Beginner, amatuer, Pro?

I was just wondering what qualifies someone to say they are a beginner, amateur, or pro or even possibly a master thrower?
Perhaps someone ask you this question while your yo-yoing in public. Perhaps you just want to know where you are level wise. Just something I started thinking about. Now its been about 6 1/2 months maybe close to 7 months for me. So if I was asked, “hey, how good are you at yo-yoing” or something similar to that, I usually answer. “well I have only been practicing for about 6 months now. So I would guess I’m a beginner.”
So basically I am wondering at what point in your hobby, lifestyle, career do you say to yourself, Man, I’m finally a professional yoyoer. Or sweet, I’m no longer a beginner. This is just something that came to my mind as I would like to know how much progress it takes or depending on the tricks you can do will change you from a beginner yoyoer, to an advanced/amateur yoyoer?

I kind of see it slightly different. Sure, you have your “beginner” stage but I feel like there’s another stage missing in between that can last through the entire career of throwing which I would refer to as the “yoyo enthusiast” where one is still learning something new, giving to the community and overall just throwing just to enjoy it.

I honestly don’t know if I’ll actually go up and compete but I’m still going to continue to throw just because it relaxes me, allows me to get creative and of course that sense of accomplishment when landing a trick I’ve been trying to learn. In the end I see myself not quite a beginner but an enthusiast, perhaps an amateur as I’m not paid or sponsored.

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When I was first starting out, I used to identify my skill level by beginner, intermediate, or advanced. I’m a little over 2 years into this whole yo-yoing thing, so I’d say that I’m an “Advanced” player. You’re not necessarily a pro until you’re sponsored. Here’s a vid for a better idea:


It’s difficult when you are talking to random person on the street.
I’ve been yoyoing for real, for about 5 months and random people will tell me that I should go to contests. This is only because they havn’t seen the skill level of those people at the contests and they think the matrix combo I just did was cool.

So I usually tell them I’m not that great, but I would say I’m past beginner.
Sometimes I think we forget how hard it can be just to get a good throw.
Even a solid breakaway takes some practice. The average person on the street probably can’t do that yet, so to them, I am good.

I’d consider myself an amateur personally. Been throwing for a few years so I’m obviously past the beginners stage, but compared to most sponsored ‘pros’ I’ve got a long way to go… and compared to the guys at the top like Zach, Janos, Gentry, Iori etc… I’m still a complete n00b. :stuck_out_tongue:

Still, practice makes perfect and all that jazz. Taking life one bind at a time. 8)

“Pro” only means they are making money at doing it, it does not entail a mastery of the craft.

my rough layout goes something like this…

I would rank Beginner as someone who is working on mastering the absolute basics. Sleeper, Walk the dog, Rock the baby, etc.

I would say an Amateur would be beyond the basics and starting to get snazzy with it. Maybe moving to unresponsive (if 1A is goal) and breakways become the norm, string play becomes part of it. Sequences instead of single tricks.

I would put Advanced in there when things like Spirit Bomb start showing up.

And Expert is someone who can do the entire trick ladder with any yoyo for the most part. Someone who may compete, look for sponsorship, or something like that.

I dunno.just my thoughts.

What he said…
IMO if someone says they are pro it means they make a good amount of money at it.
A “Master” would be a OG that has been around a while, knows and can pick up new tricks / concepts easily.

This is really a difficult question. Honestly in my opinion, there isn’t actually a clear set list or requirements that you have to finish that determines your skill level. I think that everyone has their own unique style that puts them at their own skill level :smiley:

Hm. Good question. Heres my little chart here, but let me also let you know that skill is irrelevant. Yoyo for fun not for popularity!

Beginner: Basic sleeper - Matrix/Buddha’s Revenge/Kwyjibo

Intermediate: Approaching tricks like Spirit Bomb and White Buddha

Advanced: Starting to make own concepts. Learned some or all master tricks on YYE

Pro: Making own tricks. Developing own style. Maybe competed once or twice?

Master: Sponsored and/or competing. Picks up concepts very easily.

Well Pro means you’re sponsored :stuck_out_tongue: Beginner means you’re beginning. Amateur is in between.

This is mainly a question only you can answer though.

Sponsored does not necessarily mean you are pro, trust me.

Professional, your profession. If you’re pro doesn’t that mean you’re sponsored? Not in the sense that, “Woah, you’re pro at that!”

If that’s the kinda pro you mean then I gotcha.

I’m kind of with Someone in this, pro means you are sponsored. I’m certain there are pros who are not experts or masters, but, I’ve not seen them. That being said, I think you can be an expert while being an amateur (non-sponsored).

Amateur is basically the same as “hobbyist” or “enthusiast”, the opposite of professional which is basically being paid (money or goods). Skill doesn’t matter.
Beginner is basically someone who is beginning something, I would see it in regards of time not skill.
When it’s about skill, I think it suits better to say “rookie, intermediate, expert” rather than pros, amateur, or beginner.

i don’t think it makes any difference what you call yourself. when do you ever need to call yourself any of that stuff? when does anyone ever ask you where you fall on the spectrum of yo-yo experience or success? if someone asks whether “i’m good” at yo-yoing, i just show them a trick. something i think they’ll like, and let that be my answer.

like i’ve been playing yo-yo for a pretty long time, have been on trading cards, have been sponsored, competed, get paid… the little title under my name says “professional”, but in terms of how much there is to learn, most days i still feel like a beginner (which is precisely why i still love playing yo-yo).

those titles, to me, are kind of arbitrary and pointless. maybe at this point you’ve been playing for an hour or maybe twenty years. there’s still a lifetime of experience to be gained regardless, and yet the only trick that will ever be real to you is the one you’re throwing down NOW.

i dunno. other people might try to put you in this box or that box, but it’s yo-yoing. just be a yo-yo player.


That was an excellent point. Thanks Ed. I think my question has been answered and I’m satisfied with what I’ve been told. To be a yoyo player is what I am. And what I will always be. Thank you again for your in depth answer.

I noticed recently that it’s just so hard to even classify skill levels. I have a friend who can’t do Plastic Whip or Cold Fusion but is a master of fingerspins. I have another friend who’s great with slacks, including double slacks, but he can’t do spirit bomb nor most of the advanced tricks on YYE. I think the traditional way of classifying, i.e. where you are on the trick ladder determines your skill level, is no longer relevant. Like ed said, we’re all yoyo players and we don’t need any labeling, especially not in an art as complex as this. :slight_smile:

Actually there was one time when I’m having a debate with my country’s nats contest organizer about this. Basically they opened a “beginner division” to get new players join up, and I think it’s a good idea. However there was no clear definition of what is a beginner and what isn’t, which was pretty much my entire argument. It ended up unresolved (in my point of view) though the division was still opened as it is and I haven’t seen any problem as of yet.

In the yoyo world I wouldn’t even put the “good amount” of money tag on it. If you make any money, technically you are a professional.