I started yo-yoing approximately one week before the original draft of this post. During that time I learned a lot of introductory information from different sources. This is the blog post I wish I had when I started yo-yoing.
For a first yo-yo you want to get a responsive plastic yo-yo with a bearing and a butterfly shape, you can scroll down to Types of Yo-Yos where I talk about what these terms mean or you can just buy the starter yo-yo I bought.
MagicYoYo Crystal K2 Plus
My first serious yo-yo was a MagicYoYo Crystal K2 Plus (I suggest one of the clear colors (Mint Green, Clear Black, Orange, Clear Blue, or Clear White) as I find the solid colors (Tiffany Blue, Milk White, Lemon Yellow, and Peach Pink) have a different feel which is not as nice.) I’m happy with this yo-yo and think it is a good place to start.
This is a responsive yo-yo that comes with a substitute bearing that allows it to become an unresponsive yo-yo when you’re ready for it.
At the time of this writing the MagicYoYo Crystal K2 Plus is $12.99 plus shipping.
Another yo-yo that I’ve found to be a great starter is the YoYoFactory Whip. The Whip is a little more barebones than the Crystal K2 Plus above (e.g. it only comes with a single responsive bearing) but it is a little cheaper than the Crystal K2 Plus.
At the time of this writing the YoYoFactory Whip is $8.99 plus shipping.
Where to Buy
The links I’ve included above go directly to the manufacturers’ websites. Last I checked both yo-yos were also available on Amazon.com.
Where to Begin
I’ve been enjoying the videos at YoYoTricks.com.
Setting Up Your Yo-Yo
When I got my yo-yo the string was separate from the yo-yo, this video describes attaching the string to the yo-yo and adjusting the length based on your height.
Start with YoYoTricks.com’s Put on and Adjust Yo-yo String video.
How to Yo-yo with your First Yo-yo
After your yo-yo is setup, this video from YoYoTricks.com is a great introduction.
There are other great videos on the YoYoTricks.com’s Beginner Yoyo Tricks page.
I found learning wind up tricks to be particularly helpful since it turns the task of winding the yo-yo into a trick of its own.
Types of Yo-Yo Styles
There are five yo-yo styles. As a beginner you want to work on the first style, 1A.
1AString Tricks (traditional yo-yo tricks, making a yo-yo sleep and having it sit or swing on the string in different patterns)
2ALooping Tricks (swinging two yo-yos around and keeping them in constant motion)
3ATwo Handed String Tricks (this is like 1A with two yo-yos instead of one)
4AOff-String (the yo-yo is not attached to the string )
5AFreehand (the yo-yo is not attached to the players hand)
Types of Yo-Yos
Responsive vs Unresponsive
This is the type of yo-yo you want to get when starting. A responsive yo-yo is the traditional style of yo-yo, where you can tug the string and the yo-yo returns to your hand.
These are a newer style of yo-yo that have gained popularity among yo-yo enthusiasts. These yo-yos do NOT return to your hand when you tug the string and require a style of trick know as a bind to return the yo-you to your hand. If I continue with yo-yoing, I expect I’ll graduate to an unresponsive yo-yo but this is not where you want to start.
Plastic vs Metal
Plastic yo-yos are typically less expensive than metal yo-yos.
Metal yo-yos are typically heavier and spin longer. After you develop your yo-yo skills you may graduate to a metal yo-yo but a metal yo-yo will not help you to initially learn faster.
Bearing vs No Bearing
Almost all modern serious yo-yos come with a bearing to help the yo-yo spin longer. I would not buy a yo-yo that doesn’t have a bearing.
Butterfly Shape vs Traditional Shape
A traditional yo-yo looks like a puck with a grove in the middle. A “butterfly” shaped yo-yo is narrower in the middle and gets wider as it goes out. It looks a little like a bow-tie
><. The advantage of the “butterfly” shape is when you are doing a trick where you catch the yo-yo on the string it is easier.