Remember when we were kids and playing with a yoyo was like the best thing ever? You could show off your skills and prove how cool you were. Life was easy back then, and so were the yoyos. Most of the yoyos we used were self-winding, so you wouldn’t have to worry about a thing. These days, however, most yoyos are unresponsive; which means you will have to wind them by yourself. Now don’t be discouraged, it isn’t hard at all. I have a few methods I can teach you. Without further ado, let us look into how to wind a yoyo.
Types of Yoyos
Before we look into how to wind a yoyo, let us first look at the different kinds of yoyos there are. These will help you get a deeper understanding, and you get to know which winding method will go well with your yoyo.
There are generally three types of yoyos. These are the butterfly, classic, and modified shapes. The butterfly is the most common because it is great when it comes to tricks. They have a wide gap and either rounded or v-shaped. They loop poorly, though. The classic, also known as imperial, yoyo has a narrow string gap. This makes it hard to do any tricks. Finally, the modified yoyo is rounded, much like the butterfly, and has a narrow string gap. They are suitable for doing simple tricks and are good loopers.
Another thing that defines the type of yoyo is the material it is made from. Most are made of wood, plastic or aluminium. Another material that can be used is titanium; though it is rare, expensive and hard to handle. Others can be made from steel, Corian, magnesium among others.
A yoyo cannot be a yoyo without an axle. The axle can be either a fixed axle or a transaxle. A transaxle comes as a sleeve bearing or ball bearing. The transaxle sits on the axle reducing friction, allowing for a longer spin time and execution of complicated string tricks. There is also a take-apart design that will enable you to separate the two halves. This design is modern. Older models have the two halves glued together so you can’t take them apart, hence the fixed axle.
The response is what determines the ease of the return of the yoyo to your hand. There are responsive yoyos; these require a slight tug on the string for them to return. There are also yoyos, especially those with transaxles, that have little to no response and have to be winded for them to come back, and these are the ones we are going to focus on.
The strings are what you use to play with the yoyo. They come in four materials;
- Slick or 50/50; which is a blend of cotton and polyester or nylon. These strings are slightly heavier, more flexible, and more durable than those made from cotton.
- Rayon; it is more rigid than polyester, although it has the same feel. It lasts longer than any other string type.
Synthetic strings are better when yo-yoing because they will last longer, compared to cotton, which breaks easily. They also have a smooth feeling which won’t hurt your hands when doing tricks. They can also be strung by hand.
The thickness plays a significant role in the yoyo’s performance. There are different thicknesses like 8 (4*2), 6 (3*2), and 9(3*3). The numbers in the brackets are the number of strands in the string. String type 8 is used in responsive yoyos while 6 and 9 are for those who like unresponsive yoyos.
The length is usually one meter although there are longer ones should you prefer those. The string will stretch with use. You can gently pull the string to stretch.
When Should You Change the String?
The string should be changed when it looks frayed since it can break. Transaxle yoyos have strings with less friction and strings do not break easily. However, all kinds of strings will wear out eventually and will need changing.
How to wind a Yoyo
Now we finally come to the important part, how to wind the string. It is easier to wind it around the yoyo with one hand while holding the yoyo with the other hand. With those yoyos that have ball bearings, you can place a finger of the free hand over the yoyo gap and loop the string around the yoyo to prevent slipping.
There are more advanced ways of winding a yoyo which are easier and faster.
Spin it in a mount
To do this, take the yoyo in your right hand, or whichever is your dominant hand, and loop the string around the other hand then set the yoyo on the string. Bring the left hand up and let the yoyo hang on the string. Bring your dominant hand up slowly and lower the other hand. This movement will allow the yoyo to rotate anti-clockwise. If that doesn’t work, pinch the string between your fingers; if it starts going slack release the hold on your pinch. Accelerate the movement of your dominant hand, which should, in turn, increase the yoyo’s rotation.
When it reaches the other hand, you can traditionally add the final windings, or you can remove your hand from the loop quickly and let it wind itself up. Don’t worry if it eats the string, just catch it with one hand and let it eat the rest. Once this is done, the yoyo should be wound up.
Use a flick of your fingers
You can also use the thumb of your free hand to flick the yoyo to wind it up. This might work immediately, or it might make it start spinning. When it does this simply tug it or bind it to make it return.
Kickstart on the floor
Another way to wind your yoyo is to put it on the ground. Make sure it stands vertically facing away from you. Using clean shoes put a little pressure with your foot and exert some tension to the string using your hand. Stamp down with your foot while pulling the string up as it releases. You can actually completely wind the yoyo using this method.
