Hello everyone, my name is Brandon Murphy. I’ve been throwin’ a yo-yo for close to 11 years now. When I first started, the hobby was in it’s “cocoon” stage. The concept of the bearing was just beginning to be implemented in a way that was opening up the possibility of what one could achieve with such a seemingly simple toy. Hardware was rough at times, requiring modding and tuning (to a much greater extent than the practices we still use today) and the smoothest throws were sought after hungrily. Many of you surly still remember the days of recessed freehands and zan navis. It was a necessary era. Using these plastic wonders, some of the greatest players the sport has seen to date laid the base we stand on today.
I look around today, ~5 years since my great hiatus from yo-yoing, and it’s clear the community has emerged from its cocoon in a huge way. In yo-yo, hardware no longer stands in the way. The diffusion? The speedaholic? Even some of the cheapest yo-yos today outplay what you could only get for greater than $100 in the past. Pretty much every yo-yo I pick up that was made within the last half decade will be able to handle everything I throw at it, and handle it smoothly. Crazy. It’s such a great thing. Accordingly, tricks and trick concepts have started progressing at an exponential rate. There are so many great players and great minds in the sport right now, and it’s fantastic to see what the cognoscenti have put out. If you’re serious about your yo-yo career, this day and age is a fantastic setting to be in.
As someone looking at the hobby through the lens of the not so distant, yet radically different past, I feel inclined to advise you to take advantage of the fact that there are basically no limits with yo-yo anymore. With yo-yos that can handle anything, focus on performance. Practice. Practice more. What has helped me lately when training is making sure every throw has a purpose. There are many times I intend to do some serious skill building and end up zoning out and spending half my time doing the same tricks over and over or dealing with messy binds or catches. Train your brain to practice more efficiently. From every time the yo-yo leaves your hand and returns again, focus on making one thing better. Particularly the small things you don’t normally focus on like clean binding and catching, and hand and finger placement. Even if your throw is just to re-bind, make the bind as smooth as you can. Always take mental note of what worked and what didn’t so you can adjust accordingly next time. It takes time and effort to train yourself to play this way. If you focus on doing this, and making sure you are mindful of every throw, you will become better at a greatly accelerated rate. This will not only help with making you a cleaner, smoother player, but I have found that when I really focus and get in the zone, the creative part of my brain produces much more freely. Always have fun of course, not every throw has to be serious, but make sure when you intend to better your playing, be sure to use this tip to your advantage. Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. In the end, you’ll have more fun, and you’ll be better and feel better about your yo-yoing!
I have such optimism for the future of the community. The budding talent is plentiful and increasing in quality every day. So many great players. I cannot wait to see what the next ten years hold. This is why I urge you to hurry the process along. Have fun, pursue the sport we all love so much with the vigor it deserves! Don’t let any sort of doubt or laziness get in your way. Practice as often as you can. Produce videos and stay active with the community. Keep this awesome thing going. Hopefully my ramblings bring some inspiration to y’all! It’s so nice to be back in the community.