As one of the oldest and best-known toymakers, we are experts at what makes a good yo-yo great. But we are more than just a toymaker; we are a team of yo-yo champions and enthusiasts. We have compiled this guide to help you and your child be successful in the sport of yo-yoing. Broken into three parts, you will learn about yo-yo types, yo-yo accessory equipment, and the proper techniques needed. We also have a great video tutorial page to assist you in getting started
What type of yo-yo is right for me?
To get started, you will need to find the perfect yo-yo for your level. Are you a beginner, or do you already know how to make the yo-yo sleep? If you are starting, we recommend a beginner yo-yo with a butterfly shape because of its versatility. Having a butterfly-shaped body allows "string tricks" to be done with ease. These yo-yo's also sleep easier than a non-butterfly yo-yo.
However, if you are under eight years old, we recommend a more traditional rounded shape (non-concave). These yo-yos are usually much more responsive and will help a young child feel successful with the simple up and down tricks. You can make these yo-yo's sleep and complete basic tricks like walk the dog and rock the baby. They are also the primary shape for looping tricks and two-handed yo-yo play.
Now that you know what shape to choose, let us break down why some yo-yo models are beginner and others are advanced. Why do they look similar but are different in cost from $5 vs. $20? The answer to that is, it is the design. To complete intermediate to advance level play, you will need a yo-yo that has long "spin time" and provides a "smooth" feel as you transition through trick movements. Think about it like a car. A beginner or basic yo-yo is like driving an economy car vs. a sports car. The ride is either very bumpy and loud or exceptionally smooth and quiet. The engine power is minimal or is powerful.
What additional equipment will I need?
Now let us talk about yo-yo string, bearings, and other accessories like bearing oil. Half the battle is having the right string and string length. When you are first getting started, we recommend that you cut your string to the waist/belt level. You do that by placing the yo-yo between your feet and holding the string up. If it is slightly below your belt line, do not worry. If it is above the beltline, you need to cut it and tie a knew top loop. You can view how to do that here: Getting Started.
As you practice, you will need to replace the yo-yo string. String becomes dirty, knotted, and loses its bounce. They also eventually break. Replacing a string is up to the user, but we recommend changing it often, especially when it gets dirty. Playing with an old string only prohibits progression in skill level and will usually leave a child frustrated.
Oil is essential too. You will need to add oil every once and a while to the bearing. For example, if your child is playing with the yo-yo for a while and stops coming back up, you may need a little oil. You can learn about this in the tutorial video link above.
Proper Yo-Yo Technique & Coaching
What is the best way of learning? Independently with videos or through actual lessons with a yo-yo professional? Having an in-person coach always makes learning something easier. Private lessons are available via video like Zoom and Facetime if you do not have a local yo-yo club or pro instructor in your area. You can also learn via our online video tutorials.
There are three parts to learning tricks or maneuvers—hand and finger movement, yo-yo positioning and timing, and the actual string/trick pattern. If you are not able to get a trick, you need to step back and troubleshoot. Are you doing all three parts correctly? Is your hand position and starting point correct? Where is your finger placement, and where is the yo-yo supposed to go? If you are learning from a video, watch it in slow motion paying attention to all these areas. If you need additional help, we recommend checking your technique either in person or via video with a yo-yo pro.
For more info and video tutorials on all the above, check out our tutorial page at www.yo-yo.com/tutorials.