Peter Nestler is known as the Rope Master.
But you can call him just about anything you want.
“A lot of people just call me the jump rope guy,” said Nestler, who lives in Juneau but travels the world demonstrating his jump roping prowess. “I’m flexible. People never remember my name. They call me ‘the jump rope dude.’ So I just sort of own it.”
But Nestler is a household name in the world of jumping rope.
As a seven-time world champion jump roper with the Juneau Jumpers of Juneau Douglas High School and holder of twelve Guinness Book world records, Nestler is a jump roper extraordinaire and professional motivational speaker.
Juneau Jumpers are members of the United States Amateur Jump Rope Federation and compete at regional, national, and international levels as well as provide entertaining demonstration shows for audiences of all ages. Since the Juneau Jumpers were founded in 1985 it has earned both national and international recognition in the increasingly popular sport of rope jumping.
It wasn’t easy at first. Nestler tried out for the Juneau Jumpers in elementary school but didn’t make the team (read the story about Peter's tryouts.)
“I ended up practicing for a year and I made it,” Nestler said. “During the time I was on the team we won seven world championships,” he said. “I’ve been doing it full time since 1997.”
“When I’m working with middle schoolers or high schoolers or even adults, I try to get them to think differently,” he said. “I try to get them to think in the long term, and a lot of students don’t process that. They think after the first time they do something that, ’I’m either going to be good at this or not.’ But I try to get them to remember that the long term goal is greater than the short term gain.”
He uses himself as an example. Jumping rope did not come naturally to him. But he worked. And worked. And worked. Until he perfected such feats as underwater jump roping.
Even when it comes to motivational speaking, Nestler was not a natural.
“I was a failure at first,” he said. “But you have to make a choice. You have to work hard and be dedicated to achieve your goals. It’s not going to be easy. If you want to do something well and you have the opportunity, you have to apply yourself.”
“I was the shyest kid in school. People said, ‘you don’t like to talk, how can you go into performing?’ The funniest thing you could tell anyone who knew me was that I was going to be a motivational speaker. They’d say, ‘you must be insane.’”
Nestler said that people are impressed with his Guinness world records, but the world championships were harder.
“People understand the Guinness book records, and they sound impressive, but there’s little weight to them,” he said. “The world records are actually easier than winning a world championship.” Nestler trains specifically for each record he is attempting to break for one to three hours a day.
Among his records are: most skips on a unicycle (237); most rope skips while keeping a football in the air in one minute (180); most skips on one foot in 30 seconds (132); fastest mile hopping on one leg and jumping rope (24 minutes, 44 seconds); fastest mile hopping on one leg (18 minutes, 25 seconds); treadmill jumping (he lasted just over eight minutes); fastest 100 meters while hopping and skipping (23.7 minutes); and most skips on stilts in one minute (157).
And then, of course, there are his underwater jump roping feats.
“It took about a year of trial and error to get it right,” he said. “The challenge was how many jumps could I take without taking a breath. Once I had the rope figured out (he had to experiment with several different types of rope) I had to figure out water time and surface time.”
A former soccer player, Nestler was used to running long distances but running itself never appealed to him as an activity. His training regimen includes riding a unicycle, mountain biking and hiking, among other cardio workouts.
“I live on the road full-time,” he said. “I’m constantly traveling but anywhere I’m going I always say, ‘hey, let’s check out this trail.’”
But what he enjoys most about his job is entertaining audiences while motivating them. Nestler is all about helping people to become more comfortable trying new things, staying open to possibilities.
“From a performing standpoint any time you can engage the audience it’s a good thing,” he said. “I’ve got a routine where I bring up six audience members to the stage. You never know what’s going to happen. But I’m all about making sure people feel comfortable while trying new things. Jump roping is just another activity.”
For more information on how to learn to jump rope like Nestler, go to jumpropesecrets.com