iTopSpin

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

ITSA General Assembly: December 5th - 12th

Author Topic: Teaching new top spinners  (Read 1126 times)

butterfingers

  • ITSA
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 269
  • "Non-marketable skills are my specialty"
Teaching new top spinners
« on: February 08, 2019, 10:35:43 AM »

- I am looking for free advice on how to be more effective teaching people how to spin tops.
- The forum has a lot of great information for those of us already up and spinning but there is not a lot of conversation about bringing new top spinners to the hobby. Tops have a pretty steep learning curve and it's a different experience than a yo-yo. Anyone can pick up a yo-yo for the first time and make it go up and down. Not so with the spin top - it takes some technique and effort to make it go - and having someone show you how it's done is the best way to learn.
================================================================================
- I belong to the Rochester Juggling Club and we have been invited to several events over the last few years. It seems like our opportunities to teach juggling are becoming more frequent so we have the opportunity to reach lots of people throughout the year. Mailman and I have been introducing top spinning at the events and it has been well received. I was hoping that some of you might have tips or advice for me on how to make top spinning accessible to people who may have never seen a spin top before. I have had some success but I am hoping to benefit for your experiences regarding what worked for you in the past - maybe sharing what didn't work would be just as helpful. I am gearing up for a top spinning breakout / workshop for this year's RIT Juggle In. Assuming I have attendees, I'd like them to get as much out of it as possible. I am planning to give each attendee that learns to do a spinner and a skyrocket a top to take home.



- here's a pic from last weekend where I shared some Spintastics tops with launchers at one of our library events. These three and another girl spent at least an hour with us. At one point I had 10 people spinning tops at the same time...some with strings and some with launchers. It was wonderful!
« Last Edit: February 08, 2019, 10:39:53 AM by butterfingers »
Logged

jmadrigal

  • ITSA
  • Superhero member
  • *
  • Posts: 549
Re: Teaching new top spinners
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2019, 12:50:11 PM »

My advice to teaching tops is this. Get a bunch of the same top. I recommend short circuit or cometa Dragon.
Ensure all the strings work for your top. Length of the string is important to get a simple spinner. Tie a loop at the end so the crown wrap doesn’t cause issues. This one thing speeds up teaching period.
Teach the spinner on the ground then have them try for the snow saucer. Battling tops is the best way to get kids (or anyone) to want to play them. All you need is to be able to throw and you are in the game.
When you play with them and they see you do a sky rocket to retrieve your top, they will ask you naturally how to do that. Now the teaching starts.
 
This is my method and it seems to work.
Have fun!

Jose
Logged

Neff

  • Global Moderator
  • Demigod member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2688
    • My Website!
Re: Teaching new top spinners
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2019, 02:21:59 PM »

Excellent advice from Jose there. Interest inspires success.

Teaching throw to the ground; the main thing I have to repeatedly tell most folks is to pivot at the shoulder and not the elbow or wrist, and to push the top and stop - don't whip it with your wrist or let go early and pull it through.  Most folks I have met can pick up on this within one session. Big Scoop next, then Skyrocket.

I have come across a few who really hit a wall at boomerang. It is always something to do with the release but some folks are really good at hiding what they are doing wrong. Those folks just need time alone to go through the process... or a high speed camera and a clairvoyant boomerang coach.
Logged

butterfingers

  • ITSA
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 269
  • "Non-marketable skills are my specialty"
Re: Teaching new top spinners
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2019, 03:27:49 PM »

Thank you, gentlemen! Jose's loop idea is very good - it will speed things up quite a bit. And I always forget about the Big Scoop because I am old and fat and don't do it myself. Thank you for the quick responses and the great ideas!
Logged

Christop

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 24
Re: Teaching new top spinners
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2019, 12:37:39 AM »

I still use a loop most of the time with my tops. It's really convenient and there are some cool tricks you can do from the trapeze with the loop.

EDIT: Also for me what finally made me figure out the boomerang (my first major hurdle) was watching a short video someone shot of me trying it.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2019, 12:41:07 AM by Christop »
Logged

Pepe

  • ITSA
  • Gold Member
  • *
  • Posts: 177
Re: Teaching new top spinners
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2019, 09:13:50 AM »

Great and very progressive way of getting people in!

I love it!

Logged

butterfingers

  • ITSA
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 269
  • "Non-marketable skills are my specialty"
Re: Teaching new top spinners
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2019, 10:16:26 AM »

Thank you for the advice and good ideas. My goal for the RIT festival is 12 new top spinners. I will have multiples of the same tops on hand to use for teaching. I'll post after the event to share how it went.
Logged

butterfingers

  • ITSA
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 269
  • "Non-marketable skills are my specialty"
Re: Teaching new top spinners
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2019, 08:05:59 PM »











A lot of Mexican Trompos arrived at my house this week. About 50% Orion and 50% cobra. Forum member Jrodriguez gave me a Cobra a while back and I thought it was a nice top - my son took it almost immediately and I haven't seen it since.

Jose's comment about a loop in the string was seconded by Christop - I have noticed that the 'wrap around the crown and catch the knot on the shoulder part' of winding can be difficult to grasp. The Cometa tops I purchased have the plastic ring to place on the crown. This will make it easier to get folks spinning and negates the challenges that are caused by the crown wrap.

