Visually Impaired/Blind Yo-Yo Beginner, advice wanted please

 Hello everyone. I am pretty much blind. I can see color, blobs, things like that. I was born leagally blind but several weeks a go my eyes took a turn for the worse. Now, that being typed....I am curious about the skill/hobby/fun of the yo-yo and tops. I see there is a section on the forum for tops, so I will stick with the yo-yo here. 
 I know nothing about a yo-yo. Do you need good eyes to enjoy and have fun with a yo-yo or is it more about feel and touch? There are so many brands and styles out there, so where would a total beginner start? Do you get a bsic yo-yo like a Duncan Imperial or get something better so to speak? My goal is to have fun, not to compete in a contest. I want to have an inexpensive hobby as a blind person and also share this with my soon to be four year old daughter.....thinking she might enjoy it as well. I can not read the trick books and can listen to the videos, so do you really NEED those to learn the skill of the yo-yo? Thank you for the help with this. My goal here is to buy a bang for the buck yo-yo or two, value for the money.....not the cheapest "toy" or the best competition yo-yo out there. Does that make sense? Thank you for the help.

really awesome story bro :smiley: it does make it eaisier to see the tutorials and the yoyo, but at least 60% of the time i dont even have time to look. its plain instinct. i will admit it might be hard. ok VERY hard for you to start of in your yoyo journey.but once you figure out how to bind (you feel the bind, not look at it) youll be fine. also it might be a good idea to have a friend learn with you so he can help you position the string or help you feel your way through tricks. good luck and have fun!

If you are starting out I would suggest something responsive because Binding is tricky to learn even if you can see perfectly.

You may look into looping because I would think it wouldn’t be quite as hard to learn since it’s not a whole lot of wiving in and out unless you get to an advanced level.

You could try String tricks as well but it may take a while to learn. It’s hard to judge when I don’t know quite how well you can see.

If you want to try the basics of both you may pick up a Duncan Pro Z because you can switch it from a string trick yoyo to a looper yoyo.

Just make sure you pick up some string. I’d suggest a blend of poly and cotton so it works okay for both styles.

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I would be concerned as you progress. A lot of tricks need to be seen from multiple perspectives to learn it and then do it.

You may also want to stick with a bright string and a bright contrasting colored yoyo. Not to be cheap, but once you learn to bind, I’m thinking pink string with the yellow Asteroid might be a good way to go as the colors are very different, which may help with things.

I also agree with starting responsive, but I recommend that for anyone, sighted or otherwise.

I also think that your initial progress will be fine, as most people are. I think you’ll struggle once you get to stuff like double or nothing, but you can feel getting that right. Then the Matrix, which will be a hassle but you’ll get. I think progress through intermediate will have some issues but I think you’ll just push through those and get it. Advanced, I think given enough patience, you can get it. Advanced II: sure, but I think maybe Magic Drop will be one of those that kicks your butt hard. After that, I think it’s really a matter of finding the right colored items that work for you.

Remember, string comes in many different colors, and so do many yoyos. While you may stick with plastics for a lot longer, there’s some amazing plastics, so no worries. When it comes to metals, the new spinning shots YYE provides may help you choose colorways, plus there are some solids as well.

Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do. Some of your progress may be slow, but you can progress!

It would help you immensely if you live somewhere with a yoyo club or can meet a new friend in person who can help you learn. Honestly, video tutorials are a big part of trick progression for people like me who don’t know many fellow yoyo players in real life.


Yes I think you could I would start out with a light up freehand by duncan there perfect for beginners, but there one of my favorite yoyos they light up so there easy to see they spin long. I can yoyo with my eyes closed so as long as you could tell where the yoyo is by the weight of it. If you get good at the yoyo and do some really awsome tricks that would be very inspiring. It may be hard to learn but once you have them down it’s simple. I saw a video of a guy yoyoing with 3 fingers on each hand so it’s not imposible. It will be frustrating at first, but once you have it it’s easy. :slight_smile: ;D

I think looping would probably be your best bet. It seems to be more about feel and less about precision imo. I’d buy a pair of loop 900s and some 50/50 string and have at it

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if you just want fun, get a few looping yoyos, and about a hundred pack of cotton string. you don’t need to see to loop, and it is a lot of fun and very rewarding once you get good at it.

People get hit with yoyos even when they can see because thats part of yoyoing lol ;D. I’d say there is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to yoyo. You know your strengths and limitations better than we do and the very fact that you are asking suggests to me that this is definitely possible for you. I mean really, if I can hit myself in the head with a yo why shouldn’t you be able to enjoy the same pain? :wink: I’m not going to deprive anyone of that!

