Kristen Bork: Competitor to Coach
Kristen Bork has grown up around jump roping her whole life. She started competing in the AAU Junior Olympic Games 11 years ago and hasn't missed one since. She competed for nine years as an athlete and for the past two years, she has taken the knowledge she gained during competition to the sidelines as a coach.
Currently, she is a coach with the Kangaroo Kids, a Precision Jump Rope Team from Howard County, Maryland. Bork said that it feels weird to be at the AAU Junior Olympic Games and not compete.
"Just being here coaching I’m just getting the same feelings watching the jumpers go on the floor [same as competing]," she said. "It’s really cool being here at the AAU Junior Olympic Games because just for jump rope we have teams from all over the country and we even have some international teams here. So it’s a really great opportunity to really meet jumpers from other teams and really get to know them. It’s really cool and there’s so many different things like even just watching the double dutch right now, you get ideas from seeing the other jumpers and it’s kind of cool what we can learn from other people."
Transitioning from athlete to coach has been difficult for Bork, but also rewarding.
"It’s been hard in the sense that I love jump roping and if I could I would run out on the floor right now and start jump roping because I just love it so much," she commented. "At the same time it’s kind of cool watching and helping coach. This is my eleventh year here at the AAU Junior Olympic Games and I’ve been doing this for so long so I know this competition like the back of my hand – I know all of the events, I know all the strategies for how to do them and it’s been really cool to share that with a lot of the newer jumpers. Then to see them take it and run with it and grow. It’s been easy in a sense that I already know what I’m doing but hard because I’m not the one jumping. It’s equally if not more rewarding watching them jump as a coach."
She says the hardest thing about jump roping is how few competitions and time you have to show off your skills on the court.
"It’s really exciting because you work all year for these couple events," she explained. "And the hard part about jump roping is you work all year and you can get your event perfect every time, but the only minute that counts is the minute that you’re on the floor. It’s really exciting because you’ve worked so hard for it but it’s extremely nerve wracking at the same time because this is your shot. So if you go out there and you have a couple misses, it’s kind of frustrating."
When her team does falter, Bork says the best advice she can give to her team is "to just stay positive." She believes that having a positive attitude will really help during competition. She also wholeheartedly believes that you should enjoy your sport, otherwise it's not worth it.
"I think also just to keep jumping, it’s really easy to get frustrated but just have fun," she said. "If a sport isn’t fun for you anymore then it’s kind of not what it’s meant to be. I think this should be a fun competition as well as a challenging one. So I think you should find that balance between fun and work."
After two days of competition, the Kangaroo Kids have collected a total of 11 gold, 18 silver and 12 bronze medals. Congratulations to the Kangaroo Kids and good luck to ALL of our competitors in the rest of the Jump Rope competition at the 2014 AAU Junior Olympic Games!
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