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Backhands, rim throws, and 5 years of futility

About 5 years later I still can’t throw 2 diabolos up in the air consistently with a right backhand throw to start 3 diabolos high. It’s certainly not from a lack of practice. Sometimes it’s fine, but often 1 comes off my fingers a bit differently, often sticking a bit, and goes flying far one way or the other.

Practicing with Arjan who uses the same throw start I noticed that the same thing happens to him sometimes – not nearly as often and mostly with 4d – but it’s still not 100% reliable and we’ve both put in an insane amount of time over the years.

Then I got thinking: the 2 people that seem to have gotten the most reliable 4d start in the least amount of time seem to be Jacob and a French guy, who seems to revel in anonymity, who are both using a rim hold start. Tony used a rim start when he was working at 4 for a while too. This seems to be followed closely by (or exactly the same as) the under the diabolo toss (JiBe style). A number of people have learned 4d high reasonably quickly like that. Yes, I’m looking at you Israeli kids and teenagers! This technique has the obvious advantage of starting the diabolos in the proper trajectory and making collisions easier to avoid at the expense of a reduction in initial spin.

Now as far as I can tell, the people using a dominant backhand start (or even non-dominant backhand start like Ryo) have put in a disproportionate amount of practice time compared to their success. I’m thinking of Ryo, Priam, and Arjan here, who have all put in incredible amounts of practice time (heck, they’re all full-time-diaboloists) and yet have learned 4d at what I would consider a more “reasonable” worldly pace.

So, after 5 years of frustrating lack of consistency with my start I finally decided to seriously try some other starts. Within about 20 minutes my rim cup throw start (dominant hand) had surpassed my backhand start in terms of reliability. It’s easy to throw diabolos straight and consistently that way.

I’m starting to think that the backhand throw start is simply a (slightly) inferior technique. I don’t mean it’s not possible, but that it’s slightly slower to execute, slightly more finicky about technique, and takes longer to perfect. Mostly it just takes longer to wrap your hand consistently around an axle then it does to grab a rim or stick your hand under a diabolo. Not a huge deal with 3, but when people’s limits get pushed with 4, it shows… and my limits seem to be pushed at 3 with this start.

The one thing that’s always held me back from the rim throw start is that I find it really hard to throw a consistently flat and straight diabolo that way. Although I can make a perfect lowish throw by holding the rim, my high throws are always super wobbly.

This brings me to my main question directed at those of you who have perfected this technique: How exactly do you hold the diabolo, how do you release it, and what are you thinking about when you do this? Photos anyone?

I suppose a second question would be: Have any of you noticed anything similar with the various throw starts, their ease, their consistency, and their rapidness of learning?


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Edit – as Crackers suggested, here are some photos to clarify the starts I am discussing:

In order: Rim throw, Backhand throw, Under the diabolo/underhand throw.

Rim throw

Backhand throw

Underhand throw