Learning the basics of diabolo-ing can be quite tricky. Without a tutor right next to you, it can take a while to find out that the diabolo needs to be spinning, let alone how to make it spin.
Therefore, I’ve made a complete video for you to teach you the basics of diabolo – starting, accelerating and correcting. The video is in quite good quality, but I’m planning to make a new one before October 2014 that will show everything in 1080p and will be “content” better. Ok, let’s start – I’ll try to make a note for you considering everything I show in the video (Everything is for right-hand people – if you’re left-handed, do these exercises inversely.
How to start the diabolo? There are a few ways to start the diabolo. I’ll tell you about three of them.
1. Place the diabolo on the string and then on the floor a little bit to the right. Now using the sticks, swing the diabolo on the floor to the left and then lift in the air. It should have some starting spin. Now you’ll have to move your sticks in a proper way – more about it below.
2. Place the diabolo on the string but don’t put it on the floor, just hold it in the air. Take both sticks to your left hand and create a little V with these sticks. Now, with your right hand add some spin to the diabolo and take one stick back to your right hand. Start accelerating it.
3. For beginners, this third method is definitely hard before learning throwing and catching, but you can try it after some training. Hold two sticks in your left hand and the diabolo in your right. You have to throw the diabolo in the air and add the spin at the same time. Some people prefer to hold one cup, but I prefer to hold both cups with my middle finger on the axle. Then, you have to take one stick to your right hand, spread your hands and catch the falling diabolo on the string. After that, you can start accelerating the diabolo.
How to accelerate the diabolo?
All right, for starters maybe I’ll say something about why the diabolo needs to have a lot of spin. Well, most importantly it’s stable then and you can perform tricks. I’ll tell you about four methods, but I’ll show you only three because the Chinese method is still a mystery for me :D The first two are good only for beginner diabolo tricks, which don’t require a lot of spin. To perform more difficult ones, I suggest that you try to learn the third “circle” method.
1. There are a few verbs that could describe the movement of your right hand and left hand. These are tapping, jerking, pulling and lifting up and down. In every verb there is some truth, but I’ll be using jerking because it feels the most appropriate. In the most basis version of accelerating diabolo your right-hand stick jerks the diabolo and your left-hand absorbs the aggressive pulls made by the right hand. Think about it for a while – the diabolo is spinning counter-clockwise so your right hand needs to add some spin and your left hand needs to avoid slowing it down. That’s why the movement of right-hand stick is more aggressive to make it stronger than left-hand possible slowdowns.
2. The second version of accelerating the diabolo adds one really important thing – one wrap around the axle. How to do it? Simply make a circle with your right hand around the diabolo’s cup that’s directly in front of you in a counter-clockwise motion. Now you’ll feel that there’s more friction and without jerking it, the diabolo will slow down faster. Conversely, if you jerk it up in the same way as in the first version it will accelerate faster. After you’ve accelerated the diabolo simply unwrap the diabolo through a clockwise circle around the axle. Now you can perform some simple tricks.
Quick Tip: When you have a wrap around the axle, make sure that your right-hand stick is a little bit closer to your body than your left-hand side. This way, your string will not wrap totally around the axle. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you will almost certainly find out in the near future. Basically, when you have a wrap and a lot of spin and you hold your sticks wrong, the axle catches the string and wraps totally leaving you with a patience-teaching process of unwrapping it :D
3. Now time for the method that I’m using on a daily basis. It allows you to make the diabolo spin really fast and perform a couple of tricks one after another without adding more spin. The diabolo moves almost in a circle in clockwise motion. It’s really hard to explain in with words, so I encourage you to watch my video where I show it in slow motion and give some tips about this method.
4. There is also a Chinese Acceleration method in which the diabolo moves almost vertically up and down and gains a LOT of speed. It’s very flashy and efficient, therefore it’s used by most of the professional diaboloists. The difficulty here is all about proper movement of the sticks and preventing the diabolo from wrapping.
How to correct the diabolo?
1. Correcting the diabolo is really useful especially for beginners, so I’ll tell you a few words about it. When you accelerate the diabolo, you’ll see that its cups are moving a little bit up or down and eventually the diabolo drops from your string. How to avoid it?
Well, all you have to do to correct the diabolo is moving your sticks forward or backward and make a few strong jerks. When the cup which is closer to your body moves down, you need to move your right-hand stick forward and jerk. This way, the cup will lift and the second one will lower a little bit and you’ll get back to the appropriate position. Similarly, if the cup which is near your body goes up, move your right-hand stick to your body and jerk it.
2. There’s also another way you can correct the diabolo. Let’s assume you make a performance and you need to stand in front of a group of spectators and your diabolo changes the directions and moves to the left or right. Here, you have to use the sticks again but differently. Now the right-hand stick will touch the cups to correct the position of the diabolo. If you want to change the position of the diabolo to the left, you need to touch the closer cup near the axle gently. Similarly, to change to position of the diabolo to the right, touch the inner part of the further cup with your hand and stick diverted 180 degrees (you can find all this in the video)
What about the most common diabolo mistakes?
1. Jerking the diabolo hard with both sticks - remember, if you’re right-handed, your right hand needs to add the spin, therefore it performs more aggressive moves.
2. To little spin – both for starting and for tricks – Notice, that you need to add some spin before you start accelerating the diabolo (it’s not important whether you start from the floor or from the air). The same for tricks – you can’t perform tricks when the diabolo doesn’t have speed and it’s not stable. Of course, professionals can start almost without speed but they have the technique and expertise to do it. Don’t worry, you’ll get that too after some training.
3. Panicking and losing patience – Nobody said it will be easy – but with my tips and your 2-3-day training, I hope that learning these most important diabolo skills will be more pleasant and you won’t get angry at the diabolo :D
4. If you have any problems that I haven’t mentioned here or I simply forgot to mention them , don’t hesitate to contact me using the button on the left or the Cooperation button on the top.
How to prevent the diabolo string from wrapping?
As I wrote above, sometimes it’s quite difficult to prevent the diabolo from wrapping but it’s doable. The simplest advice I can give you is: hold the right-hand stick a little bit closer to your body than the left-hand stick until it becomes a habit, an unconscious position.
For more juggling tricks, please visit the LIST OF TRICKS, there is more than 100 of them there. I’m sure you will be able to find something for yourself. The tricks are arranged with increasing difficulty. There are 3-ball juggling tricks, 4-ball juggling tricks and juggling tricks for 1 diabolo.
I hope this website will be useful for you and you’ll come back when you want to learn something new.
Bartek from howtojuggle.com.pl