Quite simply a yoyo is a toy consisting of two equally weighted discs of wood, plastic, or metal, connected by an axle, which is then connected to a string. A loop knot is used to connect the string to the axle allowing the yo-yo to ‘sleep’ when thrown. The other end of the string is connected to the middle finger.
Yo-Yos date back to nearly 400-500 bc where the Greeks used them for the exact same purpose they are used for today, entertainment. In the 1990’s yo-yoing saw a major resurgences of popularity. Now every year in Florida yo-yo contests are held, where the best of the best are pitted against one another.
Who’s the Best?
Gentry Stein, practiced 6-8 hours per day for an entire year to be the best at yoyo. He won the world championship in 2014 and 2019. But his accolades don’t stop there. He won the 1A division title of the U.S. National Yo-Yo Contest in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2019. This dude is legit – some may say the best yoyo trickster out there! Check out this awesome video from Wired.
Are you inspired to pick up a yoyo and begin a new hobby? Unlikely you can commit 8 hours to becoming a yoyo champion but you can certainly learn a few yoyo tricks and have fun ‘walking the dog’ or ‘rocking the baby’. The great thing about yoyo as a hobby is you can do them indoors or outdoors. They are cheap and take up hardly any space. It’s a perfect hobby to create a not-so boring life!
Beginner YoYo Tricks To Wet Your Appetite
Watching and then practicing is the fastest way to learn to yoyo. The below video is a professional showing you some very basic tricks, but then builds on those basic skills to create very complex yoyo tricks. This video is 30 minutes, so just focus on the first 4-5 levels to see the beginner tricks. Over the weekend, you will have mastered these levels.
You’ve now seen the best and 4 or 5 tricks that you can easily learn in an afternoon. Now you just need a new yoyo. Keep reading to help find a beginner yoyo.
Best YoYo for Beginners
Responsive or Unresponsive YoYos
If you’re a beginner you want a responsive yoyo. Basically that means when you pop your wrist, the yoyo is coming back up.
When you’re ready to take your tricks to the next level go with an unresponsive yoyo. There really isn’t a great option to have a single yoyo that can switch between the two. Some models allow you to swap bearings or lubrications to switch between responsive and unresponsive, but you’re a beginner. Keep it simple.
There are 3 basic shapes. For the beginner, go with the butterfly. It is much easier to land the yoyo on the string.
This shaped yo-yo is where it all began. It is also known as the imperial, traditional, or classic shape. The classic shape is characterized by the narrow string gap and is known to be the best looping yo-yo of all three shapes. It is by far my favorite as they are sleek and fit well in the palm of the hand not to mention your pocket so you can have your yoyo handy at all times.
The butterfly yo-yo is essentially the classic shaped yo-yo but its been inverted. This gives the butterfly a very wide string gap and makes it extremely easy to land back on the string which is essential for doing many yo-yo tricks. It’s not a bad idea to start with the butterfly while you’re learning tricks so the frustration factor doesn’t set it. These types of yoyo’s won’t fit in your pocket as easily as a classic yoyo but is certainly worth considering for a beginner.
The modified yo-yo is also known as the Modern or Proyo shape. Its really a combination of both the classic and butterfly shaped yo-yos. The rounded rims make for a smooth landing back on the string and its slim profile make to a breeze for looping tricks. The best feature of this shape is its additional weight which increases the sleep time up to 8 minutes in some cases!
Yo-Yo Axle Types:
Beginners, you’re best bet is a transaxle or ball bearing axle.
Fixed axle yo-yos have absolutely no moving parts. The axle spins on the string. They were traditionally made out of wood or plastic and generally found on only the classic shaped yo-yo.
The transaxle yo-yo has outer and inner parts which move independently from each other. Simply speaking the outer part is the transaxle which spins around the inner fixed axle. The string is then connected to the outer axle. This configuration gives the yo-yo good sleeping characteristics, making tricks easier than the fixed axle yo-yo. Transaxle yo-yos excel at sleeping and string tricks.
Ball bearing yo-yos are similar to fixed axle yo-yos but it used ball bearing between the inner and outer axles. This type of yo-yo is more responsive and better for looping tricks.
These type of yo-yos have a transaxle and a clutch built right into them. This gives them the ability to spin at high speeds, but as it slows down the clutch kicks in and returns the yo-yo back up the string before its out of momentum. The most common clutch transaxle yo-yo is the brain or power brain yo-yo. They essentially do the work for you.
Buying a Beginner YoYo:
This yoyo has a simple swap between responsive and unresponsive. Aluminum. Butterfly. Ball bearing axle. It boasts over 5000 almost 5-star reviews on amazon! This is just about the most popular yoyo on Amazon.
Duncan Imperial – $8.99
Duncan popularized yo-yos with this model. They come in ever color under the sun. Plastic body. Great for kids first yoyo.
Yomega Power Brain – $14.99
This yo-yo contains a smooth, piston-like 4-way synchronized clutch system that engages simultaneously. It delivers prolonged spin time and super smooth automatic returns. It’s the most advanced auto return technology ever created. With the PowerBrain(TM), Yomega(R) proves once again that it crushes the learning curve in yo-yo play.
Buying Intermediate Yoyos
Duncan Road Runner – $23
For only $23 you can find some pretty advanced unresponsive yoyos to take your tricks to the next level. These are aluminum body and butterfly shaped for advanced string tricks.
Thank you for stopping by and checking out this hobby. We have a huge list of hobbies and hope you’ll find something to scratch the itch. Learning how to yo-yo can be a super simple, fun, and entertaining hobby that you can enjoy almost anywhere.