every athlete on the team needs to jump and turn at some point. This demonstrates that the athletes are well-rounded and creates a more dynamic and entertaining routine. In order to fulfil this required element, each individual on a team must complete 4 skills in the ropes. These 4 skills do not need to be completed in a row in order to count. For example, an athlete could perform 2 skills, then switch with a turner and later in the routine re-enter the ropes and perform 2 more skills.  

Additional Information

  • The required elements listed above do not need to be completed by each athlete on the team. For example, one athlete could complete all 4 of the gymnastics/power skills.

  • In double dutch pairs and triad, all jumpers do not need to be completing the same power/gymnastics skill in order to count a required element, but they all need to be completing a power/gymnastics skill simultaneously. For example, one athlete may do a push-up while another athlete does a frog over their feet, which would count as 1 power/gymnastics skill. Similarly, in triad, if two athletes do a front tuck and one athlete does a back tuck at the same time, this would count as 1 power/gymnastics skill. If one athlete does a push-up while the other athlete does a side straddle over their legs, this is not considered a power skill because both athletes are not completing a power skill. The only exception to this rule is assisted power/gymnastics. If one athlete assists another athlete during a power or gymnastics skill, this will count towards the required element. The reason for this is because the athlete assisting is still using strength and power to help complete the skill. For example, an assisted aerial would count as 1 power/gymnastics and 1 interaction by the deduction judges.

  • Skills that are performed outside of the ropes will not be counted towards required elements. For example, if an athlete performs a round-off outside of the ropes as a way to move across the floor, it will not be considered a gymnastics required element.

Community Commentary

We would like to thank everyone for sharing their thoughts and suggestions with the Technical Congress over the past few weeks and we would like to encourage you to continue reading, commenting, and sharing our weekly posts with those in the jump rope/rope skipping community. The majority of respondents to last week’s survey agreed with our definitions for each deduction, however, we did receive a few suggestions for alternative ways to define space/time violations, as well as mistakes. We will be taking this feedback into consideration as we continue to develop the rule book. Here are a few suggestions that we received:

Maintain two different types of mistakes, but instead of distinguishing them with time (i.e. two seconds), distinguish them by counting two beats.

In this case, we still believe that asking the judges to count two beats of music or two seconds of time is too subjective, leaves room for error, and the length of time between beats of different songs varies. Instead, we feel that if any noticeable mistake is made, a consistent amount should be deducted. Any bobbles could be deducted in the presentation score. This will help to make the judging of freestyle more consistent.

In speed, if an athlete is jumping on the boundary and one foot continually goes out of the box with every jump, don’t count the jumps, but also don’t continue to give a space violation every time their foot touches outside the boundary.

We will discuss this suggestion at an upcoming meeting as a group. We could change the wording to include that you cannot receive another space violation until you have completed a skill/jump within the set boundary. In other words, you must fully re-enter the boundary before a second space violation can be issued.

What happens if devices/programs read times on music files differently?

We feel this type of discrepancy can be avoided by using a consistent device and program to play the music. This is something we will consider further to ensure that there is consistency between athletes and we can adequately discern the length of each music track.

Could we adjust the definition of a miss/mistake to remove the word “unintentionally” and add more clarification of when the rope(s) could stop and not be considered a miss instead? Asking judges to read the intent of an athlete could very likely result in variance of how judges score misses and introduce subjectivity, which I believe you are rightly trying to avoid. I have discussed this with several athletes and judges and maybe we could build off a definition something like the following: “A mistake/miss is defined as any of the following:

  • any time a rope stops, unless an athlete is wrapping the rope, changing the direction of the rope, trapping the rope on a body part, and/or catching the rope in a pose

  • if an athlete attempts to grasp the rope and misses catching any part of the rope during a release

  • if a rope is pulled out of an athlete’s hand during a skill because the rope caught on an athlete’s body” (the implication for the rope being pulled out of the athlete’s hand is that they need to clearly release/let go of the rope for a miss to not be counted, rather than it accidentally catching on their body and being pulled out of their hand)

Are there other examples we can think of where it would not be a miss to stop the rope?

This is something the Technical Congress will need to discuss further before we can fully respond. We agree that a mistake needs to be clearly defined and will take this wording into consideration. At this point, we would be interested in hearing other feedback from the community regarding the wording of this definition. Is there anything that could be added to this definition that would help judges adequately identify a mistake?

