Two ways of teaching...

Basically, there are two different ways on how to teach a beginner how to yoyo.
The first way is to learn how to throw properly on a ‘beginner’ responsive and rather high walled plastics, or even fixed axle, with the goal of learning as much of the control as possible. Of course this is with the understanding that these yoyos are normally more difficult hence they are not expected to learn overly complicated tricks with it. Keep in mind that ‘beginner’ yoyos in this case does not equal bad or crappy yoyos.
The second one is to learn straight on ‘the best technological advantage’ piece out there. Start yoyoing with high end unresponsive yoyos with the goal of making learning easier and faster. Maybe not technically high end like the expensive ones, but you get the point, learn on the good stuff to keep yourself from getting discouraged early on.
Personally I’m the first type person. I think the best way to learn yoyoing is to have a grasp on the basics and learn to have full control of the yoyo first, so in the end they can use any yoyo with ease and can start exploring new stuff easier. I feel like if you learn it on the easier yoyos right away, that actually only gives an illusion of control, I’m talking about tilt control and string positioning to prevent snagging, which is essential.
What do you think?


Personally I’m the first type of person as well, I think there are some proper techniques that are easier to learn on a responsive yoyo than as opposed to an unresponsive yoyo. Some of these would be throwing straight sleepers that are strong because you need it strong to execeute the trick, as opposed to unresponsive when you can throw a very weak sleeper and still have the yoyo spin. Plus as for me when I teach 8 yr olds how to yoyo I find they will tend to want to quit more often when learning on a unresponsive as opposed to a responsive.

I’m the first type as well. (full disclosure - when I started there was no such thing as “unresponsive”) Partly because it teaches you to be smooth. If you’re not, it’s going to snap back on you. I’ve got a couple of nephews that are getting pretty good, but they think 2a is stupid, because they are so used to being able to just throw as hard as they can that they can’t even make a responsive yoyo sleep. Also most of the people I’ve taught had an easier time because they said when learning a trapeeze or even a bind that throw-fail-tug it back, throw-fail-tug it back is less frustrating than throw-fail wind it back up by hand, throw-fail-wind it back up by hand. I’d feel differently if learning responsive first taught you some kind of bad habit or something, but to me it’s the opposite.

Without question, the best thing to do while teaching is to teach in a way that motivates the student to learn. If your student is bored and annoyed with “basic” responsive yoyoing, but their eyes light up when they see “modern” play, you have a clear answer about where to start.

I feel there is very little correlation between “learning the basics” and being smooth anyhow. In my opinion, this “learn the basics first” type of approach seems intuitive… it seems “right” to a lot of people, and so if it feels right and proper, they stick to it as a gospel truth.

But it’s counter to good pedagogy, which is that teaching becomes easier and learning comes at an accelerated pace when the student is motivated to learn.

If throwing down a yoyo, sleeping it (or rocking the baby or something), and getting it back to their hand puts a huge grin on their face (as it did mine!), it’s a great starting point. If they’re utterly bored or annoyed with responsive, but successfully hitting a bind makes them do a happy little jig (as it has done for some people I’ve taught), that’s the better starting point. Period.

I also feel this “one or the other” positioning is artificial. Give’em both. Teach both. When they get bored of rocking the baby and are motivated to learn to bind, they’ll do it. When they’re sick of winding the string because they can’t seem to hit that bind, they might switch back to the responsive and do some forward passes. I don’t see any reason on earth why someone can’t learn both at once.


Welcome to the forums!

Personally I’m a fan of teaching people on responsive, ball bearing yoyos. I think the fixed axel route is better but if I’m trying to teach someone on the fly, I’ll give them a ball bearing one to start on. It makes it a bit easier to begin for both them and me. This gives them enough sense of the basics without making them have to struggle too much. I give very younger kids fixed axels though.

I think the first way is better.

Actually I think the Best way to teach somebody to yoyo is a very simple but effective method>>

Sit them down first. Pace around the room for about 15 minutes. Do not make any attempt to smile or make any kind of eye contact.

Then; approach them directly; staring at them intensely from a distance of about 4 inches from their eyeballs.

Then; tell them this; in a very loud and forceful voice> Learning to Yoyo is a Mandatory skill in life. If you don’t or cant learn to yoyo; you will Never amount to anything. You will never get a good job. You will never own a nice car. You will never be able to negotiate a good deal on a home loan. You will never have more than two friends. And the only reason they will befriend you is because they feel sorry for you for being such a skill-less person.

Once the word gets out; Talent Shows with find out your mailing address and send you Last Place Trophies for not even showing up

You will regret every passing day of your life and then on your 120th Birthday; you will DIE screaming.

But nobody will hear you.


The End.

… on a more serious note; I think one of the best ways to get a person to learn to yoyo is to hand them any yoyo in good working condition and start them off with simple tricks within the scope of the yoyos’ potential functionality.

If you give them a fixed axle; make sure you have tuned it properly and put a fresh string cut to the proper length for the person learning.

Many times it is better to just hand them(as already mentioned) a responsive bearing yoyo. Responsive meaning; a bearing yoyo that does not require a bind but spins much longer than a fixed axle. I fully understand that some folks can crank out some sweet spin times with ‘fixed’. But in the hands of a person not possessing a darn good straight controlled throwdown; spin times are not very good. And some folks just lose their enthusiasm trying to get spin out of a fixed axle while learning a trick. A bearing yoyo many times allows the student to maneuver the yoyo and feel they have some control over the situation.

