Beginners Journey

I am hoping this will be a documentation of our Adventure.

I am the Father of a 9-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter.

In October, we were at Zion National Park in Utah. The kids found some Wooden Yoyos at a souvenir shop that they wanted. Bought them, and showed them how to start playing.

It was great to see the kids doing something other than being on electronics. “String Time not Screen Time” was born.

Flash Back: The year was 2008. I was at the Mall of America in Minnesota while visiting family. Ran across a toy store, Air Traffic (Thanks for the name jhb8426) and saw an employee playing with a Yoyo in a way I had never seen before. Curiosity peaked, I stopped in and ended up buying a Yoyo Jam Lynn Furry. Found Yoyo expert, started learning the beginner tricks and got a case of “YAD” (Yoyo Acquisition Disorder). Life then happened; Job Changed, Got Married, Bought a House, had kids…

Once we returned home from Zion, I found my old Yoyo box. All the yoyos in the box were unresponsive (I had never learned to bind, struggled with it back in the day). So what I had saved, was not going to help on this current endeavor.

Started researching “Beginner Yoyos”, a lot has changed in the last decade. Ultimately I had decided on getting the three of us the Yoyo Factory Arrow. I found my way to Yoyo Factory’s website and placed a order.

When the box arrived, I was super excited, the kids too. When I opened the box, it was not what I had ordered (Bummer). This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Instead of 3 Arrow yoyos, It was one of their beginner sets containing a Spinstar, One and a Arrow.

The kids wanted to start playing right away. I couldn’t let them at that time until the issue was resolved with Yoyo Factory. Customer Service was spot on, Mr. Ben replied to my email meer minutes after submitting my issue on their website. Ultimately I bought the kit they sent and they would send out my original order.

Initial Yoyo Review;

Spinstar - Great starter, My son was bored with it fairly quickly. But my daughter loves it. As a true beginner yoyo, this is great.

One - My son loves this yoyo. It has a longer spin time than the spin star, but doesnt seem to be stable for him yet. My guess is that as he gets better with his throw, thing will get better.

Arrow - I am enjoying this yoyo. Good spin times, seems fairly stable on a good throw. Working on Front Style Tricks right now (Stop & Go and Brain Twister). My Daughter also really enjoys this yoyo when she is not playing with the Spinstar. My son has not showed much intrest with this one, seems content with the One Currently.

My “YAD” has returned in full force. I have bought quite a few Yoyos over the last couple of weeks (Mostly Here on Yoyo Expert). Other beginner/responsive yoyos and unresponsive. I still need to learn to bind.

As we progress, I will update this thread.

Currently the Deal with the Kids: Get through the Yoyo Expert 16 Beginner Tricks and I will get them a Beginner Metal Yoyo (Thinking the DV888 so they can continue responsive, then upgrade to unresponsive when ready).

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Very nice!

This thread is worth tracking and a bookmark.

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Great story! Pretty sure the Arrow can take a large C bearing to play unresponsive. The DV888 is pretty heavy for its size and I would be scared to let a child play with it responsive. The new Snapback from Yoyo Expert may be a better and cheaper way to go.

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Wonderful story and thanks for sharing! Hopefully the kids hold onto the interest. Show them some YouTube video from some of the competitions. There are a lot of great role models on IG if they are on that platform. Gentry Stein does a lot of cool beginner stuff all the way through the more complicated high end tricks. There is so much great content to be consumed.

Good luck with the journey!!

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Humble Pie:

My Son has ADHD and is Dyslexic. An amazing combination. The amazing part is the Hyper Focus he can get into. All or Nothing. When he is in this zone it is a sight to be seen.

The other night we are working on “String Time”. He had watched a You Tube Video on the Elevator.

“Dad, watch, This is the Elevator.” Poor kid was struggling throwing front style but trying to do the elevator from the side.

“Can I help you with that?”-me
“Nope, I know how to do it”-him

After several unsuccessful attempts…

“I can’t do it.”-him
“Can I show you a couple of hints”-me
“Ok”-him

I then proceeded to explain how the string needed to stay in the same plane as the yoyo gap. Which he couldn’t see nor maintain with his side-style line-up. Keeping the yoyo in front of him and the strings lined up was the key he was missing.

Maybe 2 throws later he finally did one - Success!

“I can do the Elevator! I am going to check the box.”-Him
“You have done 1 Elevator, can you do it successfully any time you want?”-me
“Not yet”-him
“We need to keep practicing”-me

I was also able to point out that he still needed to work on practicing his sleeper. Having a good strong sleeper was the key to all the front-style tricks.

