Taking a journey into confidence.

Hewo!!! ^ ^

So a common thing I have noticed with many players, both young and old, is that the issue of performance anxiety or “stage fright” comes up from time to time.

I thought I would take the time, and talk a bit about how one might be able to break free of this anxiety that comes about, and share my own story of how I managed to break free of a bondage of stage fright.

Bach when I first started competing in 05, I had serious performance anxiety issues. I would shake on stage, focus intently on the yoyo, paying no attention to the audience, hardly breathing, and leaving the stage with a racing heart and shivering hands. It was not a fun time, and I really questioned why I would put myself through these situations.

From the earliest age, I knew that being able to perform was something that I wanted to do. Watching flowing and impressive players like Tomonari Ishiguro and Makoto Numagami would always make me wish I could do the same. But the stage fright and tenseness I felt would always get the best of me.

It is then, that I decided to take action, to once and for all get over the performance anxiety I had. I was not willing to let it take me down any longer.

I started doing performances for a variety of church youth groups, school, and other small events. I jumped into them unsure of what to do, or if I could even do it, I just knew, that if I wanted to get over this thing, I had to put myself in situations that would make me feel the same way, so that I may be able to get accustomed to the feelings, and finally overcome.
Starting out, it was not pretty. I would still shake, notice myself being tense and not moving freely, in shows when I spoke, my voice would shake and crack, sometimes stutter, but I kpe ton persisting. I started taking my performance to the streets as well, getting a variety of audiences, and over time, my performance anxiety got less and less.

Getting over and overcoming performance anxiety is a long and slow process for many. I can honestly say that despite my years and years of competitive throwing, I still deal with it from time to time, but thanks to the practice I put into putting myself out in the public eye, and learning to relax, it has been much less of an issue, and I have finally found “freedom” on the stage.

If you find yourself dealing with this same sort of thing, I encourage you, DO NOT give up! It’s something that takes much time and effort. The worst thing you can do is try to avoid it completely. Its something you got to run and take head first. Put yourself in those uncomfortable situations. At times it may feel incredibly difficult, but the reward in feeling comfortable and confident when stepping onto the stage is worth all the time and effort in the world.

There is no magic formula to it, its simply time and practice. For some it may take weeks, others (like myself) years. But regardless of time, it can be done, and I know that it’s something that anyone can overcome.

Think about that next time you feel the stage fright when out in public, instead of shying away, be bold and take a leap of faith, even if you’re shaking out of your skin, keep at it! Over time, you will prevail, and when you do, it will be magical!

Keep at it everyone!

^ ^


Very well written. Im currently around the middle of your story. My goal is to get into finals at BAC, as I was close at Calstates. Can we get a hooooooooraw for Josh over here?

Man, I just have to say. Every topic you make is just awesome.

I have had to deal with performers with stage fright for a long time. It can be an issue. A lot of times it’s a matter of “Look, if you don’t get your back-side upon there, each and everyone of is ain’t getting a payday, and we’re gonna invoke our contractual terms and splitsville on you and your tour is over before it began” kind of stuff, mostly since I mainly deal with touring artists. Some artists just have a bit of “unfamiliar” stage fright, meaning they are nervous for the first song or two, then they are fine. Others have deep rooted issues. Others, once they get over it, they are fine.

Why don’t I like the stage? I’m a tech. I can do anything except be the focus on the stage. I like attention NOT drawn to me. I am perfectly content being unacknowledged in my role, no matter how hard I worked. I have nothing but respect for the stage and am very comfortable on it. My job, however, is often anywhere from 200 to 250 cable feet away behind a large mixing console, effectively mixing the show, that’s my role.

Why don’t I perform in contests? For me, that’s not why I got into this. I have no desire to compete with skill toys. I could go on and on about how I’m a horrible player(true, although some disagree, and for those who disagree I disagree with them!), but the bottom line for me is that it’s an activity for me to enjoy on my own terms.

At CalStates 2012, one kid was so overwhelmed with stage fright that he was in the restroom puking his guts out. It happens. My question is: did he enter the contest with the permission and encouragement of his parents, or was he forced there? Another kid was just unable to perform when he was scheduled, but a lot of more experienced players rallied around him and he went on later and did pretty good for his preliminaries. That’s one thing that’s cool about the skill toy, or at least the yoyo community. As a collective group, even in contests where there has to be winners, nobody wants anyone to be a loser. Everyone wants everyone to go up there and give it their absolute best.

Here’s the mind-screw portion about contests. First, you’re up on stage, and since it’s just you and some toys, well, the focus is on you and what you can do with those toys. There’s nothing to focus on except you. That really is what people don’t like, is that extreme focus directed at them. The second part is that this is a contest, so you’re not performing for the general public(I’ll get to that), but rather judges. The role of the judges is to calculate points for good stuff and calculate deductions for bad stuff. You’re effectively being torn apart up there. Score is part subjective and part objective, part definitive and part interpretive. Being judged in a yoyo contest is an entirely grey area. Third, you’re performing for your skill toy peers, who believe it or not, are also the judges, but are also a good portion of the audience. While the judges have to be critical, the rest of your peers want you to knock them all dead. This factor right there is often enough to off-set the pressure from the judges because you got people cheering for you, wanting you to rock it, wanting you to shock them, wanting you to do the best you can do. The last portion is the general public, which often has no clue what’s going on. All they want is a good show, but yoyo contests are not good shows for then because their eyes quickly cross and the whole performance becomes a blur.