The methods above work when you have a responsive yoyo, so what happens if your yoyo is unresponsive? You will have to use the binding method. What this means is that you will have to wind the string into the gap to generate friction that will make it return. There are different binding styles, and we will look at some of the most common.
To do this, you will need to know how to do an Over Mount.
The Over Mount
- The Over Mount is one of the most basic mounts in yo-yoing. Here is how it is done; Put your free hand finger against the yoyos string and pull back. This move will make the yoyo come up and jump into the string from the front.
- Relax your throwing hand a little and let the yoyo hand in a loop
- Cushion the swing
Once you have done the Over Mount, you can proceed to the binding process
- Using the Over Mount, use your throw hand to pull the string up. You can accelerate the yoyo during this bind.
- Drop the loop
- Let the yoyo eat it then return
- Catch it from above
And there you have it, the Frontstyle bind.
Side- Style or Back Bind
The Back Bind is basically the opposite of the Front- Style bind. To do it you will have to know how to do the Reverse Trapeze.
The Reverse Trapeze
- Starting from above, like from the pinwheel, let the string catch on your free hand finger
- Let it move around the finger and back up into the string
- Loosen the string a little letting the yoyo carries some of the string with it
- Make sure it doesn’t catch on your free hand this time, and there you go, the Reverse Trapeze
Once you have done the Reverse Trapeze, move on to the bind
- Using your throw hand to pull the string up. You can even accelerate the yoyo during this bind.
- Drop the string once it approaches the free hand and let it wind up. This will create enough friction to make it come back to your throw hand.
- Catch the yoyo from below. You can now throw it again.
- Once the yoyo releases, it will start rotating clockwise. The yoyo throws the loop away from your free hand and eats up the loose string and winds itself up tightly. This way the string is wound into the gap evenly without it sticking out.
- Side- Style Variation
This bind starts from a trapeze.
- Start by rotating the yoyo freehand. Let it swing over to your free hand against the index finger of your other hand.
- Flip it around the finger coming down onto the string. Make sure the yoyo is close to the free hand to make it easy to hit the string with the gap.
- Let the yoyo land on the string
- Bring your hands closer together to cushion the landing.
- The yoyo will try to roll towards your throw hand
- Slacken the string a little so that the yoyo carries it
- Don’t let it catch on your free hand, and there you have it; the Trapeze
Once the Trapeze is done move on to the bind
- Let the yoyo swing down around your free hand
- Don’t catch the string until it looks almost like a trapeze.
- This will increase the friction and tugging on the string
- If there is no friction do one or more wraps till you feel the friction
- Once the friction starts slowing down the yoyo drop the string from your free hand. This will make the yoyo wind up flinging the string on your free hand around.
- The yoyo will now return. If you notice some of the loop string sticking out, do not worry. It is normal.
If you notice that the yoyo doesn’t unravel when you throw it after doing a bind, simply change the size of the loop of string wrapped around the axle. If the loop is too small, the yoyo won’t return, and if it is too big, the string will get tangled. You can judge the size of the loop depending on the response of the yoyo. It might also help to get a new, fresh string if the one you are using is a little frayed.
The One-Handed Binds
There are two types of one-handed binds;
The Plastic Whip
Start by throwing a hard sleeper. Next, hold your hand in a U shape with your palm facing your left (or right if you are left-handed) with the string running down your string finger and over the thumb. Create a loop using a forward-motion jerk, letting it swing down into the gap. This way the yoyo will hang from the string looped around your thumb and string finger. Once that is done, swing the yoyo away from you. It the yoyo catches then it will return.
The Laceration Bind
This one is also a one-handed bind. Throw half a laceration. This should make the strings double up. Once that is done, the yoyo will come up. This method only works if you are using a moderately responsive yoyo.
As previously mentioned, you will have to change the string once you notice it is frayed. This will ensure it does not break and moves easily. You might have to replace the string every three months. If you use it more often, you will have to change it frequently.
So, have you seen how easy to wind your own yoyo? It does not take a lot of work or time. A responsive yoyo is the easiest to wind, and it takes even less time than an unresponsive one. Always remember to check on the tension of the string to make sure you get the most bounce out of it. Make sure you practice the windings continuously. The practice will make it easier for you to master the winding and binding and soon enough, you will be doing it without noticing. Remember, practice makes perfect. With that said, goodbye and happy yo-yoing!