Sleeper Inconsistent

I’m pretty new, just started a couple days ago. Had to watch some videos to get the basic throw down, but I got pretty stuck after that.
I’ve watched several videos that explain how to throw a sleeper, but it seems like no matter what I do, it’s just random if I get it. About 70% of the time, I’ll throw it and try to follow every tip I’ve seen: get rid of the string tension, throw it kinda away from myself to reduce the bounce, bounce with your hand at the right timing to reduce the bounce of the ball at the end, flick it from the arm and wrist, don’t flip the hand over too early, and it has never worked. However, about 30% of the time, no matter what I do (as long as I don’t yank my hand back) or how I throw it, the yo-yo will go into a sleeper. Each time it has happened I’ve tried to figure out what was different, either with my throw or with the yo-yo itself. However, I couldn’t find anything, it just seems completely random, though I’m sure there’s a reasonable answer to this. I’m using a Duncan Imperial (pretty sure it’s a fixed axle).
Has this happened to anyone else? Does anyone know what’s going on and/or how to fix this? Any help or advice is greatly appreciated!

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before I give you any tips let me just say welcome to the yoyo comunity and I’m glad that you started yo-yoing.

this happens to every body, make sure your not trying to throw to hard but also make sure your not tilting your hand when your throw the yoyo, practice is key with getting the sleeper down, if you practice the sleeper every day for 15+ minutes you will find that within a few days y’all get it.

again this happens to everyone when they first get into yoyo and with some practice you will get it, PM me if you got any questions or just want to learn tricks

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Gentry Stein(world champion) has a beginner series that might help.


Welcome to yye (and to yo-yo).
First off, an Imperial is a pretty unforgiving yo-yo. It IS a fixed axle and its shape and gap contribute to make it tougher to throw a decent sleeper. Not impossible - just more frustrating to learn on than a wider ball bearing yo-yo.

My suggestion for throwing a good sleeper on an Imperial (or similar) is to make sure the halves of the yo-yo remain parallel as it descends. One thing I see a lot is how new players hold their throw hand makes a giant difference. Some people try to do more of a “karate chop” motion, which can work ok. I prefer a more natural hand like you’re casually extending it to shake with someone (I mean like before the plague). Above all don’t turn your hand over palm down which can really whack out a sleeper.

The good news is if you master Sleeper on an Imperial you’ll be able to throw them on literally anything. But you may want to invest in an inexpensive ball bearing butterfly shape if you’re getting frustrated. (I’m an advocate for learning the hard way, but I don’t like to put that on anybody else.) I really like the Recess First Base, but a Duncan Butterfly XT would do you just fine too.

Good luck!


I second the Butterfly XT as an excellent yoyo to learn on!


Thank you, I’ll keep working on it then!

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Thanks, and that is encouraging to hear! I’ll be sure to keep those options in mind once I decide to start looking for another.

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Welcome to the forum! I started on a blue Imperial 5 years ago. I then found the Duncan Butterfly somewhat easier to learn sleepers, forward pass, and around the world on. I am still low-level intermediate and all tricks / moves are difficult to learn. At first I am only able to do them 1 out of 10 times. After a week I can do it half the time. A lot of the time I find I am practicing things imperfectly expecting perfect results. I will pay close attention to my throws - if they are not really straight there will not be good results. Don’t get discouraged! You WILL get it!!!

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Watch that Gentry Stein series. He covers everything very clearly.