Yoyo

One of my hobbies is yoyoing. I like to yoyo while waiting for the bus or when I'm out and about, and have struck up conversations with enough strangers about yoyoing that I've put together an introduction to yoyoing for those who are interested in learning more.

YoYoExpert put together a nice documentary:

FAQ

What kind of yoyo do you use?
I most commonly throw a Horizon or Loop 1080. The Horizon is for string tricks, and the Loop 1080 is for looping tricks. Sometimes I use two Loop 1080s at once.

Where can I get a yoyo?
You can buy some yoyos on Amazon; one major manufacturer is YoYoFactory, and they have an Amazon Page. You can also follow the above links to buy them from YoYoExpert; it's where I buy most of my yoyos and yoyo supplies.

How much do yoyos cost?
It varies. My Horizon cost about $45 and the Loop 1080 is $24. These are mid-range yoyos. The Horizon is made out of machined aluminum whereas the Loop 1080 is plastic with an adjustable gap mechanism.
There are less expensive models that are good for beginners, such as the YoYoFactory ONE or the YoYoFactory Loop 360, which are both $10 on Amazon. If you've never yoyoed before then these will be completely suitable for getting started. In fact, more advanced yoyos can be frustrating for beginners because they require certain techniques to properly use.

What else do I need to yoyo?
Yoyos require some light maintenance. Most commonly, the string wears out. The string should be replaced regularly, well before it is in danger of breaking due to wear.

How do I yoyo?
It depends on what type of yoyoing you're interested in. There are several styles, but beginners essentially all start in the same place: learning how to throw a strong sleeper (yoyo spinning at the end of the string) so that you can build up to more complicated tricks.

Styles of Yoyoing

To many people, yoyoing entails simple tricks like "walk the dog" or "rock the baby". The current state of yoyoing is very sophisticated; modern yoyos are high-performance skill toys, often made from machined aluminum and built around a ball-bearing to increase spin times. As the technology has changed, so has the sport itself; tricks have become complex and there are at least five distinct styles of yoyoing, all with strikingly unique aesthetics.

There are several styles of yoyoing. Modern competitive play typically revolves around five main styles, although there are variants and new innovations continue to develop.

1A - String Tricks

1A is the most commonly practiced style of yoyoing. It focuses on complex "string tricks" which are often highly technical and require a long-spinning yoyo. Modern 1A players often use unresponsive yoyos which do not return to the hand with a simple tug of the string; instead a "bind" maneuver must be performed to cause the string to begin winding into the yoyo. This allows for more complicated tricks to be performed, and for 1A yoyos to spin for several minutes under the power of one throw.

2A - Looping

2A is the "looping trick" style. 2A tricks are typically less technically complex than 1A, since 2A yoyos are responsive and can spin for only a few seconds before returning to the hand. This responsiveness allows them to be thrown and immediately return in repetitive reciprocating trajectories. 2A -- or "double-A" is often practiced two-handed.

3A - Two-handed 1A

3A is two-handed 1A; this style focuses on complex string tricks performed with two long-spinning yoyos. Since 1A tricks typically require the use of both hands, 3A tricks differ greatly from 1A.

4A - Off-string

4A or "off-string" yoyoing is a style where the yoyo is disconnected from the string. The yoyo is thrown into the air and caught on the string, and a special maneuver is used to cause the string to wind into the yoyo to return it to the hand. Being disconnected from the string, the yoyo may be cast into the air and caught.

5a - Counterweight

5A or "counterweight" yoyoing is a style where the yoyo is not connected to the hand. Typically a 1A-style yoyo is used, and a counterwise is attached to the end of the string opposite the yoyo. This allows for complex string-tricks, while also enabling new possibilities .

Links

  • YoyoExpert sells yoyos and hosts several tutorial series for learning new tricks. The company carries a large variety of yoyos made by all of the major manufacturers and has as a tutorial section that provides newcomers with a good basis for getting into the sport.
  • YoYoTricks.com focuses more on instructing new players, with numerous videos on individual tricks as well as yoyo maintenance and reviews. They carry a limited selection of yoyos which are selected as their top recommendations for each play style.
  • How to silicone a yoyo is a tutorial showing how to use flowable silicone sealant to replace the response system in modern yoyos.

More Videos

János Karancz

János is a Hungarian yoyoer whose style features technically sophisticated slack elements.

Ed Haponik

Ed Haponik is an experienced yoyoer who embarked on a self-posed challenge to spend a year playing only with a primitive wooden yoyo. As a result of this he has developed a very interesting style.

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