There are some things you might want to consider as mentioned prior in this thread. However, I might add a few things:

Maybe what works for us doesn’t work for you. There are yoyos that are larger and softer than the ones most of us use. A rubber or siliconed rimmed yoyo might save some lumps. These yoyos are capable of most any trick!

Also some yoyos are made to whistle, bearings can be ran dry so they make noise, and some yoyos kind of work as a resonating chamber for the bearing, magnifying a sweet little tone. Hybrid responses also make their own noise. Options, options, options!

If you want to yo, you can. I have no doubt. You may have to discover your own path but what creative explorer doesn’t?

Awesome. Welcome to the community. :slight_smile:


don’t let your difficulties with seeing dissuade you from yo-yoing. like nearly anything that requires motor coordination, the ability to see and react quickly is a big benefit (and one that a lot of us take for granted). that said, pretty much my favorite thing about yo-yoing is how the string FEELS against a wood axle in trapeze or the THWACK of a big fly-away dismount against your palm. there’s so much to yo-yoing besides the visual, and if the right person were motivated to try, i bet it could mean some really creative play.

most of the pros i know don’t need to look at their tricks to hit them consistently. a lot of them can even come up with new elements while closing their eyes or looking up into the air. but those guys started out by looking at the yo-yo.

the difficulty is in beginning. yo-yoing has a steep learning curve, even for sighted players. i would get a few different types of yo-yo’s. some loopers, some bind-return plastics. work for hours on just learning to throw sleeper and call it back to the hand or learning how to throw a forward pass or breakaway and catch it. meet up with a local player or go to a contest and ask someone to help you figure out how binds or trapeze are supposed to feel.

while you obviously have a great disadvantage in some respects, to my mind you also have an opportunity. so many yo-yoers get into this idiotic race to shed their ‘beginner’ tag as quickly as possible. you have players who are 3 months in claiming they’re an ‘expert’ because that’s where they are on the trick list. you will not progress in the same way and in the same dimensions as most players, and that’s a great thing. you will have a beginning. it might even feel like a long beginning sometimes. but if you stick with it, you’ll have no choice but to invent tricks based on their tactile information. what feels natural to you in trick composition will be completely fresh to someone like me, who is utterly dependent upon their eyes. that might take YEARS… but it SHOULD… for all of us. and when you get to the point where you’re coming up with your own stuff, there will be no option but for it to be totally original. you won’t play like anybody, which when you’ve been around, is among the best things anyone can say about you.

i don’t know you from adam and i don’t know what it’s like to be almost totally blind. but i’ve been playing yo-yo for long enough to know that yo-yoing’s visual element is not the only one of value, and i would love to know where someone who processes spatial information so differently from most of us could take it. if there’s ever anyway i can help you, hit me up.


Thanks for sharing your story with us and welcome to the community.

I would like to start off that it’s a good thing you still have some vision even if it’s just with colors.

Now on to the advice:

Yes, yo-yoing with poor eyesight might be a little bit more difficult for you compared to other people but if you take all your life experience and put them together then you should be okay. I truly recommend watching tutorials with Voice-Over tutorials cause it will help a lot. You also now wanna train that imagination of yours.

With yo-yos, I truly recommend like Studio42 said, to get really bright colored string, maybe Orange, Yellow, or Pink, maybe Bright Green. For yo-yo, I truly recommend getting a yo-yo that is responsive (comes up on a tug) but will eventually become unresponsive enough where you have to learn to bind. Binds become second nature and you won’t have to even look. With that, I recommend something like a Duncan Pro-Z or the Yoyojam Pinnacle. Duncan Pro-Z allows you to experiment with looping and string trick style. The Yoyojam Pinnacle, I tried it once and it was a weird yo-yo. It’s always responsive enough to be pulled on a tug yet it’s designed to also be an advanced unresponsive enough yo-yo for you to learn to bind and learn advanced tricks.

Good luck!

Heres what Id suggest for learning 1a:
Step one: Get a nice fullsized bright solid color yoyo (which one is a seperate topic but preferably a nice stable one with long spin times)
Step two: whoever is helping you read this should help you with learning how to bind. Have them watch a video from YYE or something and then guide your hands. Id suggest learning trapeze first. But you could learn the standard bind if trapeze doesnt work out, the trapeze bind is faster, and once you get the feel of it becomes muscle memory.
Step three: find a dark colored rug that contrasts the color of your yoyo (because you can see colors according to your post) and just start swinging the yoyo around your fingers and landing it on the string, just keep experimenting and trying to get a feel for the yoyo. Listen to the tutorials on YYE and see if you can figure any of the tricks out.
After that I dont know how to help because the advanced tricks are gonna be hard, id suggest that you try and make up your own tricks.
Good luck and have fun!

