The bad habit myth


Something I never understood is the notion that playing with certain types of yoyo’s can form bad habits. One example I can think of is that an extra wide yoyo can make a player sloppy at landing on the string. Another example would be saying that an undersized yoyo will make chop stick tricks too easy, or that you shouldn’t practice finger spins with a dimple in the cup because it just does it for you.

I don’t think I’ve heard this on these forums specifically, but I have heard people say things to the effect of “When you’re learning X trick, you should learn it on a yoyo that doesn’t make it so easy, because you’ll be better when you finally do learn it.”

These types of suggestions never made sense to me. In my mind, when you’re learning a new trick, the last thing you should be doing is making it harder than it should be. From a productivity standpoint, I think it makes far more sense to get the mechanics down first, sloppy or not, and then refine your technique. It’s like riding a bike, we all use training wheels before popping a wheelie.


It’s two different approaches of learning and both work in different ways.

If you learn on a more unforgiving yoyo, it’ll take longer to learn but you’re closer to actually mastering the trick.

If you learn on a great super stable yoyo you’ll learn the trick faster but it’ll likely be more sloppy.

A person that learned a trick on an unforgiving yoyo will have a much easier time on every other yoyo than the person that learned on the best yoyo.

Personally, I like to learn a trick on the best possible yoyo then if I want to smooth it out I’ll practice on a more unforgiving yoyo. HOWEVER, using super high performing yoyos can definitely develop bad habits. If you use a Draupnir to play for a long period of time then switch to an undersized you’re going to have a hard time. But if you play with an undersized for a long period of time, switching to a better yoyo will only help. Unstable and unforgiving yoyos forces you to use good form and builds good technique.


This is why one should own ~12 yo-yos with different shapes, sizes, materials, performance characteristics… to get experience! So many great choices out there.


Yep, that’s what I do


I know one thing for sure…

If you throw a 128 gram yoyo. And you smack yourself in the forehead 10 times a day.

That you will end up with serious brain damage; causing you to sta-sta-sta-stutter-er-er…

Ta-ta-ta-trust me on tha-t-t-t.

I wouldn’t kid-da-da-yuh.:nerd_face:


Lol :joy:


I’ve looked at 7 other topics and you’re still typing…


Actually a lot of motorcyclist push a similar message, especially considering the consequences for messing up there can include a hospital trip or a ride in the coroners van.

It goes like this, the idea is that it’s better to put ego aside and learn on a small displacement easy to handle bike before moving up. Something easy to handle and preferably used in the likely event you drop it in the learning stages, and that way you end up learning FASTER cause you’re on something that’s more manageable, most people including me end up being better riders for it in the long run vs jumping on the craziest bike you can get, it’s heavier, it’s faster and now you’re taking twice as long to get the same confidence. And there’s great evidence to support this beyond your average Joe’s like me, pretty much all the best racers, the fastest men alive on two wheels have started on little 250cc bikes.

I say this might be especially important to new throwers, if it helps you land certain tricks easier, it gives newer players the motivation and confidence to want to learn more instead of getting frustrated and abandoning it altogether.

My own learning process itself is once I land something, whatever yoyo I use isn’t that important, the most import thing is just KNOWING I did it, I can do this, I did just do this, so once I know that I can, and get familiar with practice I usually can do it on just about most of my yoyos (within reason). Like if I go from wider to narrower it usually takes a few warm up tries then I figure muscle memory kicks in and adjust, the after that its business as usual.


this video pretty much explains it. skip to 3:36 for the part im talking about.


I agree 100%, especially with the part about how landing tricks can give confidence and motivation. It’s so easy to underestimate how valuable these things are in progressing a skill, not just in yoyo’s but in anything. For most people, the reward of landing a trick will add that fun factor that you need to keep going. It’s probably safe to say that everyone has been in that place where you keep failing and get frustrated, sometimes giving up on a trick all together. Those small victories are instrumental in pushing through a difficult trick.


So basically it is the elitist old school mentality that drives the myth. While I can see the merit in yoyoing with “flawed” (from a performance aspect) yoyos, it really just comes down to what you have fun playing with.

Learning tricks on a more stable and longer spinning yoyo will be easier. You can perfect it and get smooth with it even if the yoyo doesnt require you to do so. But I imagine that once you break through in your skill level, that it eventually becomes more fun to challenge yourself with harder to use yoyos with built in restrictions or responses. However what I dont completely buy is the idea that competiton oriented throws will inevitably stunt your creativity or encourage you to develop insurmountably bad habits.

({John15}) #12

This is an excellent metaphor. And I would have to agree.

I think the reason why people rag on some of the “cheater” techniques or equipment is because there is a certain nostalgia held towards the history of Yoyo. People were modding Duncan free hands and doing all kinds of crazy stuff before companies started readily producing high quality yo-yos that are held to today’s standards.

