If you have never played with a yo-yo, it can be quite a challenge to master the yo-yo. We recommend starting with a responsive yo-yo , as these types of yo-yos are easier to use. This is our step-by-step guide to your first (responsive) yo-yo. After this tutorial you can do the first three yo-yo tricks!
We asked Alexander Noot to make a video in which all steps are followed. It's up to you whether you want to learn it via video or text:
1. Place the yo-yo string around the yo-yo
If there is already a string on the yo-yo, this step can be skipped
It's tempting to twist the yo-yo halves away from each other to attach the rope. This is really not advised because when the yo-yo is closed again, there is a chance that the string between the yo-yo and the ball bearing will get stuck. As a result, the string can break off during yo-yoing, with all its consequences!
Steps to attach a yo-yo string to the yo-yo:
- Grab the end of the string where the yo-yo will hang (this is the side where there is no loop yet, the loop is the side where your finger will go).
- Roll the string counterclockwise to enlarge the loop
- Hold the loop in place with two fingers
- Put the loop around the yo-yo
- Turn the yo-yo clockwise
- Now the yo-yo is ready to be used.
2. Adjust the yo-yo string to the correct length
It is important not to play with too long a yo-yo string. With a string that is too long, you can accidentally hit the ground.
Steps for adjusting the yo-yo rope
- Fully unroll the yo-yo or rope and make sure the yo-yo just touches the ground.
- Keep your arm straight and determine the correct length of the rope, often at the level of the navel
- Knot a new loop at the desired height (see next picture how to make a loop)
- Cut off the excess end of the rope
To make the loop at the end where your finger goes, follow these steps:
3. Attach the yo-yo string to your finger using a 'slipknot'
A yo-yo string often already has a knotted loop as shown in the previous picture. You would think you should put your finger through this and start yo-yoing. However, you will find that this loop will be too big or too small for your finger. That is why there is a handy way to make an adjustable loop, so that the string is always just right. This adjustable loop is also known as a 'slipknot'.
You can make such an adjustable loop by pulling the rope through the knotted loop. You do that like this:
When you now put your finger through this slipknot you will notice that the adjustable loop pulls itself tight. The right finger and place on the finger to hold your yo-yo is a personal preference, we cannot give advice on this. But a good starting point is the second phalanx of your middle finger (of your dominant hand).
4. Wrap the yo-yo rope around the yo-yo
Because there is a ball bearing in modern yo-yos, you will notice that the string turns with the movement of your hand. To avoid this, you can use the method below.
Steps to wrap a yo-yo rope around the yo-yo
- Hold the rope that is close to the yo-yo between your finger and the yo-yo
- Roll the rope around the axle/ball bearing of the yo-yo
- After twisting a few times, you can release your finger
- Now roll up the yoyo all the way
The yo-yo is now ready to be used!
5. Holding the yo-yo correctly and your first (correct) yo-yo throw
One of the most important skills a yo-yoer needs to develop is a good throw. To be able to throw the yo-yo with a good speed, it is important that you hold the yo-yo properly. Because you will soon learn that you always throw with the palm up, instead of facing the ground, you should hold the yo-yo as shown in the picture below.
Now that you know how to hold the yo-yo, it's time for your first throw. You throw the yo-yo away from you, so the string should always go to the yo-yo from above, see the picture above for clarification.
Steps for a good yo-yo throw:
- Hold the yo-yo in your palm with the string at the top (as shown in the picture above)
- Bring your yo-yo hand towards your ear
- Extend your arm straight out
- Let the yo-yo roll out of your hand (try to keep the yo-yo as straight as possible when it rolls out of your hand)
- Turn your hand over (palm facing the floor)
- Give your hand a subtle tug to get the yo-yo back up.
In this video, Gentry Stein explains how to do a good yo-yo throw.
Practice the throw a few times until you get the hang of it. Can you control this toss? Then you can get started practicing tricks!
