What am a doing wrong?

I have been yo-yoing for three years so far. But I feel like I only have the skill of someone who has played for one. Am I doing something wrong? What can I do to step up my game?

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Don’t worry about other players, learn the tricks you want to learn. If you really want to get better I would work hard on learning a new trick outside your comfort zone. Find someone in your area that yo-yos as well.

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You’re not alone! I taught my neighbor to throw almost 2 years ago and he is far beyond skills than me even though I crossed into intermediate in 2018. I just do ME and learn at my own pace and learn or practice what is interesting to ME. A lot of the advanced stuff he does is not of interest to me to learn anyway. All that matters to me is that I am way better than I was last year.

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Love to hear you really want to take your skills to the next level. If you want to improve at a faster rate there are a few things you can do. The first thing is obviously yo-yo more often. Let’s say you and another guy both started yoyoing 3 years ago but you only throw 1 hour a day and he throws 3, he will be able to learn more in the same 3 years. The 2nd thing you can do is learn more tricks more often. The more you learn the easier all of your old tricks will become. If you start learning a new trick and can’t get it after a few days… Leave the trick where you get it to and move on to a new trick. Sometimes a trick is just beyond your skills at the time… Learn more then circle back to the trick that gave you trouble. Once you learn a new trick spend some time getting as many reps in as you can to work on building muscle memory.

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Get smooth at one trick at a time. 10 smooth tricks are better than 20 sloppy.

Edit: Mable pointed out a downside to this, and I see the point. But with limited time, you need to pick and choose what you like, something you see potentially working into combos. Memorizing about 20 steps in a trick just doesn’t work for me, 2-3 solid elements will have use later.

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This is sage advice for improvement imo. Just learning as many tricks as possible will be far more beneficial to your overall yoyo skillset than just having a handful of tricks smoother. Don’t only learn tech, don’t only practice speed, don’t only practice slack elements, don’t avoid horizontal. Try to just learn everything and learn as much as possible. Spending all of your time on just a single trick seems to wall a lot of people when they’re trying to progress. To me being a good yoyoer includes being good at everything.

Don’t forget to have fun though, I think it gets glossed over sometimes but grinding practice and improvement to be good at something is fun to certain people. If it’s fun for you awesome, because it is for me. It’s fun to be good at things, especially yoyo where the better you get, just straight up the more you’re able to do and explore with the toy.

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With this too I would also encourage people to explore different styles. Playing 0A and 2A has helped me progress in my 1A so much just based on the control that you gain from having to learn a new way to yoyo. You learn a lot of yoyo mechanics that you otherwise wouldn’t learn and be able to apply if just playing one style.

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Thanks for the input.

Definitely, one thing you’ll notice is that a lot of top players are proficient in more than one style even if they don’t compete in others.

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This is what helped me progress a little faster. Is this something you do? You’ll find that you come back to a trick and BAM, you hit it first try.

Do you keep track of what you’ve leaned? Spreadsheet or notebook? I can’t keep track of all of it in my head.

Do you have someone to play with? I feel like groups get along a lot faster because of the obvious style differences.

What kind of equipment do you have? I “learn” new stuff on the same yo-yo and when I’m ready, I’ll play with a more challenging piece to see if I can get through the trick.

What is your source for new tricks? Find someone’s teaching style you like. The “trick a week” here is helpful. While I don’t get all of them, I pull “elements” from each to play with.

Do you play to music? Metronome?

Keep it fun!

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I always suggest learning the trick ladder. When you learn the tricks on the ladder you actually are learning so many basic elements that it becomes easier, later on, to learn all those tricks you see in vids. In addition, the tricks are shorter, the success greater, and the fun is there to motivate you.

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I also feel like I just don’t spend enough time throwing. With school and swim practices taking up all of my time I barely have any time to throw. That is probably part of it.

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I think this helps a lot, it definitively records progress you’ve made and can remind you of any you might forget about learning. I’ve been keeping track in a note on my phone because I set a goal for myself to learn at least 12 tricks this year (at least one a month) and I definitely would’ve forgotten I learned some if I hadn’t done this lol; it’s also really satisfying to move one from the “In-progress” section to the “learned” section :relieved:

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I see your point, and maybe I tend to agree with you. When I started piano, I loaded the bases with LOTS of music and worked my way through it. Some said that’s not the way, start smaller and perfect.

But the result is I’ve become a decent sight reader.