I guess the idea is that a lot of the tricks and elements that we see and use today were pioneered on equipment that wasn’t specialized for them (e.g. finger spin dimples and wide competition-style yo-yos).

I would have to agree that it makes sense to use equipment that makes it easier to develop your mechanics, and then move towards equipment that will force you to refine your technique.

But hey, if I’m completely honest, what makes the most sense is to just let people do what they want to do. If they want to learn on wide competition style bi-metals, then by all means go for it. If they want to learn on high-walled responsive organics, then by all means go for it.

It’s easy to become an elitist in any niche hobby. But it’s also easy to forget how insane it is just to be able to land a double or nothing, or to even perform a bind.


Lots of good thoughts here. I remember when I first started, I bought something on BST, and the seller included an non-responsive YYF Whip. After playing with that yoyo for a couple of minutes, I wrote it off as cheap junk that couldn’t handle modern tricks (not that I could handle modern tricks beyond Double or Nothing at the time). A couple of years later, I picked up that Whip and was amazed at what a good yoyo it became, just from sitting in the drawer :rofl:

I forget who said it, it was probably yoyodoc, ‘what is connected to the slip knot end of the string is more important that what is connected to the other end’

(apologies to both yoyodoc and whomever actually said something like the quote above if I managed to misattribute it.)


A number of people have mentioned what’s on the end of the string over the years. I think the original is lost in antiquity. Your quote about the yoyo becoming better sitting in a drawer is reminiscent of a comment sometimes attributed to Mark Twain about how much smarter his father became over time.

“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”


Play with an undersized yoyo extensively for a week. Then switch to a full sized bimetal.

Now do the opposite.

I don’t know about you guys, but I definitely notice how my technique and form has gotten lazy and a little sloppy after switching from the bimetal to the undersized. If I stay with the undersized for a few days, the tricks I was struggling to do after getting used to the bimetal suddenly becomes easier.

Another thing I’ve noticed is it’s harder to judge how good a yoyo is if you’re regularly using undersized or unstable yoyos. I think this is true for a lot of hobbies and activities actually. You don’t realize how “bad” a yoyo is until you’ve used a great one for a while. Why is that? It’s because your techniques gotten sloppy because the yoyo you’ve been using has been so forgiving.

@eternalmetal you said you can perfect and smooth out a trick on any yoyo. This is true but someone who perfected the trick on an unstable undersized yoyo will definitely have more control than the one who only ever learned on a bimetal. Have them switch yoyos and you’ll see the difference. It’s easier to think youve mastered a trick on a bimetal when you really haven’t because the bimetal will minimize the damage from slightly inoptimal technique.

I’m not as super hard headed about this as other people. I don’t think it’s necessary to learn tricks on a “bad” yoyo. I also highly value yoyos with great performance, more so than most people on these forums. I don’t really like it when people say “it’s not the player, it’s the yoyo” when someone asks for recommendations or asks which yoyo is better because I do believe there is benefit for everyone to use a high performing bimetal. But to say learning or practicing on a less forgiving yoyo has little to no benefit or that playing with a high performing yoyo all the time doesn’t make you a little more sloppy with your technique is silly.

(ClockMonsterLA) #16

Practicing on an unforgiving yoyo is like swinging two bats in the on-deck circle. The benefits are pretty easy to understand. However, I like the idea of a staged approach. When learning a new trick, I want a highly stable yoyo with lots of spin time so I can focus on the gross muscular movements that are necessary at first, and then work on refining once the basic motions are down. At that point, an unforgiving yoyo is a great way to clean up technique and “perfect” a trick. It is a simple “crawl before you walk, walk before you run” approach.


The worst of this is when people insist you should learn all your tricks on a wood fixed axle to get better “discipline”. :frowning_face:




the counterweight.



That is an excellent video and he makes some very valid points. While a lot of his arguments are subjective, especially when he talks about the shapes that he finds pleasing, one can’t deny that his opinions are well thought out and presented in a logical way.

One thing that stuck out to me is when he’s talking about the players he drew inspiration from, and he said “all these players came from an era where they learned on and played with yoyo’s that had often opposite qualities from most of the generic designs that we see today,” and then went on to basically say this was one of the reason’s for their organic style. I think one thing he’s not considering is that at the time these players did not have a choice. They played with the best yoyo’s that were available at that time, the bi-metal’s of that era if you will. Those players pushed the limits of what was possible with the designs they had to work with, and the same applies today as more difficult tricks are created using more advanced yoyo’s.

I would go as far as to say that had the players mentioned in the video had access to the yoyo’s of today, we would have seen even more tricks invented over the past 10 years.