We had a great conversation after that about practice and persistence.

“Never give up, Never Surrender”-me (I made that mistake a decade ago… I surrendered)

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Mr. Chris,

Thank you for the reply. Unbeknownst to them, they both will be receiving a Snapback in about a week and a half.

I will however owe them a Metal Yoyo in the future if they keep up their end of the deal.

The Arrows did come with an unresponsive C bearing.

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Shwa,

Social Media Platforms are currently not a thing we allow for our kids.

We are using YouTube and Yoyo Expert though. I have shown my Son some of Mr. Steins videos.

I like Mr. Steins outlook and passion. His message of hard work and persistence is one of the contributing factors to this adventure.

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I love this thread, and really look forward to hearing the updates on yours, and your kids progress. Also cant wait to see the first trick videos coming in of the 3 of you syncronizingsome tricks =]

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I’m enjoying this thread.

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That would be Air Traffic. They have 4 stores in the area, all at major malls

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Yes Sir. That was the name. Thank You.

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Progress;

Daughter has lost her Spinstar and Commandeered my Arrow. So I shortened the string on it to fit her.

Was kind of funny when I grabbed it off the shelf, gave it a throw thinking it was normal length for me, and it wasnt. Came back in a hurry.

She is working on learning Rock the Baby. Wants to show her Uncle at the upcoming holliday celebrations.

She is the one out of the two that seems to be grabbing the yoyos almost on a daily basis. She is super content just throwing Gravity Pulls and Sleepers. I am kind of envious, she definitely embodies “make the simple amazing” in her own little world.

My son was working on the Forward Pass. Finally worked out the timing and was having a lot of fun. Showed him Around the World. He didnt put the yoyo down until he got it.

We are heading in the right direction I think. Around the World was not a “One and Done” like previous sessions. He stuck with it.

Today, he took his Yoyo to the Mall with us. Proud Father moment when he took it out and started playing. Had to coach on when and where it was acceptable to play. He was continuing his Around the Worlds, stepping up to a Double before the catch. I didnt want to deal with “Accidentally” hitting an innocent bystandard. The “Guilty” ones would probably deserve it…?

He did pull off a quadruple Around the world with catch. He was so proud.

I, myself, have been working on Stop & Go along with Brain Twister. Brain Twister continues to be a challenge with a responsive yoyo. One misalignment and its over.

I think this is where the comment “Responsive practice makes your tricks smoother.” Comes from. I am not to sure about this statement. I am finding that it is making me more accurate and pay attention more.

The learning curve seems a little steeper with this. I would imagine a unresponsive gap width would make it easier to pull off.

I did pick up a Replay Pro. Finally started learning front side binds. Its not pretty yet, but I can get the yoyo back.

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Nice.

I enjoyed timing my sleepers. I only counted times if I got it to return to my hand.

The other time I was impressed with my self was going from loop the loop into an around the world.

Your stories are stirring old memories.

Thanks

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Glad you are enjoing it.

Timing “Complete Sleepers” sounds like a great idea. Could be a fun “Game” that would only aid progression into other tricks.

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I also have ADHD and a mild form of dyslexia. I definitely understand the hyper focus. I picked up a yoyo for the first time since the 90s back 6 or 7 months ago and the hyper focus set in. I have always been very fidgety and skill toys seem to provide me a needed outlet. I hope your son catches the bug and sticks with it. It has been great for me. The continuous failures learning a new trick, then to finally get it, its a rush each time. It is definitely addictive and a constant feeling of accomplishment.

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“Also can’t wait to see the first trick videos coming in of the 3 of you syncronizingsome tricks =]”- bheinz63

Had a great “String Time” session last night. Son was in one of his focus zones.

“Dad, can you teach me the Jamaican Flag?”-him
“Yes Sir”-me

This was one of the quickest tricks he has picked up yet.

“I am going to go show Mom”-him

Once he showed her, I suggested we do a tandem one.

“Can we record a video of us doing it”-him
“Yes”-Mom
“I am going to post it on YouTube”-him
“We will discuss that later”-me

The next half hour was spent trying to coordinate a Tandame Jamaican Flag. While recording each failure. Not going to lie, it was fun.

We never really got it. But it made me think of the post mentioned above. New realization: We have a long way to go before this request becomes a reality. Challenge accepted though.