I will say, it’s good to mess around with a trick, find your own variations and make it your own. Work with it before moving on, come back and explore,

Depends on what OPs goal with yoyo is really, and also how good they already are.

I just kind of assumed that this was more geared to getting better with a competition minded approach, and that they’re at a beginner/intermediate skill level since they didn’t specify. If you’re at that skill level, I don’t think it’s beneficial to spend time looking for variations if your goal is just to progress. If you find it fun, then it’s worth it do do, because it will ultimately progress your skills and you’re still learning stuff while exploring variations. You’re just now choosing to learn things on your own slowly through trial and error, rather than just following the instruction of other people on what already works. I’m just recommending the more efficient path.

Just messing around trying to find variations of tricks before you have a deeper trick library and understanding of what you can actually do from certain string formations just isn’t that conducive to fast progress. You’d just be creating additional work for yourself, by trying to figure out stuff on your own that you would most likely learn from other people anyway while just grinding away at learning more tricks.

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I think each finds their own way to some degree, and enjoyment tops all. I didn’t say finding variations to the exclusion of anything, just exploring ideas, it’s the creative part. Exploring things makes it your own, reinforces and aids memory. But we are all different, and I won’t assume anything.

I don’t think your advice is bad or anything. I just think there’s a reason why you see so many kids who are absolutely insane at yoyo while a lot of the older crowd seems to plateau very hard with their skillset. Just grinding learning as many tricks as possible will actually take you so far. Yoyoing is both an artform and a sport, and generally when people ask for advice like this I’m assuming they’re looking at it from the sport angle.

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I agree with Mable. I progressed a lot and I did that by learning as many tricks as possible. I skipped the part of trial and error and working out new elements on my own by watching tutorials and other peoples yoyo performances and then trying to do what they do.

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Yeah man, learning new playstyles is so good. It will open your horizon so much and it makes the entire hobby more fun and rich in variety.

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Have a great week everyone.

I have been throwing on and off since 1990’s this last 3 years has been my best trick progression. I am an intermediate player.

Tricks working on:
I hit these tricks 1 out of every 10 times after about 2 months of practice, 1-2 hours a day not consecutive practice time. When ever I can.

  1. Rejection reverse green triangle to green triangle ( Diego B )
  2. Slack drop rejection reverse green triangle to green triangle ( EOS44 / Mk1yoyos )

This has been true for me when learning tricks. Quality time practicing = Quality performance.

That being said with most of us having to live outside the yo-yo expert forum and have other responsibilities like family and jobs. The Quality time for practice may come at a very steep premium that we may not be able to invest as often as need to keep up with expectations on progress.

My personal progress is slow due to lack of quality time to invest practice and I believe also because I like to throw so many different types of throws with many different weights and shapes. I understand and accept this. So for me when frustration sets in, I evaluate these aspects first and try to adjust.
I may throw a single throw same weight same shape for a few weeks to get it down then move to other weighted and shaped throws. If I get jammed up on a trick, I move in to another trick, then return to the older trick when the new trick progress has become stagnant.

I also think of those that are masters of the
yo-yo arts are a lot like jazz musicians the way some of the really talented throwers make me think of Monk, Mingus, and Coltrane. They have a language that they speak with instrument that is there own.

I am humbled when I listen to jazz, I could only dream of being able to play like the jazz masters ( I really need to get the trumpet out and practice )
It is the same way, I am humbled when I watch someone who is so in tune with the flow, speed and power of their throw, like it is their own language, like the throw is an extension of them selves. The time that it takes to master anything in this way is enormous.

So I am a realist. I have learned yo-yo tricks that bring me joy and try to remember that when I get frustrated.

I am trying to be a bit more snarky so here is my attempt at that with this subject.

For some people that do not understand the first sentiment in this post.
Quality practice = Quality performance

It may be because we ( the world ) seem to have a large group of individuals that believe because they shop and buy things at a store that supplies equipment for a specific activity they have been bewitched with the skill to do what ever discipline of activity the store sold equipment to perform.

I am an outdoors man because, I shop at REI and Bass Pro, but won’t put in the time to seek out a good camping spot. Then wonder why the camping trip was hard.
I am an Runner because, I shop at ■■■■’s Sporting Goods and Athlete’s Foot, but won’t stretch and before and after races. Then wonders why the race was hard.

I try to keep my expectations in check and appreciate and enjoy those that are amazing at this thing I love to attempt to do.

Sometimes I enjoy just watching a throw spin.

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