First contest tips?

Hello All!

Next week will be my first contest(Bay Area Classic) as a competitor and spectator. After seeing some of the registrants, compared to videos of myself, I admit I am very nervous. I have a few questions to ask those of you who have competed:

-What do you do to organize your freestyles? I’ve been working on some combos and sequences of tricks that flow together, but I am not sure which ones to choose. Also, I can never find a good way to actually plan the flow of the routine(I’ve tried lists and such, and will until I hear of a better way)

-What do you do to calm down, or “get in the zone”?

-Any other on stage or practice tips?

Jeremy G.
BAC 1A division registrant

Well, for one thing to calm down, just relax. Everyone there is like you, a yoyoer, and none of them want you to fail, so there’s no need to be nervous.
As for tricks, usually just pick your favorite combos that flow nicely and have plenty of string hits if you’re going to try to place, and you’re good. Try to bring at least one banger. Something new that really surprises people and gets them into it.

As for weird tips, baby powder. Put some on your hands and rub them together for a minute before you go on. It keeps sweaty hands and string burn to a minimum, and is a big help.

Good luck at BAC!

Stepping on a stage is a great experience and worth every penny of registration fees just to feel ‘that feeling’. It’s amazing, unfortunately for most it isn’t conducive to your best yoyoing which is an ironic pitty!

  1. Soak it all in. There is a lot going on and it is over super quick so take your time, don’t be rushed by anyone.
  2. Make a routine. Typically on stage you will play faster than usual, throw harder than usual and typically make some mistakes, which is ok, but you can prepare for it!
  3. Have a ‘fallback’ or ‘default’ trick. If your mind goes blank have an autopilot trick you love doing. While doing this trick refund your groove and get back into it!
  4. Lists are fine. You are already 1 step ahead of many.
  5. When it’s getting closer to your go you will get nervous. Expect it, enjoy it. Personally nerves make me yawn, it’s horrible but it’s my bodies way of telling me it is expecting it! I know can read my nerves (after experience) but these little things are worth paying attention to. Be aware of yourself makes it easier the next time.
  6. Make some friends before hand to cheer for you. I’ll do it! Come say hello at our booth before you go up and I’ll cheer loud :slight_smile:

It’s all fun, don’t forget that. It sounds like you are ready enough for that.


Speaking as a professional with 30 years in the industry of professional entertainment and working with tons of A-list talents and shows garnering millions of dollars in cleared income PER SHOW:

1: Based on how long it takes to come up with a routine, it’s kind of late in the game to be asking these sort of questions. At this point, you need a 1 minute music piece for your prelims and a 2 minute for your final. Whatever you do, make sure what you’re doing fills up the time. Bind back between tricks and use that as your transition.

2: Many players, the music is merely a bed that does nothing but consume audible space during a routine. For some, especially the more seasoned players, they make the routine go with the music. For you, first time, the music should just be a bed to take up space.

3: Stage fright. It’s hard to deal with. What works for some doesn’t work for others. I got over that ages ago, but it’s a necessity. I’m also NOT a featured player. I’m tech and I hit the stage when something needs to be taken care of. I’m usually Front of House mixing, so ideally I should NEVER touch the stage anymore! Deep breaths. Breath in, hold , release. Repeat. Find something to distract yourself. You have to go on the stage, accept this. Also realize the judges MUST judge for points, they are supposed to be critical. When they aren’t judging, they are your “friend” for lack of a better term. Do realize you’re performing in front of your peers and for the most part, they are on your side and they want you to do amazing. Still, being the focus of attention can be nerve wracking. If need be, I’ll talk you onto that state. I realize I’ll have to use the kid gloves treatment. When an A-Lister pulls that stuff, we just say “Look, you’re out of pocket $65K for the night regardless. The difference is, do you make 3X or 4X that tonight or do you just dig into your bank account to pay everyone else involved who is doing their job?”

Focus, ignore what you don’t need to worry about. You, the yoyo, the music. After that, nothing else matters.

Enjoy BAC. I’m doing sound. I don’t compete. I don’t ever compete. For me it’s not about competition, it’s about the job and the environment. Enjoy yourself!