How do we make more yo-yoers?

Steve Brown posted some insights about the state of the industry back in January:

The gist of it is that it’s maybe too easy these days to create a new yo-yo … but how do we create new yo-yo players?

What we need right now is for all these tiny companies to work towards creating new players, instead of just capitalizing on a market that someone else created for them. Anyone can make yoyos, what we need are companies to make players.

If someone gave you $100,000 and said “your single solitary goal with this money is to create more yo-yo players… go!” what would you do?

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I absolutely love this question! I’m also flattered you’d be curious to hear my thoughts. I also won’t pretend to be an authority in any regard either. Everything I’m suggesting is a guess, at best. I have no real experience or track record in creating a legion of Yoyo players. Anyone can feel more than free to disagree as well, but here are my thoughts.

The solution people generally come up with when asked about how to get more players is increase “exposure”. We think: If more people knew about Yoyoing, then it would grow!!

I don’t necessarily agree with that. Sure going viral may help… but the thing is Yoyoing already has gone viral, many times. After all Evan, Gentry, Ben Conde, Hajime & Yoyo Baby (Kazuya Murata). Have all gone viral, and we’ve yet to see a viral expansion of our community.

So if mere exposure isn’t enough, what is? What makes a kid who is only kinda interested in Yoyoing, ultimately stick with the hobby to stay and practice for years at a time?

I can’t speak for everyone, but for me it was Yoyo competitions. Had I not had a yearly competition to train and prepare for each year, that I genuinely though I could win. I probably would have abandoned Yoyoing within a year or two.

I think in order for Yoyoing to grow, we need more competitions, and not neccesarily big competitions, but small ones.

If I had a gun to my head and were tasked with acquiring more Yoyo players armed only with 100k.

I’d pick a country. Probably the United States, and I’d invest in creating a crap tonne of competitions.

I’d make a lot of smaller suburban competitions where novices and beginners can freestyle it out and progress together. Slowly building their ambitions to winning regional or national competitions etc.

I’d consider competitions with different scoring systems. So the people who are currently dissatisfied with how competitions are currently judged have an avenue or criteria that values their tricks. Maybe the scoring is purely evals or creativity based.

Id consider junior contests, or maybe senior ones

Perhaps contests where only particular genres of freestyle music is allowed, so they attract a crowd also interested in the music. Say RNB themed competitions, or TRAP/EDM themed competitions.

Maybe trick ladder competitions where players only focus on landing particular tricks. And execution and accuracy are all that matter.

I think competitions are the key to retaining those who are interested in Yoyoing. The more competitive platforms we have, the more retained passionate players we will have.

I think innovation in the Yoyoing community is focused on

“What new Yoyo can we make?”
Or
“What new video can we use to get Viral?”
Or
“What new thing can we do with Yoyoing to make it cool and popular?”

Instant fame, is usually followed by instant irrelevance. The goals isn’t to get more people, it’s to get more passionate committed people. I say the answer to that is with more competitions.

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clearly i didnt see the Brandon Vu tag in the post, else i wouldn’t have replied. my apologies @codinghorror!

well said!

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Agree.
Compettions in which you can progress. Not everyone is top class Mr Stein level, so starting at, for example top 10 picture tricks win a medal, building up to more complex elements. Sort of like a league perhaps.
Not sure of details but i feel competitions are the best way to go, people love to compete and its not always against others, take swimming for example, most of the time its all to do with beating personnel best times.

Failing that the only way is Cloning.

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I believe Duncan used to do this in the 1960s 1970s etc.

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And 50’s. They’d advertise at local drug stores, show up on the date they said, have a mini “contest” that consisted of teaching sessions, then a contest. Winner won a “Award” Yoyo. I’ve got one, will have to photograph it and show you. Then they’d come back again that year and have more contests, and just keep the circle going.

A friend used to go to those contests in the 50’s and 60’s, he’s the one that gave me the Award yoyo.