My carrot on the Stick (Metal Yoyo) seems to be working. My son has worked through half of the beginner list. He is checking them off one by one on the card we received from Yoyo Expert. I did make a modification to the list - Robin Hood instead of Creeper - I don’t see the Creeper being incremental in the trick progression. Isn’t Walk the Dog enough?

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Hey Cody! Thanks for the update here, filming failures is like 95% of filming yoyo videos (the other 5% watching back your one “clean” take and realizing it wasnt so clean). Its awesome that your boy seems to be picking it up so fast! hopefully he sticks with the hobby, its great for physical coordination

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Spreading the Joy of “String Time”

So I may or may not have bought 10 Snapbacks when they dropped last month. I thought it would be a great opportunity for this holiday season.

Eight of the Snapbacks purchased have been gifted out along with 10 extra Yoyo Expert Strings each.

All the nieces and nephews received a yoyo and strings. Not only was it a hit for the “Littles” but it was also a hit with the parents. Here is a gift that does not have to be charged/batteries, needs connected to WiFi, and best of all; didn’t make a bunch of annoying sounds.

I was proud of my Littles, for taking the time to teach their cousins the basics.

There were two people that stood out this Year.

My son’s friend “M” is 11 years old. She was kind of “Blah” when she received the gift initially. My son was super excited. We got the string cut and tied to her length and started learning. Like most beginners, she just dropped the yoyo. Not enough inertia to get it to return.

“We call these “Throws” not “Drops”, you have to put some muscle behind it”-Me

Once she got this concept down, it was game on. Watching the three kids throwing was a proud moment. We had to leave about an hour later for our next destination, but they had a good session.

Fast forward about 8 hours later, we run into the family while walking a neighborhood looking at Christmas lights. “M” came running over;

“I need your help”-M
“What’s up”-Me
“My String came off”-M

I was amazed and joyful that she had her Yoyo with her. I showed her how to put the string back on. She played with it the rest of the time we were there.

Person #2 was actually my 77-year-old father. Last week when we were over at their house, we started talking about the kids and how they had started yoyoing. He started talking about playing with a wood yoyo when he was a kid. On the next visit, the kids brought their yoyos and we gave him one of the Target Butterfly’s that I have lying around just to hand out.

Once he noticed the kid’s sleep times on their yoyos;

“I can’t get this to sleep like theirs”-Dad
“Yours is a fixed axel like you had when you were a kid. Theirs have Ball Bearings, more modern yoyos.”-Me
“I want a Yoyo with a Ball Bearing.”-Dad

So on Christmas, he received one of the Snapbacks. He was so excited.

It was fun to hear his story’s from the 1950’s, yoyoing as a kid. I guess String was the biggest thing back then. Most kids were using a single strand tied to the yoyo axel. You were a big deal if you had a “Sleeper String” (The string we use as standard nowadays). It kind of puts a perspective on something we may take for granted now. The string was “The” factor then, not Mono-Metal, Bi-Metal, bearing or response type, etc.

According to my Mom, he has not put the thing down since he got it. I am so proud to have reintroduced something enjoyable to him after all these years.

Daughter Update - She can almost do 3 swings in Rock the Baby and get it to return. She will have it down soon.

Son Update - He only has about 3 more tricks in “Level 1” to complete. He definitely seems to be on a mission for the Metal Yoyo.

My Update - I have 3 yoyos in my current rotation;

  1. Arrow (Responsive) - This has been my main yoyo for the last month. This is what I throw and try to learn new tricks on. I have been pretty consistent with my “Stop and Go” lately. I am working on making the finish look a little better.

  2. Arrow (Unresponsive) - Been working on Front Style Binds, getting it semi-consistent now. Was able to complete a Brain Twister and Bind it back yesterday. Still not able to do it responsive though.

  3. Confusion - Trying to take a page from my daughter’s playbook. This yoyo has been fitting the bill. When I get frustrated or stuck with a trick with the first two yoyos, I pick this up. There is a peace and zen to just throwing for the enjoyment. I have found this one in my pocket going to work with me. When I am in the office, talking on the phone, I will just be pacing and throwing this.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All. Thanks for reading and following our adventure.

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Don’t know why, but this made me feel really good.

Thanks

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You and me both.

Never in my wildest dreams did I see it going this direction. I just thought it would be a quick revisit of the past.

Goes to show we are only as old as we want to be?

I am already preparing for when I show him a Modern Responsive…

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