No spin throwdown frustration is not part of a productive learning experience.

Since most people ‘have’ internet access; its a simple matter to suggest they get the ‘mental ball rolling’ by visiting the Trick Learning option on the Yoyoexpert main page. Tell them to start with the Basics section and just casually watch tricks being done. For some folks; its a lot easier to wrap their brain around something; if they can see what it looks like when done correctly. The hands on combined with the ‘Visual’ has a good Synergistic effect. <> Its Called the, ‘Monkey see, Monkey do’ method.

I used to teach people how to paint cars… for over 20 years. I would give two hour lectures on every facet of Automotive preparation and painting. I would literally draw pictures in peoples’ minds…

Then I would have them literally come into the Spray booth with me. I would have test panels set up along the sides of the booth. I would start to paint the vehicle. Then… after a few panels; I would hand somebody the spray gun(to their surprise) and ask them to emulate my movements on one of the test panels. I never challenged anybody to paint ‘the Test car’. People learn at different speeds and intentially pressurizing somebody seldom yields good results. But putting them directly ‘inside’ the painting equation; is much more immersive than lecturing.

When I was learning to lecture; one thing was made very clear to me. Never speak ‘over’ your audience. No matter how skillful you are at the subject of the day. You may impress yourself with what you know. But you will lose your audience because they aren’t really there to hear your Resume. They are listening to learn what you may be able to teach them.

Throwing yoyos is no different. You just put a good yoyo in their hand and try to get them to learn even the easiest tricks to help them build some confidence. <> As I already mentioned; one of the most important things besides a good functional yoyo is a fresh string; cut to the ‘proper length’ for the kid that is learning.
… I honestly wish I had a dollar for every time Ive seen somebody attempting to learn yoyo tricks on strings waaaaaaaaay too long. And with people actually watching them and saying nothing.

Realize something that is a reality. Being a good yoyo player does not necessarily mean you can ‘teach people’ to yoyo. I know some pretty darn good yoyo players that have no effective method of getting somebody head wrapped around their suggestions.

No ‘one’ method is the best.

Yoyo clubs, yoyo meets, yoyo contests, etc.; sometimes a good fundamental way to expose folks to learning tricks without putting pressure on them. And the folks that cant attend those functions; can simply check out any of the many internet sites with very easy to understand videos.

Something like that…


My only wooden fixe… i want to take part in wooden February f8xed feb etc… what is a good wooden fir starter’s. Im not a beginner but i have 99% unresponsive throws

I’m pretty new too so feel free to take this with a grain of salt. I got a Legend Wing in a trade and absolutely loved it! Then I accidentally stepped on it. The biggest problems I had with the Legend Wing were picking out knots, and the fragility. Then I really wanted one that I could take apart if I couldn’t pick out a knot TMBR makes the ones that can be easily taken apart. I’ve seen that a middle weight fixie can be better for rookies versus one on the heavier or lighter side. I bought an oak TMBR Carlson on the BST and thought it was too heavy, so I bought a lighter cherry TMBR Morrow and a medium weight walnut TMBR Irving 2019. The Morrow and Irving are coming tomorrow so I can’t speak to them. I’ve kind of been on a responsive yoyo bender lately because I am thrilled to be learning a whole new skill set.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

1 Like

I use method 3, a bit of a compromise of 1 and 2. I started method 1 but frustration with cheap yoyo was a bit too high for me. I didn’t want to jump completely to method 2. I wanted to start with responsive, but with quality. Thus, I started doing better when I traded my Replay for a One Drop Deep State. After a few months I noticed that my throw was getting better and I could get more out of the cheap yoyos.

Anyway, a system of working on basics while minimizing frustration. Learning the responsive tricks before moving to unresponsive. Getting reward and enjoyment while pushing to learn more.

1 Like

the beatings will continue until morale improves!


When i started i immediately used unresponsive yoyos. The bind was the first trick i learned. Whenever i try to show a friend how to yoyo, it’s always “ok, the first thing you need to learn is a bind”.

My way of learning…Grabbed a red Duncan Imperial at KB Toys when at the mall, dribbled it a couple of times until I realized that it was free-spinning at the end of the string. I tried the proper throw and got it back up to the hand and tried it again to see if I could make it sleep. When that happened, I was then walking the dog. This was all while I was still at the mall visiting all of the “boring stores” that my parents wanted to visit after my stop at KB toys. All I had to go off of was the instructions on the back of the package on how to properly throw. Many months ahead, it was learning from a book from the school library and finally a VHS tape.

The jump to unresponsive came via trial and error. I had purchased a Duncan Freehand and played it a ton that week brushing back up on stuff I learned as a kid (up to trapeze) and was learning my side throw that I failed learning when I was younger. The pads wore fast and not knowing that they were wearing, I was trying to find different ways to get it to come back up and that’s when I figured out how to bind. Eventually the pads lost all of their grip. I ended up going back to Toys R Us down the road and picked up a Pocket Pros Zombie which at the time had more reliable response system to learn on. YYE came to be my go-to for learning tricks when picking back up yoyoing (which stopped after the boom in the 90s).

The best way as of late for me to pick up a trick is seeing it in its entirety, and a somewhat slowed down version of it. I tend to pause the video and use the < > keys to frame-by-frame the video if need be. I get lost when a video does sequential steps, each starting at the very beginning and long pauses between steps as I try to memorize what they are doing. Too long of a gap between = memory failure :slight_smile:

1 Like