Entries Tagged 'Beginner tips' ↓

Quality vs. Quantity

I see a lot of this in the diabolo community:

I’ve been doing diabolo for a year and I still can’t do trick X!
I could do that trick after three months, it’s not that hard.

There are three things that bother me about this:
1. A month of diaboloing for one person is practicing two hours per day, every day of the week. For another, it’s only an hour maybe twice a week. Clearly the first person has practiced much more in that same month.

2. People have different practicing methods. I’m not going into much detail with this, but people practice in different ways and different methods have different results.

3. Tricks vs. style and technique

The main emphasis of this article is on the third point. Many people seem to think that pulling off some really difficult trick is a sign of progress. This is often not true.

Lets consider the following statement: “If person A can’t do trick X at his sixth month of diaboloing, he or she hasn’t progressed as much as person B who could already do it after five months.” This is problematic.

I think that there’s too much emphasis on individual tricks rather than style and technique. What I mean is that some people try learning new tricks as fast as they can without caring about their style or technique. An easy trick done with style and good technique often looks much better than a really hard trick done badly. Of course it’s great to be able to pull off some really hard tricks, but that’s not everything. Style and technique are also part of your repertoire. It’s not just tricks that you should practice it’s also the way you do them.

Sometimes, instead of learning new tricks, you could try to polish what you already have. That’s another way of being creative — take an easy trick that’s not innovative or creative at all and make it your own with your style.

It’s not always tricks that show real progress — often it’s style and technique. I’ll quote a contact juggler: “Make easy tricks look beautiful and difficult tricks look easy”. This also applies to diabolo. I didn’t write this article to tell you to stop learning new tricks, I just wanted to show a different point of view. Keep on diaboloing!

Discuss this article.

Spin rate & string length

This week, I’ve got a few beginner tips to share. They may seem obvious to many experienced diaboloists, but I’ve had to explain them numerous times, so I thought I’d write ‘em down here. I hope they’re useful, even if you’re not a beginner anymore!

It’s the spin
The speed a diabolo spins at is important to consider. After all, the amount of spin defines the stability and control of what you’re doing. Tricks that speed up the diabolo, should begin with little speed. A fast spinning diabolo getting sped up is harder to control. Vice versa, tricks that slow the diabolo down should begin with a lot of speed or the diabolo will lose its balance and eventually fall off or tangle.

Symmetry? Not necessarily.
The length of your string is also important to keep in mind. I don’t mean the string length from your left to right stick. I’m talking about the length of the left and right string with respect to the diabolo. The left string being the string that runs from your left stick to the diabolo. The right string being the string that runs from your right stick to the diabolo.

Now, when doing a trick, it’s important to realize that the left string and right string are almost never the same length, because most tricks cannot be mirrored. Let me explain what I’m aiming for with this. The position of the diabolo, the sticks and the string is practically never the same on the right side as it is on the left side of your body. Thus in order to learn or improve a trick, you need to be aware of the left/right string length ratio.

Example: infinite suicide
Infinite suicides speed up the diabolo, so try to keep the initial speed of the diabolo as low as possible. Secondly, (assuming you are right handed) the right string should be significantly shorter than the left string, because your right hand needs to make quick, accurately timed turns around the axle of the diabolo. Therefore, you’ll automatically try to keep the “circle” as small as possible. Starting off the trick with a long right string is not going to help you control this trick. (As an aside, the shape isn’t really a circle, but that’s another story.)

Example: integral suicides
Integral suicides add another string length factor. During the set-up for Eric’s integral suicide (or the Tomicide), before swinging like a madman, you have to deal with 3 different string lengths:

(1) The string that runs from the left stick to the diabolo.
(2) The string that runs from the diabolo to your right hand.
(3) The string that runs from your right hand to the right stick.

When going for the swing, string length (3) has to be relatively short to successfully enter an infinite suicide. I have found an extension to Eric’s integral suicide where you grab the same string with the same hand mid-air to let both sticks travel around the diabolo for one more cycle. This shortens string length (3) even more. So, if I chose my initial right string length too short, I wouldn’t be able to execute this variation. Note: my string length (3) is pretty long in the video below, but you see how I need to correct the string length to avoid dropping.

This realization allows you to tweak your tricks by exaggerating certain string lengths to create, for example, slack string suicides, which is a largely unexplored field. I put an example in the video below.

Direct download (right click, save as).

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Wraps, friction, and pain

WrapsThis comes up time and time again. When I started with the diabolo I wish someone had shown me this, so here it goes:

Accelerating your diabolo with a wrap on it is good. It lets you get up to speed quickly; however, wrapping a diabolo without getting a mouthful of rubber requires a simple technique: you need to angle the string. Think about it, put a wrap on a diabolo, look at the bottom, and adjust your hands as needed.