So you want to enter a contest.
It may be your first contest, it may be your fiftieth. Either way, the prep is the same. Everyone has a different learning style, so by all means, embrace what works for you. Here are a few tips that may help.
1. Song choice. This drives your performance. Know the rules of your contest so you know how much
choreography you need to worry about. Don’t just pick your favourite song, as it may not be the best for
your style. Choose a song that has a beat that is a little slower than your fastest yo-yoing. When you
get up on stage the stress and nerves will make you rush and make mistakes; choosing the right song
will keep you to a speed where you can land tricks with few errors.
2. Trick choice. Don’t use your newest trick. Use the ones you can land Every Single Time. Mistakes
cost you double, the negative point and the point you didn’t get. Chose tricks that flow well together as
the smoothness of your routine counts (do your tricks start and end nicely? Are the pauses or
unexpected stops? etc). If you can, include some variety (some front style, some side style, horizontal,
under the leg, behind the back), but work within what you have mastered.
3. Choreography. Don’t go overboard. If its prelim, pick a couple points where starting or finishing a trick
in time to the music works. If it’s a final, work in some movement, more timing points, try to have at
least one or two tricks where you can make eye contact with the audience. Again, missed tricks cost
you more than they choreography was worth, so make sure you can land the trick while doing whatever
else you are doing. I yoyo while walking to work, so I can move and yoyo at the same time.
4. Professionalism. Find space to acknowledge your audience. If you can be wearing an outfit that
matches the music, all the better. Those few pauses to indicate the audience should cheer count. Just
keep them short.
When you practice, make time to run your routine start to finish multiple times every day. Make mistakes and practice getting past the mistake to your next trick. Have those spare yoyos ready and run the routine through yoyo changes so you are ready for if it happens on stage. Practice your audience interaction and choreography, and if you can, do it in front of people.
When you do get up on stage, remember that it’s a contest, one moment in time. You are there for the love of yo-yoing. Focus not on beating the other guy, but on landing your tricks and sharing what you have created; don’t worry if you make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes at contests, and we all have a laugh and smile afterwards and move on to improving for next time. Please don’t forget to have fun!