I will for sure bring my snow saucer to provide a target for new throwers.

Neff's advice about the mechanics of the throw is well received. The shoulder motion is important and I'll try to exaggerate that when I demonstrate.

In addition to the RIT Juggle In, there are several offers for library appearances with the Rochester Juggling Club this summer. I'm hoping to be able to give away all of the tops during the course of the year.
Logged

mailman

  • ITSA Jr.
  • Superhero member
  • *
  • Posts: 528
Re: Teaching new top spinners
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2019, 10:47:46 PM »

I'm really looking forward to RIT Juggle-In this year, and to helping with the spin top workshop.  I hope we can introduce (or reintroduce) lots of people to the joy that is top spinning!

Can't wait to try a few of these new tops....
Logged

the Earl of Whirl

  • ITSA
  • Olympus member
  • *
  • Posts: 6564
    • St. Jacob Lutheran with a tops page
Re: Teaching new top spinners
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2019, 11:30:36 PM »

Wow!!!  That is a nice looking mountain of tops.  Good luck with your preparations and your workshops.  I am sure they will go well!!!
Logged
Happiness runs in a circular motion!!!

cecil

  • ITSA Jr.
  • Hyperhero member
  • *
  • Posts: 1194
Re: Teaching new top spinners
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2019, 12:17:54 AM »

The best top for teaching for me is the DUNCAN RIPCORD. It does some of the basic tricks - fantastic fighter - comes with hand spinner.
Logged

butterfingers

  • ITSA
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 269
  • "Non-marketable skills are my specialty"
Re: Teaching new top spinners
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2019, 10:39:13 AM »

The best top for teaching for me is the DUNCAN RIPCORD. It does some of the basic tricks - fantastic fighter - comes with hand spinner.

I do have a couple of these - I'll bring them along, too. At the last library appearance I used the Spintastics tops with hand spinner. The Ripcord is a bit larger and is probably a better choice. Thanks, Cecil!
Logged

Kirk

  • ITSA Jr.
  • Hyperhero member
  • *
  • Posts: 1303
Re: Teaching new top spinners
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2019, 09:46:56 AM »

My comments on the comments
Loop in string - YES
Rings - It depends. Duncan rings are so stiff they pop off. Premier Rings are so soft it is hard to wind tightly.  Cometa rings are just right.
Shoulder action - Yes.  Many folks have a habit of an upswing at the end of the throw, causing the top to land on its side.  I stand in front of them and place my arm just over where their arm should go.  It is a physical barrier to the upswing. It really helps.
Same Tops - Yes. Sort of.  Have a few Cometa Mini Azteca. This is IMO the best mini top and is easy to hold for the 3 to 5 year old kids.
String Length - Contrary to popular opinion, many small kids need a shorter string.  This is because they don't throw hard enough.  Knowing how to tie a slip knot above the button to shorten the string by 6 to 8 inches will allow them to get the top to turn over. Sometimes you and make it longer as they learn.
Other stuff
Winding - Many have trouble changing the grip from hooking or looping the crown to the claw grip for winding.  I explain that the need to change to the CLaaaw grip.  Make them say "CLAAAAW". Louder! It makes them remember. (and it is silly)
Winding - Direction many will wind the wrong direction. Explain how to test before throwing. "Does the top roll off you hand?  No? that is for left handed throwing. Wind it the other way."
Winding - Place your hand between the eyes and the top of slow winders.  They will realize they can wind fast without looking.
Scoop - harder than skyrocket IMO
Skyrocket practice - "Time for skyrocket class.  Line up.  Watch me. Place your top upside down on the ground in front of you. Pretend you just threw it.  The sting is still in you hand with the button.  Grab the other end of the string with your other hand.  Touch your toes with the string.  With your throwing hand go around the top.  With your left hand drop the string on the other side. Pull GENTLY."
Logged

butterfingers

  • ITSA
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 269
  • "Non-marketable skills are my specialty"
Re: Teaching new top spinners
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2019, 11:43:43 AM »

Thanks, Kirk. I didn't anticipate such a well reasoned and detailed response. Wow!
- As mentioned elsewhere, we had a good turnout for the RIT juggle in and quite a few new spin top throwers were released into the world. The loop end in the string was a good idea but it's important to make it known that you can't rewind for the next throw with the loop still in place.
- I completely abandoned the scoop in favor of the skyrocket at RIT. 
- we have events lined up at local libraries on June 26 and July 24 - one is for adults and teens. The other is for kids. This is in conjunction with the Rochester Juggling Club and we will be primarily teaching juggling but I will sneak in a bit of top play.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2019, 12:10:51 PM by butterfingers »
Logged

the Earl of Whirl

  • ITSA
  • Olympus member
  • *
  • Posts: 6564
    • St. Jacob Lutheran with a tops page
Re: Teaching new top spinners
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2019, 03:11:55 PM »

Good work and good luck with those library dates.  I should push harder with our local library but I have had better luck with scout groups, schools and church groups.  Still, I will check with them and let them know about your work and Larry D's efforts with libraries.
Logged
Pages: 1 2 »  All   Go Up