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I 100% agree. I’m an intermediate/advanced player in high school, and to be honest, there are very few competitions in my area, which is a shame. I’ve thought about starting a low-key competition at my school for a little while now, and you’ve pretty much summed up all the reasons why I’ve considered it.

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So I looked around at all of the local toy stores in my area and there are at least 15 within 20 miles. Very few of Any of them sell Yoyos. What if you went to them and did a little demo, and talked about potentially selling decent Yoyos. The only question I would have regarding all of that is how much/ what are the margins for wholesale Yoyos, and who would one get in touch with to do that? Several of these stores sell very niche items. ( magic trading cards, action figures, comics, etc) what’s one more hobby that could be sold and taught at an already established meetup location for smaller hobbies. Obviously the wholesale topic probably isn’t ideal for a public discussion, but I’m interested in knowing more details regarding the actual business side of retailing Yoyos.

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Go for it.
Approach your principal you may even get a bit of funding for a prize.
Practice sessions at school in supervised areas (yoyo’s banned last time)
First to complete 10 simple picture tricks, or who completes with best style wins.

I’m thinking of trying something like this at the primary school (elementary in USA) where i work. I’ve just get to think up more positives to sell the idea like increases self confidenece, hand eye coordination ect ect.

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Thats quite an interesting question. While I do believe that yoyoing will probably stay a niche hobby, the community could definetly be expanded on. Reading this forum, alot of you seem to have not met any throwers irl.

I would invest the 100k in starting more official clubs, like where the meeting spot isnt just outside a supermarket or something. But make sure to gear it towards newer players, because thats how we get people into yoyoing. Or when we do organize competitions, have a seperate ‘casual’ performance where people dont get scored, they just go up and have fun.
I would say that I am high intermediate in high school, and have thrown at lunch but I’ve kind of been scared to play infront of a croud :stuck_out_tongue:

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This makes me sound like an old person, but I do wish I had people in a near vicinity to me that I could hang out with and share yoyoing. It’s not only that I haven’t met anyone in a 10 mile radius that shares my passion for yoyoing, but I really don’t interact with anyone in my neighborhood. So I think the idea of building small neighborhood communities “like they had back in the day” would do a lot of good for those involved.

I read a book a while back called “Knots in my Yoyo String” which is basically the autobiography of a person growing up in the 50’s. The thing that really gets to me is how different neighborhoods and communities were back then to how we (or at least I) have it now.

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Start a big family and force all of your kids to play yoyo.

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I think the YYE Club program could really help here. I like that Andre is committed to supporting growth through local clubs, even if the growth doesn’t reach “fad” level growth (and do we really want that anyway?). Slow and steady wins the race, right?

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The YoYo Club Grant Program can definitely help with this if executed properly, and I don’t know if a better company to see to that than YoYoExpert and a better front of the operation than André.

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Partnerships with well established entities that have the young people’s attention/time already. Like Boy Scouts, YMCA, Disney, Boys and Girls Club, Kim & Kanye, local libraries.
I’m not sure exactly how this YYE grant will work, but I’m thinking of volunteering my time for an event or two at the local library myself, it’s a super nice, and super busy library so I think with enough lead time and a few promotional flyers I could muster up a good number of people.
Here’s a few ProYo’s from Boy Scout events I did when I was a demonstrator:

image

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Cloning.

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As a teenager looking for a job, I think it’d be mindblowing to land a job as a yoyo demonstrator for local communities. lol

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the problem is that when your in public, people tend to do one of three things

  1. walk past and ignore you. 70%
  2. acknowledge you, “hey that’s cool” 20%
  3. yell at you for causing a disturbance. 5%
  4. “HEY, WALK THE DOG!”
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Story of my life

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What I say: “That trick is old hat.”
What we all should say: “Hey man, try it out! I’ll teach you to walk the dog AND Around the world! Show your friends!”

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