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Learn how to fix string tension problems with the UFO and Sidewinder.

Yoyo In This Video:

String Tension Introduction – Fixing Twisted String Yoyo Trick
In this video I am going to talk to you about something every yoyoer has to deal with, and that is string tension. This twisting of the string that happens. New players like to call that spaghetti string. I am going to teach you 2 tricks that will help you with string tension. Both of these tricks are really great. They would be worth learning on their own, but the fact that they help you deal with string tension makes them absolutely essential if you want to get good at yo-yoing.

I am going to be doing these with a responsive, or beginner, yoyo. We do have another video that teaches you how to do tricks to deal with string tension with an unresponsive yoyo, so if you have one of those you will want to check that video out.

Before I teach you those tricks what I want to do first is I want to talk about first the tricks you are already doing that add or remove tension from the string. Before I get to that I just want to talk about what string tension is, so you have a baseline for understanding how all of this fits together.

If you were to just look at a yoyo string, what you will notice is that it is just 2 strands wound around each other. When we talk about string tension being too tight, that means those strands are wound more time than it would be if it were neutral. That causes little ridges in the string. Those ridges end up coming closer and closer together. When we talk about having too little string tension, that means that the string are would around fewer times than when it is neutral. Those little ridges are actually further apart than usual. Here’s the thing. It doesn’t matter if your string is too tight or too loose, both will cause string tension. But you have to accurately diagnose if the string is too loose or too tight so that you can do the right trick to solve the problem.

As I already mentioned. Just as you are going about your business doing regular yoyo tricks your string tension is pretty much always changing. That is because there are 2 different things that can happen with the yoyo that will cause the string tension to change. The first thing is that the string could be orbiting around the yoyo like this. That will cause a change in string tension. Or you could think about it the opposite way, the yoyo orbiting around the string. The other way that string tension is going to change is if your yoyo is flipping or rotating like this. When I was showing you the first way, this will already look like something you are probably already doing: winding your yoyo in the traditional way. That does change the tension of your string, which can cause these messy string tension problems.

We do have another video that teaches you 4 easy ways to wind a string. Those ways do not add tension, or change your string tension at all, so if you have not learned those you definitely want to check that video out.

Besides winding the string, there are a couple of tricks that cause that same thing to happen, which will change your string tension. For example, the trick Pinwheel, when thrown off of a Breakaway like this. Or the trick Around the World. If you are right handed winding the string in the normal way and doing Pinwheel and doing Around the World, all of those will make your string tighter. If you do any of those things in reverse, then it will make your string looser. Here’s the crazy thing: if you are left-handed, exactly the opposite is true. If you normally wind the string up, or do your Pinwheels, or Around the World, that makes your string looser. Again, if you do them in reverse that makes it tighter. 

A lot of times with right and left-handed players, anything that you say about right-handed is opposite for left-handed players.

You may be wondering how is the yoyo ever going to be turning like this as I am playing. To illustrate it I have an Oracle here, I have 2 different colors so that you can see the different halves very clearly. It actually happens a lot more often than you might think, because, watch this. I am going to do a normal throw. The white half is on the inside, and now the blue half is on the inside. This means that every single time you do a normal throw your string tension is changing. If you are right-handed the normal throw is going to make your string tension tighter. If you are left-handed it is going to be looser.

There are also tricks that cause the yoyo to flip over. Most notably looping. You can see that as I continue to loop the yoyo the halves keep switching sides. Again, if you are right-handed and you are looping the string is going to be getting looser. If you are left-handed it is going to be getting tighter. 

Every trick where the yoyo flips over, ever looping type trick, is going to cause a change to string tension, so in those videos we are going to tell you how the string tension changes.

Now that we have all that in mind, let’s actually learn the tricks. The first trick I am going to show you is Sidewinder, and that looks like this. You can do it to either the right or the left. The way to think about this, and this is true whether you are right or left-handed, if your hand is on the right side of the yoyo then it is going to make the string tighter, if your hand is on the left-side of the yoyo it is going to make your string looser.

As you can see, this trick is pretty simple, there is not a whole lot going on, but you do have to do it exactly right in order to make it work. The first thing you want to be thinking about is that you want to find yourself in a position where the yoyo is not all the way wound up, but your hand is perfectly perpendicular to the yoyo. As long as this is true, then that string is going to be spinning near the side of the yoyo which will cause the string tension to change. The way that I achieve this is, instead of just pulling the yoyo up and trying to get my hand off to the side, that doesn’t work very well. So what I do is I use that technique that I showed you in other videos where I actually drop my hand towards the yoyo to get it to come back up. 

Before that I do that I want to get some upward movement on the yoyo so that it is moving upwards as I drop my hand down. The way I achieve that is I raise the yoyo up slowly and as the yoyo is starting to raise up then I kind of chop down with my hand right next to the yoyo. Like I said, as long as your hand is parallel, right next to the yoyo, then it is going to be doing that kind of UFO type motion, which will cause the string tension to change.

The one with the yoyo on the inside I find a little easier to learn. You just slowly raise your hand, as your yoyo starts moving up you chop down. Make sure your hand is right next to the yoyo. Eventually the yoyo will drop below your hand and that will cause the yoyo to fully respond and come back up to your hand.

