You are currently viewing Sacha’s quest to see skipping soar
Sacha Willetts will be skipping in Australia for the Queensland State Championships later this month. PHOTO: KELLEY TANTAU

Sacha’s quest to see skipping soar

It’s always an awkward conversation when Sacha Willetts tries to explain away her latest jump rope injury.
Doctors and physios look at her quizzingly when she says “skipping” is the cause of her ailment, and she does everything aside from pulling out her phone to show them videos of her impressive leaps to convince them skipping is an actual sport.
“We just don’t know it exists in New Zealand,” she says. “There’s no progression, there’s no coaches, and there are negative connotations around the term ‘skipping’.”
Sacha, 38, says skipping – or jump rope – is often thought of solely as a schoolyard game, when in reality, it is a “highly athletic and globally recognised sport on the verge of being added to the Olympics”.

The Thames woman has been partaking in the sport for almost two years and will be on her way to Australia for the Queensland State Championships later this month. 
Closer to home, she wants skipping as a sport to snowball. 
“I would just love to see the day when we have a New Zealand team going to world champs,” she tells The Profile. “There are a few hurdles to get to before we get to that – we don’t have a national federation, we don’t have membership to the international jump rope union – so even if we did have a team, at the moment we couldn’t compete internationally.”
Sacha’s foray into the high-flying sport started in 2021, after the Instagram algorithm showed her a video of someone using a rope in a unique way. 
“It was something I’d never seen before,” she says, “and that led me down a rabbit hole of this jump rope community and I found this amazing, really supportive, really talented group of people online.” 

Sacha Willetts is hoping to see the sport of skipping snowball in New Zealand. PHOTO: KELLEY TANTAU

After watching from afar, Sacha created her own online skipping page and contacted Australian world champion Luke Boon, who is now her coach.
“I wasn’t sure if I wanted a coach because I was fine just bumbling along, and Luke had a very different style to what I saw myself doing.”
A competitive style, she explains, is far different than the style of a freestyle Instagram jumper.
“I actually originally unfollowed him on Instagram because he was too good. He was so far away from where I saw myself going with jump rope, but I contacted him, did one lesson with him, and just from that one lesson, I learned so much.”
The president of Queensland Skipping later reached out to Sacha and asked if she wanted to head across the Tasman “to see how a competition works”.
Then, Sacha was given a nudge to compete.
“At first, I was like: ‘No, I cannot’, but they’ve created a category called recreational which is pointed at people like me,” she says.
“That in itself will be a challenge. Nerves are going to be a really big thing for me.”
Sacha will have to perform a 60 second routine put to music, and will be judged on her skills and presentation.
She has skipped with other jumpers in New York, London, and Brussels, but coming home to New Zealand, she is hopeful she’ll see the non-existent sport one day bloom.
She has recently run classes with kids around 8-9 years of age, and will do another free class for children and adults this month.
It’s a sport for all ages, genders, and abilities, she says.
“My whole outlook on exercise, fitness, body image – everything has changed since I found jump rope. I used to be very focused on gym work, going for long runs, and as a woman, we always have hang-ups on our body, but jump rope has changed the way that I exercise,” she says.
“It’s my main form of exercise now – I can be out there for hours and I don’t care so much about what my body looks like. I’m more concerned with what it’s able to do.”
DETAILS: Sacha’s free ‘give it a go’ sessions will take place at the Jack McLean Centre in Thames on April 16; 1pm for adults and 2pm for kids. Her Term 2 kids classes start on April 30. To follow Sacha’s state championship journey, visit or find her on Instagram: @sachaskips