Until next week,
The IJRU Technical Congress

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Freestyle Deductions

This week on the blog, we will be discussing a variety of different freestyle deductions, including mistakes, required elements, space, and time violations. This post will define each category and why we think a deduction should be made when these occurs. We will also discuss which judges will watch for deductions and why. As usual, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please fill out the survey at the end of the post so we can engage with your feedback next week!

Deduction Judges

In the IJRU judging system, deduction judges will count mistakes, required elements, space, and time violations. The reason for creating a separate panel of deduction judges is to divide up the tasks each judge is asked to perform, so that each judge (deduction, difficulty/content, and presentation) can focus on less tasks at a time and can have a better opportunity to produce more accurate scores.


In both FISAC-IRSF and WJRF, mistakes were divided into two categories: major mistakes and minor mistakes. A major mistake was defined by both organizations as any mistake that took longer than two seconds to recover. A minor mistake was any mistake that took less than two seconds to recover. Major mistakes resulted in a larger deduction than minor mistakes. The IJRU Technical Congress has decided to define mistakes differently. Asking judges to count 2 seconds in order to determine the type of mistake leaves room for error and/or variance between judges. Major mistakes can result in a significant deduction for an athlete and we don’t believe identifying a mistake should be subjective in any way. Instead, we have decided to only identify one type of mistake and this will receive a single and consistent deduction. The difference between a short and long recovery time will be accounted for by the presentation judges, because a longer mistake will detract more from the overall performance of a routine.

A mistake is defined as any time the rope unintentionally stops. If an athlete drops a handle or misses catching the handle during a release, this is defined as a miss. A miss is not counted for a bobble, where the rope catches on the body, but the athlete is still able to complete the jump. Instead, this will be accounted for by presentation judges.

Space Violations

A space violation in freestyle will be given each time part of the athlete’s body touches the floor outside of the competition area. This means that an athlete could receive multiple space violations in a single event trial.  The arc of the rope can exit the competition area without causing a space violation. The reason for this distinction is to make it easy for the judges to determine when a space violation has occurred. The location of the judging panel makes it difficult to fully determine if a rope crosses a boundary. For example, it may be difficult to tell if an athlete’s rope has crossed the back boundary if you are seated at a judging panel at the front of the competition floor. In order to remove this subjectivity, we decided to make a space violation easier to detect. Also, no competition area will border another competition area. This means that a rope crossing the boundary has almost no chance of interfering with another competitor. Similarly, if an athlete’s arm waves outside of the competition area or their leg is kicked out of the area, they will not receive a space violation. The body part actually needs to touch the ground outside of the boundary for a space violation to be given. If part of an athlete’s hand or part of an athlete’s foot crosses the boundary and touches the floor, a space violation will be deducted.  For example, if half of an athlete’s hand is outside the boundary during a frog, this is considered a space violation.

When an athlete is outside of the competition area, no skills will be judged until the athlete re-enters the competition boundaries. In team events, a space violation is awarded each time any athlete on the team exits the competition boundary. This means that if one athlete is out of the boundary and then another athlete on the team exits the boundary, two space violations will be deducted at the same time.

The purpose of creating competition boundaries and penalizing athletes for space violations is to ensure that each athlete performs their events in the same environment. Athletes are being asked to create a routine within a standardized space, so in order to treat each athlete equally, deductions will  made each time an athlete leaves the space.

Space violations will result in the same penalty as one mistake. This will be deducted from the raw score. The exact number deducted for misses and space violations has not been determined.

Time Violations

The technical congress has decided to make some changes to the way that freestyle events are timed. The event call outs can detract from the overall performance and we would like to work towards creating an atmosphere similar to competitive figure skating. During figure skating programs, music is played and the routine lengths are standardized and so well-choreographed that no time signals are necessary. In order to move towards this goal, we have decided to remove the minimum time for freestyle routines at the IJRU World Championship level. In our proposed system, if an athlete completes a routine that is under 45 seconds in length, it will be very difficult for them to perform enough skills to reach a score higher than an athlete who performs a routine that is 75 seconds long, especially at a world level. As a result, we don’t believe as though it is necessary to set a minimum time requirement. This will also allow us to remove time call-outs midway through the routine, which can detract from the overall performance and professionalism of the sport.

That being said, athletes can still receive a time violation in freestyle events by continuing to perform after the maximum time limit of 75 seconds. All athletes will be required to submit a music file that does not exceed 75 seconds in length. This way, if an athlete continues to perform after their music has stopped, a time violation will be awarded. The music track should act as the time track in all freestyle routines. If a music track is longer than 75 seconds and the athlete continues to perform after 75 seconds, this will also result in a time violation. It will be up the athletes and coaches to ensure that all music tracks do not exceed 75 seconds.