If you want to do it with your hand on the inside with your yoyo on the outside, it is still pretty much the same, but what I do is I end up turning my hand over so that my palm is still facing the yoyo. That allows me to control where the string is a little bit better, because that is how the string is coming off my finger from the inside of my palm. It also sets me up better for the catch. Otherwise, it is pretty similar. I am going to be lifting the yoyo up, bring my hand down right next to the yoyo, except my hand is going to be turned over like this. As long as my hand is parallel to the yoyo then it is going to be executing the trick properly.

One more thing that you can keep in mind with this is as long as your hand is parallel with the yoyo it is going to continue to change the string tension. Something else you can do if you want to get even more change out of the string in one throw, you can kind of follow the yoyo up and down as it is moving and that way you can do it longer which will change the string tension even more.

To catch the yoyo all you need to do is wait for the yoyo to fall a little bit below your hand and then position your hand right over the top of the yoyo and the yoyo will simply wind right into your hand just like it would with a normal throw.

The last tip I can give is you don’t really need to throw the yoyo all that hard, especially when you are first practicing this trick. If this trick gets a little bit out of control then the yoyo can really go wild on you, and it can be a little bit scary. The best thing you can do is not throw it too hard, wait until your technique is really good. Eventually you do want to start throwing the yoyo harder, because the faster the yoyo is spinning, the faster it is going to adjust the tension.

When it comes to the trick UFO, it does not matter if you are right or left-handed, if you throw the yoyo off to the right it will tighten the string. If you throw it to the left it will loosen the string. In order to make this trick work the first thing that you need to do is throw the yoyo intentionally crooked. The more crooked the better. As we know from our normal throw, if you keep your palm flat, when you throw your yoyo then that is going to cause your yoyo to spin straight. If you want to throw crooked, then that means your palm needs to be angled when you throw the yoyo. The easiest way to do that if you are going to throw it to the outside is to just lift your elbow up. You can see that as I lift my elbow my palm naturally is now angled in that direction, which means if I throw it the yoyo is pretty angled. I can pick it up and do the trick.

If you want to throw the yoyo to the inside at an angle, it is really just the same thing, but instead of bringing your elbow out you are going to bring it in. This is quite a bit more awkward, but you can see now my palm is facing the outside and I can throw across my body. It is the same throw, it is just more at an angle and you can then do the trick.

With this trick, the more angled the better, because if you don’t throw it at much of an angle, then it is going to take a little more time before the yoyo levels out and starts to do the trick. The more horizontal you can throw it, the better.

The biggest problem people have with this trick is that the spin is dying before they can bring the yoyo back to their hand.There could be a few reasons. One, you may not be throwing at enough of an angle so it takes too long for the yoyo to level out before you can bring it back. The second problem is also common, people just don’t throw this trick as hard as they need to. You really need to throw pretty hard because the string is always touching the side of the yoyo as the trick happens. That kills the spin pretty quickly. The third thing that can cause people problems when they do this trick, sometimes because this throw is a little different than normal the yoyo doesn’t sleep when it gets to the bottom of the string and it just comes right back. As you know from our video on how to throw a Sleeper, if that is happening with your normal throw you need to learn how to cushion the throw a little bit so that even if you are throwing it hard the yoyo will sleep.

What you can do with this trick, you can use that same kind of cushioning technique, but you can also do a couple different things. If you let the yoyo go a little earlier then the yoyo will swing around which will help cushion the throw a little bit. Another thing that you can do, this is the opposite of what I just said, if you are having a really easy time making your normal throw you can just angle it a little bit and you can work your way over until you are good enough to throw it very angled and perform the trick properly. Go incrementally, add a little more power, a little more angle until you have this trick down.

Another problem you can have when you are practicing this trick is that you forget that you should be practicing one side and then the other side. If you don’t do that your string is either going to get super tight or super loose, and that is really going to make the trick difficult. Also, when you are practicing this trick don’t hold the trick too long. If you hold the trick too long, especially when you are loosening the string, the yoyo can fall right out of the string. If that has happened to you most likely you just held the trick a little too long.

In order to get the yoyo to come back all you need to do is lift the yoyo up and make it even with your hand. As soon as it is even with your hand, if it is a very responsive yoyo it will come right back… assuming you have enough spin. There is really nothing else to it. Just make sure you have enough spin. As soon as it is level it will take just a moment and then come right back. That is how you do the UFO.

Another cool thing you can do with this trick is you don’t have to pick up the string. You can just let the yoyo sleep down at the bottom of the string. If you position your hand right over the yoyo it will also cause the string to spin out which will have the exact same effect as far as changing the string tension. Again, if you do this, you can throw it both ways and adjust your string in both directions.

Just a heads up, flying saucer and side-winder are not the only two tricks that you can use to adjust your string tension. In our Walk the Dog video we show you a trick where you can get that same UFO motion on the string while doing Walk the Dog. If you want to learn that trick, definitely check that video out as well.

I hope that answered most or all of your questions about string tension, now you can just get rid of that spaghetti string and move forward in the rest of your yoyo life.

There are no yoyo tricks you need to know before learning this trick with your yoyo.

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