Yo-yo Tricks

The yo-yo has been around since the time of the Ancient Greeks. It was a man in more recent times by the name of Donald F. Duncan who made the simple yo-yo the vast success story that it is today!

Triple Action Yo2 available from Jugglingworld

String Length The string should be about the length from your stomach to the floor. If you need to cut the string, leave a few extra inches at the top as you will need to make your first loop and slipknot!
Slip Knot Not just the name of a popular American band who wear masks! This is the most common knot for attaching the yo-yo string to the middle finger of your favoured hand. First of all, you have to make a loop (most yo-yo’s come with this loop already), then push the string a little through the first loop, so that you have another loop, and this is where your finger goes. You will notice that the first loop by itself will be way too slack, but it is meant to be like that, so you can push another loop through it and therefore customise the pre made yo-yo string to your exact requirements (it’s all very clever)! The yo-yo slipknot should reside somewhere between the first and second knuckle of your finger. A google search will help you find some diagrams if this description is too confusing!
Winding up a Yo-Yo When the yo-yo is at the end of the string, grab one of the yo-yo disks and place your finger over the groove that separates the two discs. Wrap the string once round the yo-yo and over your finger, then on the second and third times round, wrap the string round the yo-yo and underneath the finger, then remove your finger and keep winding up (not too tight). As you reach the top of the string, wrap it a bit tighter round the yo-yo. Finally, when the yo-yo is wound up, do the basic throw and catch (see below) to test the string.
Basic Throw and Catch Wind the yo-yo up. Your palm should be facing upwards with the yo-yo on it. Let the yo-yo fall over the edge of your fingers and once it has left your hand, you can turn your palm over, to prepare for the catch. As the yo-yo hits the bottom of the string, pull the yo-yo up with a sharp wrist movement. It should return to your hand, where you have the choice of catching it, repeating the same move or doing some tricks!

Calvin using a yo-yo (c)
(c) Calvin and Hobbes

!! DANGER !!

Playing with a yo-yo can be a dangerous activity (mainly to onlookers), so please make sure that you have enough room around you to throw the yo-yo in any direction. You definitely do not want to practice too near a glass window, or priceless furniture or even worse, near other people you could accidentally hit!!


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Start in exactly the same way as the basic throw and catch, but as the yo-yo reaches the end of the string, try to soften the impact that the yo-yo feels as it reaches the end of the string. If you can do this properly (it takes a bit of practice), then the yo-yo will stay at the end of the string. You can let it spin for a few seconds and then, with a quick sharp upward flick of the wrist, send the yo-yo back up the string. Try to see how long you can make the yo-yo sleep at the end of the string and still successfully return it to the string.
HAVING TROUBLE SLEEPING!! If the yo-yo doesn’t stay at the bottom of the string then don’t despair! It may be that your string is wound too tight around the axle, or is way too loose. If you let the yo-yo reach the end of the string, you can watch it spinning horizontally. When it spins anti-clockwise, you can see the string getting tighter and when it eventually starts spinning clockwise and you will see it getting looser. You can judge for yourself the best place to stop the spinning and wind the yo-yo up again ready to try another sleeper. Some of the more cheap yo-yo’s don’t have the ability to sleep, so if you are still struggling, then you may want to purchase a slightly more expensive model!

Triple Action Yo2 available from Jugglingworld

More Tricks
Hop the Fence Throw the yo-yo downwards (it doesn’t have to sleep). Instead of catching the yo-yo as it comes back up the string, let it flip over your wrist so it can go down once again. You can repeat this trick again and again, but be warned, depending on the hand the yo-yo is in, the string will either gradually get looser or tighter!
Walk the Dog Throw a sleeper (see above), and then place the yo-yo on the floor as gently as possible and walk along behind the yo-yo as it rolls by itself along the floor!
Forward Pass Throw the yo-yo horizontally in front of you (instead of towards the ground) using a backhand throw. When it comes back, catch the yo-yo with your palm facing upwards. This trick is used to start many moves.
Around the World Make the yo-yo do a full circle! When you have learned the sleeper and forward pass, you can combine both tricks with this move.
Throw a sleeper forward pass. This is when you throw the yo-yo forward (as described in the forward pass) and make it stay spinning at the end of the string. Move your arm in a circle past your head, over your shoulder in a backwards direction to complete a full circle. The yo-yo will follow, remaining asleep at the end of the string. Once a full circle has been completed, give a quick tug on the string to pull the yo-yo back into your hand which is facing palm upwards.
Over the Shoulder Throw a sleeper. Raise your hand to about ear height and put your elbow in front of the string. Drop your hand down and jerk the string so that the yo-yo wakes up from its sleep. It should follow the string back up over your shoulder and into your hand!
Loop the Loop This trick looks great with 2 yo-yos! Make a forward pass. When the yo-yo comes back, don’t catch it. Instead, direct it over your wrist and then back out again repeating the forward pass. This will make it loop. Depending on which hand you use, you either end up tightening or loosening the string with each repetition!
Reverse Loop the Loop This is where you send the yo-yo in the opposite direction with a loop the loop. It’s much harder than you think!
Spaghetti Throw a fast sleeper. Using your free hand, grab the string about halfway down. Now swing your yo-yo hand down and gather up the string using both hands. Hold the spaghetti bunches near your mouth when you have collected plenty. Return the yo-yo to your hand, then rub your stomach ! Performance Idea: as you let go of the string, make a loud slurping noise and the string will look as if it has been swallowed!
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