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?”
“What new video can we use to get Viral?”
“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.