Trick #1: The Sleeper
To perform the sleeper trick, start in the same way as the yo-yo throw you just learned. The difference is in the force with which you throw the yo-yo down. Instead of tugging the yo-yo once it reaches the end of the rope, let the yo-yo rest at the bottom of the rope. This is also called 'sleeping' or sleeping. Make sure the yo-yo hangs straight so that the yo-yo keeps rolling. If you notice that the yo-yo is not rolling smoothly, it is possible that the throw was not strong enough or that the yo-yo did not roll straight out of your hand. Finally, bring the yo-yo back up by giving the rope a slight tug. When you manage to put the yo-yo to sleep for 5 seconds, and then get it back up in your hand, you've officially done your first trick!
Trick #2: Walk the dog
To perform the Walk the Dog trick, you must control the sleeper . Throw the yo-yo in a strong sleeper and let the yo-yo tap the ground. If the yo-yo touches the ground while spinning, this causes the yo-yo to walk forward, as it were. Just like walking a dog!
Trick #3: Rock the baby
To perform the Rock the Baby trick, first let the yo-yo sleep as normal. Then grab the rope in the middle with the hand that is free. Now take the hand that the yo-yo is attached to and squeeze the yo-yo rope about 3 inches above the yo-yo itself. Now take the other hand and bring that hand down, creating a triangle with the yo-yo in between. The yo-yo can now move back and forth. Rock the yo-yo (move back and forth) a few times and drop the yo-yo into a sleeper. Finally, raise the yo-yo to complete the trick.
Success? Congratulations! You can now officially do your first three yo-yo tricks!
Bonus tip 1: 'String tension' or rope tension
To be able to perform yo-yo tricks properly, your yo-yo rope needs the correct tension. If the yo-yo rope is too tight, it will wrap around itself and that will have an adverse effect on your game. If the rope is not stretched tight enough, the rope will also wrap around itself and the yo-yo may even come loose from the rope.
How does yo-yo string tension arise?
Each time you throw your yo-yo, you twist the rope a little more in a specific direction. For a right-handed person, the rope often becomes tighter, for a left-handed person it loosens.
What to do against yo-yo string tension?
You can tell if a rope is too tight or not tight enough by looking at the direction of rotation of the yo-yo. You do this by letting the yo-yo hang still at the bottom of the rope. You can tell from the direction of rotation of the yo-yo whether there is too much or too little tension on the rope. If the yo-yo rotates counterclockwise, the tension is too high.
You can solve yo-yo string tension by grabbing the yo-yo and letting go/hang the rope. This will allow the rope to recover on its own. He turns himself back.
When should you replace a yo-yo string?
The more often you play with a yo-yo, the more often you have to replace the string of the yo-yo. It differs per own preference and quality of the string when it needs to be replaced. If you occasionally grab the yo-yo, you can use the string for months, but if you play intensively, your string may need to be replaced sooner. A piece of string should last at least 12 hours of intensive play.
Bonus tip 2: A trick to get your yo-yo rolled up again in no time
If you regularly play with the yo-yo, you know how annoying it can be to roll up the yo-yo again after playing. It takes you a long time to do it, but it can also be done faster! Roll up your yo-yo in no time by following these steps:
- Take the index and middle fingers of the free hand and make a V
- Place the yo-yo string between the index and middle fingers and place these fingers on either side of the yo-yo
- Hold the yo-yo tight and pull the rope tight
- Let the yo-yo roll out of your fingers to make it spin
- Catch the yo-yo
It takes some practice, but once you get the hang of it, this is the fastest way to roll up a yo-yo. Here's Gentry Stein again to show it off:
And now further..?
You have now mastered assembling the yo-yo and can perform three tricks, but what next? Learn more tricks of course! We have even more yo-yo tricks to learn here.
There is also an app to learn how to yo-yo. This app also keeps track of which tricks you have already learned. The app is available here for Android and here for Apple . You can also search the app stores for 'Level Up! - Yoyo'
Have you already mastered playing with the responsive yo-yo and are you looking for even more challenge? Then the next step is an unresponsive yo-yo read more about the difference between responsive and non-responsive yo-yos .
Did you miss something in this manual or was something wrong? Let us know in the comments below!