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3 Diabolo High Notes

The Diabolo from A to Z:
“French and English missionaries and political envoys brought these strange objects back to Europe, named by an unknown erudite “Diaballo” (later diabolo) from the Greek roots “dia” meaning across, and “ballo” meaning throw.”

The name itself says exactly what the diabolo is about — at least in high patterns — to throw across. That was the original intention of the diabolo. It’s the first trick most people learn. The simple throw of a single diabolo. For a high pattern, it’s essential that you can make a controlled throw at any height.

Basic Training
This is the most important basic training exercise to warm up any high session and calibrate your throws: Start from a normal stance and body position, diabolo spinning on the string, and throw it in a controlled circle at a low height, just above the chest. Catch the diabolo, moving your feet, upper body, and arms as little as possible. Throw again. Repeat the throws perfectly for perhaps 10 times in a row and then move to progressively higher heights (2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 diabolo siteswap height).

Now Spin!
Now the second exercise, pirouettes. I’m not going to discuss pirouette technique. I will assume you have done some research into the subject and are able to execute a single, double and maybe even triple pirouette suitable for any kind of juggling. It’s the most logical thing to do under a throw of a diabolo, so it’s an excellent exercise to expand your high diabolo vocabulary. Throw a single diabolo, spot the diabolo, perform a pirouette (or more) and stop spinning, catch the diabolo. Repeat, repeat, repeat…

And the Start…
For the third exercise: simple hand throws. Your preferred method will do but don’t be scared to try out others from time to time, just for your own good. Hand throw a diabolo and catch it effortlessly in the string. You need to be able to do this perfectly to start 2, 3, or 4 high. Throws should be built up to at least 4 high height and done with setups for several numbers (1, 2, 3, 4 diabolos).

Putting it Together
These 3 exercises are, in my opinion, the very basis of high diabolo practice. But, you can warm up and practice basic stuff all you want — you still have to do it. Perhaps you are working towards 3 diabolos high. What must actually happen to make it work?

  • It usually starts with 2 throws by hand with a 3rd diabolo spinning in the string. Of course you could start any other way you like, but this is just the most basic one.
  • Spot and step under the pattern.
  • Throw the first diabolo out of the string and into the pattern.
  • Then throw the next perfectly, and the next perfectly, and so on.
  • You can apply this method to any trick – you must first understand how it should work.

    At all stages it helps to analyze what you are doing consistently wrong. Work on these aspects separately or with fewer complications and then try again.

    On Throwing and Catching
    These need to be as consistent as possible: in the correct plane, in the correct direction, with the correct rhythm, and with the correct height. If the throws are perfect, there is no energy or time lost in unnecessary actions such as walking or running for diabolos.

    These notes form the basis of high diabolo training. There are an infinite number of variations, patterns, and other ways to manipulate high diabolos. However, you can always come back to the basics for steady technique development and apply these techniques to the training of more complicated variations.

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