Contest Scoring and the Future of Yo-Yoing


As I watched prelims for worlds, I started thinking about what future contests might look like. It seems like nowadays to do well in large international contests, your style needs to be a speedy, Asian-influenced, stringhit based point machine. Last year was a nice break with Janos, but it feels as if yoyoing as a sport is moving towards the Asian style. Not that I have anything against that. I just feel that having a competition focused on quantity of tricks and stringhits often overlooks the artistic aspect of performance. Maybe future competitions might adopt a scoring system similar to 44clash, involving more performance aspects in scoring, or more heavily emphasize creativity and uniqueness.
Just some thoughts that I’m throwing out there, opinions?


Great points. I have to agree that there is little incentive to be artistic or creative given the scoring systems at most contests.The thing that concerned me about Janos’s performance last year was how inaccessible it was to novices and non yo-yo playing spectators. To them, his performance was almost …boring.

Lets face it though, the Asian style is much more impressive to most people. Its acrobatic, athletic and more exciting to watch than the “string-noodling” that I have seen recently. To me; Janos’s tricks are more about ceremony than skill. To those outside yo-yo; I think it is just baffling.

I think that the Asian style, infused with a bit of elegance, grace and artistry; may be the direction for the future. I look Ice Skating as a possible model. They do a good job of breaking the whole performance down to elements; and judge from there. Competitions such as Ice Dancing, stress artistic style over athletic acrobatics. Perhaps we could try something similar. Maybe a “String Dancing” competition?


40% of your score under the IYYF judging system is evaluation based.


The problem with changing the rules is gradually it becomes like an olympic sport, the tricks don’t matter as much any more, but just the way you do them. That’s my biggest concern with rule changes.


And what is wrong with that?

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(Former National 4A Champion) #6

A lot of people have lately been pushing to make contests score the more original players high, and emphasize originality rather than speed. The thing is, the asian style is so AWESOME. It is very difficult to go as fast as Iori or Shinya. Another thing about the asian style that many people do not mention is that they do extremely hard tricks. All the emphasis is on their speed. Iori, Chia, Ahmad, Hiroyuki all do crazy tricks.

Don’t you think crazy tricks should win contests?


But what happens when you take this to a logical extreme? It’ll become a few enthusiasts that can see each and every difficult trick as it speeds by, while everyone else just stares for a few seconds, shakes their heads since they can’t follow what’s happening, and the hobby shrinks down to a small, limited audience?

I feel there are ways to combine technical proficiency with crowd pleasing performances, but it’s the proficient ones who need to decide whether they enjoy getting trophies in front of a small or large crowd.

And if you need extra convincing, just look at who goes in to (U.S.) comic book stores nowadays, versus 30 years ago.


I prefer the artistic side of things, so the way competitions are heading is rather disappointing for me. I enjoy the mixture of music, flow, and general creativity to be what drives a freestyle. It’s what I love.

The guys that do this lately have been placing darn near last in competitions, even though I find them to be the best performers. The players landing in the top 8 are all technical and impressive, but very boring and uninspiring to watch. I never watch the high speed technical players and go “Wow! I want to do that!”

It’s always the more artistic flowy players that grip my imagination.


I personally don’t like the high speed tech style of play. I don’t think it is as fun to watch as a yoyoer. I also think it is less interesting for your average non yoyoer.

I know the recent contest in Colorado modified the scoring scale so tech was capped instead of normalized. This encourages more than just speed play and I think that showed in the final standings. There were some folks that were upset because they were used to placing high based on their tech score. But there we others who were happy that they could place well by having a good mix of originality and tech.


Christopher chia, Luis, Marcus koh, and iori are examples of yoyoers who have found a good balance between being a fast and creative yoyoer. They are far from boring. They’re not he ones doing the generic horizontal Eli hops/brain twister combos you we most speed yoyoers do.


And so do many others. IMO I don’t think your fears are coming true. Instead, I feel we see more artistic performances than we saw 3 years ago or earlier what with Naoto, Ben Conde, Eric Koloski, not to mention Hiroyuki Suzuki. Can you not call this legend artistic? What with his style and moves that fit well with his music. If it were only for his speed, I would not be half enthusiastic over his performances. But speed is not all there is with him.

I’m just throwing this out there. About a year ago I was asked to yoyo for a show (that never aired). Although the producers were impressed, they said at one time “The asians are so fast.” Which implied I was not good enough. As far fetched as it seems, the non yoyo producers were looking for speed. So, I hope that will convince some of you that non-yoyoers are attracted to speed and not disgusted by it.

(Former National 4A Champion) #12

The crazy tricks I’m referring to are not the fast tricks. Show me one person who does only fast tricks and still wins contests. The so-called speed-only players do a lot of other things. For example, Iori, who is one of the fastest players out there, is known for his insane horizontals, which are, in fact, very original. His speedy parts just add to the variation in his freestyle.

As TGP said, if fast people were only fast, they wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining. I don’t think you have anything to worry about with the way contests are going.


I think the fast style of play is super impressive for 30 seconds or so. I think it just gets old really fast. I base my comments about non-throwers on observation of non-throwers.

On the TV show, were you supposed to be part of the show for 30 minutes or 5 minutes? If it was a small time frame, then I would understand looking for the most action they could get in the small time frame.

(Former National 4A Champion) #14

Have you noticed that non yoyoers get bored of yoyoing in general really fast. It’s not like they understand anything at all, even if it is “original”. The only thing non yoyoers really understand is speed. They can understand that it is going fast. What I have noticed is that after 5 minutes of me yoyoing, I become “the yoyo guy”, and then they lose interest altogether. It doesn’t matter what tricks I do, they’ll be impressed. They’ll be impressed even more if I do things super fast.


about 30 seconds, maybe less


If people really wanted to see more artisticness from yoyoers, then a simple solution: WHY ISN’T AP AT MORE CONTESTS?? You can try increasing the AP division to see if that makes people happy.


Yes. I think AP should be part of every contest.

AP should also be more lenient than other divisions.

Like why on earth was Ky Zizan’s AP application denied when he originally wanted to showcase double dragon? It just seems silly that he had to forfeit his 1A placing just to do the showcase and prove a point.

(Former National 4A Champion) #18

I think that AP wants a bit more than yoyoing. AP Winners usually are teams, or use props. It isn’t ever a normal freestyle.


Then AY, artistic yoyoing. The tricks are scored, just less.


I think that players that can do so many trick and movements so quickly deserve the points.
People that do slow tricks have more time to execute their tricks , which has its Pros and cons; scoring more points, but time consuming.
But in speedplay, if you mess up, it’s hard to get back into the flow, so if they can consistently keep it up, i feel they deserve the points.
And in recent “asian” competitions, players like Takeshi and Ahmad have won 1st, beating the speed players with their freestyle.
Luis Enrique won IYYc,without super speed.
Anthony Rojas beat Michael Nakamura in both BAC And CAL states: with his unique playstyle, beating Michaels speedy play.
I can only imagine that players like Iori or Hiroyuki practice just as much and as hard as People like Janos or Takeshi.