 Thank you all for the kind words, encouragement, and advice. I am on a fixed income so I want to be smart about what I purchase and I want to get the best value that I can. Right now I am on medical leave/withdrawal from my online college classes at Liberty University. I am waiting for assistance from my states dept for the blind to learn how to do normal things in life again with blindness. This being said, I have more free time on my hands not having to study for tests and type papers and such. I can be outside learning to yo yo while my daughter is blowing bubbles or playing with the dog, or on the play ground, etc. I am looking forward to this journey.

:slight_smile: May it serve you well. I would definitely take up Ed on that offer if you have anymore questions.

Just wanted to say that I read through this topic with interest. A couple of weeks ago I was approached by a women who works with the visually impaired in Chicago. She was very interested in having me come to her group and teach yo-yoing. We havn’t decided on a date yet, but it got me thinking of the best ways to start teaching how to yo-yo with someone who is visually impaired. After some thought, I’m thinking that a Yomega Brain may be a good first yo-yo, due to the clutch system having a unique feel when it engages. Does anybody else have any thoughts on this?

My issue with the clutch-system yoyos is tied to age and strength. Too young and they can’t throw it hard enough, period. Once they can get over that hurdle, they are fine. The good thing is it can teach not only proper throw, but throwing hard enough to disengage the clutch to get it to sleep.

Otherwise, Duncan Butteryflys are good, ProZ’s are great, Imperials are fun. Going for a bit fuller function, you can stick in the under $12 market, which can include the Fast201, ONE, still with the ProZ(in either configuration) and many other low-cost yet fun modified shapes. It seems the YYJ Classic is also targeting this market. The new Duncan Butterfly XT is great IF you don’t clean the bearing because then it goes rather unresponsive and is just too darn light.

Note I don’t recommend the YYF WHIP for beginners because it requires a bind. That’s not to say not to have one in your case of trial yoyos.

One thing I wonder about has been touched on is in regards to string color and yoyo color. Some people may be more visually impaired than others. Having a bright string may help a lot, coupled with having a yoyo that is also bright yet a contrasting color. While this limits some options, it doesn’t totally kill things. Thank goodness for the wide variety of colors with plastic yoyos!

 I did take Ed up on his offer and asked him for his advice and help. He is working with me via PM  right now and we have typed a couple of times. He is also working on putting together for me a package to get me started. I am excited about this and also very grateful. Yoj know in regards to blindness, back in 2006 when I was at a school for the blind, I met a guy who was from NY and he showed me how to play billiards with low vision. The guy walked with a cane to get around and could look at me and not look at the table at all other than to get a picture and he could run the table. He taught me that billiards is nothing more than geometry and psychics. I have never seen him again but because of what he showed me....I learned to play my own game of pool and became decent at it over time.

Hey, welcome!

In my daytime life I work as a therapist and often that means working with patients with visual impairments. I’ve seen some patients do so many amazing things that I would have thought impossible. I even have patients who are so adept that you can’t tell they are nearly blind…they function that well! This is surely one of those things that can be learned with some compensatory strategies…many of which you have already either learned or have just begun using because they work for you. One of those things that you already have done is recognizing that bright colors help you out a great deal. All things considered a bright yoyo, probably nothing undersized for obvious reasons is going to help out as is brightly colored, thick string such as Toxic BG’s. Bright lighting is going to help you out as well. Practice outside when the weather is nice and when indoors use the same room with good lighting and in front of a wall that helps the yoyo and string standout…so wallpapered walls with patterns are definitely not going to help you here.

In learning any sort of string tricks…if I were working with you I would more than likely work on “hand over hand” techniques which basically just mean that I would help you learn the movements by moving your arms and hands in the right direction building on this and then incorporating the yoyo to fine tune the movements. To compensate for the lack of visual acuity patients often do really well with this technique and learn more by the “kinesthetics” or “feel” of a movement. Your best bet is to learn with your entire body.

Where are you located? If your in NJ or nearby I would be more than happy to lend a hand and help in any way I can!

You can do this! Don’t let this impairment stop you and be persistent!

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