First of all, I’m not a great, or perhaps even good, looper. But here’s what I’ve learned:
I have a pair of 1080s with the adjustable gap and as a beginner I don’t have the skills to take advantage of that adjustable gap. To start out a pair of 360s would probably be fine. In fact, I’m thinking of buying a pair them myself. I think you’d be just fine learning on a pair of 360s and then moving up to 1080s. I honestly have no idea if my 1080 string gap is set properly or not and it may very well be hampering my progress since I don’t know. The 360 gap is consistent and that would, if nothing else, make my practicing consistent. So I think starting off with a non-adjustable gap is probably better for a beginner like you and me.
Yes, looping yoyos all seem to be the imperial shape. Or as I call it, the “hamburger” shape. They tend to be plastic because you’re swinging them around and quite honestly, they hurt a lot less when you get thumped. Also, they tend to be lighter because you’re changing direction a lot and the light weight makes that a bit easier.
I have also heard that the star response on plastic yoyos will wear out. So cheap plastic yoyos are preferable since you may be replacing them. But wearing out a plastic star response system would take a LOT of throwing time. Far more time than I practice for sure.
You will tend to lube your 2a yoyos more consistently using thick lube. I was told by a California State 2A champion that he lubes his yoyo every time he changes his strings.
Strings: This same yoyoer recommended a 50/50 polyester cotton blend string and he suggested I buy them in a 100 pack because you will be wearing them out. They won’t break, but they will get thin and stop responding as well as they should.
String length: You always hear people say that you should use a shorter string for looping. But don’t go too short. A good rule of thumb for 1A is that the finger loop should be at your belly button if the yoyo is on the ground. For 2A the top of your pants pocket is about right. Don’t go too short to start because a shorter string will cause your yoyo to loop faster. This is great for advanced players but when you’re learning you want to slow that loop down so you can get the feel.
Also, I’ve found that 2A is vastly different from 1A in that you practice and things just don’t work and you don’t have any idea why. Then, for some reason, you can throw 2 loops and catch it consistently. I don’t know what changed, but now I can do 2. Then I can do 3, then 4. When it starts to work try to focus on how that throw feels and what the timing is. Try to duplicate how it feels and the loops will start to work. The best bit of advice I’ve received is to keep my hands palm down. I was throwing a loop, turning my hand palm up to pull the yoyo back, and then turning my hand palm down as it flips past my body and back out. The yoyo was flopping sideways all over the place. When I started to minimize my hand movement and just flick with my fingers my loops started to become more consistent.
Yet another bit of advice given to me was to practice everything on my left hand (I’m right handed) twice as much as my right hand. I’m so clumsy with my left hand that 4 times as much might be better. ;D
Finally, check out this thread http://yoyoexpert.com/forums/index.php/topic,49929.0.html
It’s dedicated to 2A discussions and there’s lots of good information there.
Now I want to go practice 2A yoyoing. See what you started!