A time violation can also be awarded for a false start during a freestyle routine. An example would be if an athlete begins to move to perform their routine before the music starts. Because the music track is acting as the timing track, any movement prior to the music will be considered a false start and the athlete will receive a time violation deduction. All time violations will be awarded the same deduction as one mistake.

This rule may not apply to the Youth or Open tournaments, because routine lengths and music requirements may be different. We are still in the process of developing the Youth and Open tournament rules.

Required Elements

Next week on the blog, we will be diving into the specific details surrounding required elements, but today we will briefly introduce the topic and discuss how they will be assessed by the deduction judges. Required elements are used to ensure that routines are dynamic and they also encourage athletes to become well-rounded freestyle jumpers. Essentially, athletes will be required to perform a certain number of multiples, power/gymnastics skills, rope manipulations, partner interactions, and turner involvement skills. The required elements will vary slightly depending on the event. For each required element that is not successfully completed during a routine the athlete(s) will receive a deduction from their raw score. FISAC-IRSF awarded points each time a required element was completed, in addition to the difficulty and presentation of the skill. We believe that since these skills already receive points to related to their difficulty level and how well they are performed, required elements should not earn additional points. Instead, failure to complete a required element will result in a deduction from the total raw score. The exact amount that will be deducted has not been determined at this point.

Community Commentary

If a team of 5 enters the Single Rope Team Overall category and nominates 2 team members to compete in the Single Rope Pairs Double Unders and/or Single Rope Pairs Freestyle - can 2 of the remaining 3 team members compete in either/both of those events individually?

Yes. If there are members of a team not competing in a specific event for their team (ie Single Rope Pairs Freestyle, Single Rope Pairs Double Unders 2x30, Double Dutch Singles Freestyle, Double Dutch Speed 1x60), they can compete in that individual event as long as they qualified. Only those entered into the overall category will impact the placement of the overall teams. This means the placements of event specialists will be removed from the field in order to tabulate the overall champions.

We have received a lot of positive feedback in relation to the event selection for the 2020 IJRU Wold Championships that were announced a few weeks ago. That being said, we have received some concerns, primarily in relation to the Triple Under event being included in the Individual Overall category. The concern is that this event is “inherently harmful for the athletes” and that we shouldn’t be asking athletes to compete to “a state of complete exhaustion.”

The Technical Congress is aware that Triple Unders used to be part of the Masters overall event in previous FISAC-IRSF tournaments and was removed as a result of complaints from some coaches, athletes, and parents that the event was harmful to the body and put unnecessary stress on the athlete’s joints. We take the health and safety of all athletes very seriously and are in the process of looking into medical studies that have been conducted specifically on the Triple Under event in order to help guide our decision making. One particular study focuses on the issue of incontinence. We also recommended to the IJRU Board of Directors that they study the potential health/safety issues associated with all events, not just Triple Unders. We believe that it is important that we gather empirical data to help make these decisions, rather than rely solely on anecdotal information. We do not have conclusive data to show that the Triple Under event causes more injuries than any other event in the sport of jump rope/rope skipping. Eventually, we would like the IJRU to create a database that records all jump rope related injuries. This will allow us to see when/how our athletes are being injured and will help the organization develop solutions and educational materials that can be shared with athletes and coaches. 

It is also important to note, that some athletes and countries have continued to compete the triple under event. With proper training and conditioning, some of the potential risks associated with this event, and others, can be avoided. For example, it is important that athletes competing at a high level engage in cross-training and weight training in order to develop strong enough muscles to support their joints. This is something the IJRU could help educate coaches and athletes around.

The Technical Congress also believes that many sports test athletes to the point of exhaustion. For example, running a marathon is meant to test the limits of human endurance. Our athletes already compete to a state of exhaustion in most events. In other sports, athletes are tested to their limits. For example, weight lifting, high jump, and a number of track events ask athletes to continue until they can’t go any further. We don’t believe as though the Triple Under event is any different from other sporting events. Pushing the limits of human capability is one aspect of competitive sports, and we don’t think this alone is a legitimate reason to remove the Triple Under event from the overall category.

Finally, it is important to remember that the events that have been announced are only for those competing in the World Championships. We have not announced events for the Youth or Open tournaments. In order to take into consideration long term athlete development, we may modify some events (i.e. length, skill) in order to help encourage healthy physical development.

Until next week,
The IJRU Technical Congress

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