You have to understand the difference between “competitive” version “entertainment”. The pressure and mindsets are different, but stage fright is still stage fright.

Let me address briefly the original poster. I’m not gonna mince words, but I have nothing mean to say. I will gladly go on record saying I enjoy watching HaruRay perform. Watching his older videos from contests, I can see his progress and how he has conquered stage fright, or at the very least, learned to control and manage it. I was a bit annoyed I missed his 1A prelims at CalStates. In some ways, he’s a player I would like to be like, except for the Asian part, since I’m a white guy. He can do the 5 major styles, and I’d like to have a good command of those as well. He also made 1A finals at CalStates, which I’m extremely pleased about, mostly so I could see his 1A performance. HaruRay is comfortable on stage performing. His performances tend to be more about interpretation and entertainment, not necessarily contest winners, but still, good, solid performances, worthy of being in the finals. His style is artistic. It’s apparent how hard he’s worked to get over his stage fright. Of course, knowing that even the “sound guy” is cheering for him helps too, just that little bit.

Now, back to the topic of stage fright. My son is progressing along. However, I’m not going to pressure him to compete. If he does, he will do so on his own terms. He doesn’t seem to have any stage fright issues, but at the age of 6, most don’t. Most kids develop these issues at older ages as they become more aware, mostly after the age of 10 to 11 or so. Any pressure should be pressure one places upon one’s self. If there is a goal, they must work to overcome obstacles to that goal.

There’s no “fix” or “cure” for stage fright. There’s no magic solution. Some people get over it fast, some slow, some never do. The only way to overcome it is to work through it. If you want something bad enough, you’ll do what you need to do to get that goal. Just know that for the world of yoyo, the yoyo community WANTS you to succeed. Take comfort in that. If you choke, we’ll help you down. If you need to calm down to perform, we’ll help you up. We’ll cheer you when you’re there. As far as getting over stage fright, you couldn’t ask for a better environment.

Take it in stages. Perform for friends. Go to clubs and throw with others. Enter talent contests. Throw in public. Put yourself in situations where focus is drawn to you, but situations where you can control it too. You can stop at any time or go as long as you want(except for talent contests, you only have so much time, so either use it or lose it).

I have no problem throwing at contests, just not on stage(as I’m not competing). My problem is getting the time to throw. Working sound keeps me busy.

Trust me. 30+ years in entertainment. This is the only place where I’ve seen a nurturing environment in regards to stage fright issues.


Great topic. You should start a blog!


Thanks josh, as i demonstrated at 2yo, i cant land anything in front of a camera. If i cant do stuff in front of a camera, who knows how hard itll be on stage?

A lot of people get nervous in front of the camera because now there’s a record, and possibly having to go through it again and edit those parts out, causing you to re-live it over and over again.

However, the camera is quiet and doesn’t judge and gladly accepts what it is aimed at. In those regards, some people do fine with the camera, but the stage is too much.

A very well thought out post Josh. I really wish you could make your own blog to promote so you can be uncensored and be able to post all your yoyo related thoughts on however. I do like the topics you make when it comes to things.

With that said, I have to agree and disagree on things.

Stage fright when it comes to yoyos is a very hard thing to handle with. I’ve personally tried competing over the years and every single flipping time it has caused me to do a very horrible freestyle on stage. Horrible sweating, seizure like shaking the works. In the end I decided it is not my cup of tea anymore. For myself I simply do not have anything to prove on stage. You don’t have to prove anything on a stage.

For myself, I provided proof through videos. As a person I feel more comfortable doing it this way and thus also enabled to approach things in a more artistic approach. People out there can complain at me about not doing freestyles and the like. But really…if you have such a stage fright, then why force yourself to go up there and essentially take away the fun of yoyo?

Its a two way street really. Some people go on stage for the fun of it to show off. Some people go on stage for the heavy competition so they can get the W. For myself, yoyoing is not represented that way in my eyes.

You say some great thoughts and I hope it helps those out for those that wish to perform on stage. I’m just saying people don’t need to go on stage to provide their “yoyo worth” aha.

I don’t know, I lost track in what I’m saying.


I know the feelings. i competed for my first time this past Saturday at my yoyo club. i was very nervous and messed up badly. although i messed up I’m still proud i went up and realized what i did wrong and can try to fix it. Also what studio said he is a sound guy who encounters a bunch of people with stage fright. I am a lighting guy through my highschool and i still see stage fright every now and then. usually Im far from the backstage where i see it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. I have had to go on stage before and i didn’t mind because there you are actually blinded by the lights so you do not see anyone. I needed to go on stage twice because for my variety show i was a student director and met and talked with soo many amazing people. i see stage fright mostly with orchesis shows where the senior dances will go on for the first time. The stage fright feeling is every where and i am going to use what i learned here to begin working on fixing my stage fright. thank you very much haru and studio for making such a helpful post ;D

I’m going to yoyo for my school’s talent show this saturday. It’ll be my first time performing yoyo on stage. I’m kinda nervous, but I guess I’ll just get over it and relax. Great post!

I’m more towards the first stage in this. I did pretty well in my school’s talent show, but I can’t yoyo in front of other yoyoers, such as at a club or something.