ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Play The Yo-Yo Like A Real Pro With 6 Easy Basic Tricks

Updated on November 19, 2013
lady rain profile image

Lady Rain works as a daytime stock trader and writes about crafts and hobbies. She likes travelling and making papercraft models.

A Bit of Yo-Yo History

The yo-yo is one of the oldest toys around and it dates back to 500BC. It was found to have existed in Ancient Greece based on archeological evidences found on vase paintings. The first yo-yos were made of terra cotta disks.

Yo-yos made from rocks were used as hunting weapons in the Philippines during the 16th century. The hunters hunt from trees by throwing rock yo-yos at wild animals that walk beneath the trees.

One of the first toys to be brought into space was the yo-yo. One lucky yellow yo-yo went on the space shuttle Discovery in 1985 when the crew members went on their space mission that year. Astronaut David Griggs was the first man to play the yo-yo in outer space and demonstrated the effects of weighlessness on a swinging yo-yo.

The Yo-yo
The Yo-yo | Source
Butterfly shape yo-yo
Butterfly shape yo-yo | Source

In 1928, a Filipino immigrant in the United States, Pedro Flores opened a yo-yo manufacturing factory in California and started making yo-yo toys. The business expanded rapidly and was bought over by entrepreneur Donald Duncan a year later. In 1968, Flambeau Inc. took over the yo-yo business and as of 2011, Flambeau still owns the yo-yo company.

The yo-yo toys were not only sold in the United States but worldwide as well. The toys became a fad in the mid-1980s and later in the 1990s. Yo-yo contests and championships were held in many countries for yo-yo players and enthusiasts to show off their skills and tricks at yo-yo playing.

The Imperial Yo-yo is said to be the original yo-yo shape. Other variations like the Modified and Butterfly were two of the more popular shapes of the yo-yo. There are several other shapes available but they were not so popular among expert yo-yo players.

How to Play the Yo-Yo

Yo-Yo Rules

Here are some of the basic rules and tricks on how to play with the yo-yo.

Before you start playing with your yo-yo, you must check the area around you and make sure you have plenty of space. Stay clear of windows and other breakable objects. Be careful your yo-yo does not hit anybody's head otherwise you will be in a lot of trouble.

Tying the Slipknot

The yo-yo string comes with a small loop on one end. Before playing the yo-yo, you need to make a slip knot on the string so that it attaches securely on your finger. Pull the main part of the string through the small loop to make another bigger loop. Put your finger through the bigger loop and tighten the slip knot around you finger.

Making a slip knot
Making a slip knot | Source

How to Hold the Yo-yo

Put the yo-yo in the centre of your palm. Your palm should be facing up and the string on the yo-yo should be coming from the top of your yo-yo.

Hold the yo-yo in your palm
Hold the yo-yo in your palm | Source
The Sleeper
The Sleeper | Source

1. The Sleeper

Snap your wrist and arm downwards so that the yo-yo falls towards the floor. Keep your arm above your waist.

When the yo-yo reaches the other end of the string, turn your palm so that it faces downwards.The yo-yo should spin at the bottom of the string. This is called The Sleeper.

Tug upwards to make yo-yo return
Tug upwards to make yo-yo return | Source

Give the string a tug and the yo-yo will come back up into your hand.

Practise The Sleeper a few more times before you go on to the other tricks. You can also watch the video below on how to do The Sleeper with the yo-yo.

Watch The Sleeper Trick Here

2. Gravity Pull

Hold the yo-yo in your hand with your palm facing down. Flick your wrist and arm downwards and release the yo-yo so that the yo-yo falls vertically towards the floor. The yo-yo should not do The Sleeper with this trick. Just give the string a tug as soon as the yo-yo reaches the bottom and the yo-yo will return to your hand. This technique is called the Gravity Pull.

3. Power Throw

The Power Throw is an essential trick of yo-yo playing. It requires a more powerful snap of the wrist and arm. When the yo-yo reaches the end of the string, give the string a tug and the yo-yo will come back into your hand.

Hold yo-yo with arm by your side
Hold yo-yo with arm by your side | Source

4. Forward Pass

With your arm by your side, hold the yo-yo with your palm facing behind you. Swing your arm forward and release the yo-yo. The yo-yo will extend away from you horizontally. When it reaches the other end of the string, give the string a tug and the yo-yo will return.

Swing arm forward in Forward Pass
Swing arm forward in Forward Pass | Source

Practise this technique several times and you should be able to master throwing the yo-yo forward but make sure you do not hit anyone with your yo-yo.

5. Walk the Dog

Apply The Sleeper technique and gently let your yo-yo touch the floor. The spinning yo-yo will pull it along the floor. Give the string a tug before the yo-yo stops spinning and it will return. Practise this trick on the carpet so that you will not damage your yo-yo.

Walk The Dog Yo-yo

Swing yo-yo around
Swing yo-yo around | Source

6. Around the World

To execute this trick, you have to use The Sleeper and Forward Pass techniques you have learnt. Release your yo-yo with the Forward Pass technique, let it do The Sleeper at the other end of the string. While your yo-yo is spinning, swing the yo-yo over your shoulder and behind your back until it goes around 360 degrees, then give the string a tug and the yo-yo will come home.

Yo-yo Goes Around the World

Once you have mastered the basic skills and have full control of the movements of your yo-yo, you will be able to play your yo-yo like a real pro. You can also learn more advanced tricks with your yo-yo or perhaps create your own yo-yo tricks.

Happy Yo-yo-ing!

© 2011 lady rain


Submit a Comment
  • lady rain profile imageAUTHOR

    lady rain 

    8 years ago from Australia

    I didn't have a lot of toys when I was little. My cousin gave me a butterfly yo-yo and it was really special to me :)

    Thank you for stopping by and telling me about your yo-yo experience. Have a great day.

  • natures47friend profile image


    8 years ago from Sunny Art Deco Napier, New Zealand.

    Hi I was skipping through the hubs and found this one...great. Cool artwork!

    I used to play with yo-yos but they were cheap ones. Some fell apart on the way 'down' and I was always winding the string back up. That was the days when they came in cereal. Bad yo-yo experience. lol

  • lady rain profile imageAUTHOR

    lady rain 

    9 years ago from Australia

    will345davis, thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment. If the yo-yo fad comes back, I will buy one and play with it again.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    I used to love yo-yos. Reading this hub was like a nice throwback to my childhood. Good job


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)