How To Be A More Consistent Player

When determining your technical evaluation, the two things to focus on are positive clicks and negative clicks. 

You want your positive clicks as high as possible and your negatives as low as possible, duh.

What determines your positive clicks are the speed and amount of point scoring elements in your combo, what determines your negative score is how consistent your tricks are. 

Consistency in this context, means how often can you complete your combo 100% correctly - with no variation or error. The more consistent you are at your tricks, the lower your negative scores will be.

While most Yoyoers tend to focus on creating the most innovative, difficult and mind-blowing tricks to ramp up their score. They could do this more effectively by simply reducing their misses. Some of you may think misses aren’t a big deal – after all a missed trapeze here and there in a combo isn’t going to kill you, but it does… more than you know.  

When you miss a string hit, you don’t just lose a point, you also lose the opportunity to gain a point. So every time you miss a string, you don’t get the string hit you planned for so that’s negative 1, and because that’s considered you lose an additional a negative 1, so all up a miss is negative 2.

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While this may be mildly depressing, the opposite is also true. Reducing your negative score will to increase your tech score by 2 for each reduced miss. The result is a huge leap in performance, with no new tricks, no new combos, just plain old consistency.

So, how do you make your tricks more consistent?

1. Build your trick muscle 💪 

Consistency isn’t fun. It’s boring, it’s repetitive and it’s where the best competitive Yoyoers spend most of their time. I like to view trick consistency like a muscle, it can’t be trained overnight. Just like you can’t learn to bench press 100kg’s after a few hours at the gym, you can’t suddenly consistently land a trick you’ve been struggling with in a few hours. 

It’s sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people overlook this limitation. They make a trick, practice it a mere 100 times, put it in their routine, miss it and complain about why the scoring system doesn’t accommodate for them. 

The time it takes to truly master a trick, i.e land it without much thought or concentration, depends on your talent and the difficulty of the trick you’re trying to master. Personally, it takes me at least 3 months to get a trick to an acceptable level of consistency, and this is with daily practice, If I don’t deliberately practice daily it can take even longer.

While the time it takes you to master a trick will ultimately vary, the point I’m trying to make is that it can’t be cheated. 2 hours of doing a trick over and over again isn’t going to cram it into your muscle memory. You need to do it consistently, practice the trick over a few weeks and ultimately, you’ll begin to land it consistently. 

2. Practice with speed 💨

Within the context of a freestyle, you’ll have to land tricks not just consistently, but also to a beat. 
Sometimes this beat is faster than you can comfortably go, and regardless of how consistent you land a trick at your own pace, if you can’t land the trick at the music’s pace chances are you’ll miss. Therefore, it’s critical, when practicing a trick, do it with all the speed you can muster. Landing tricks at a higher speed won’t just make you faster, it’ll make you more consistent regardless of the music’s tempo, as it’s easy to slow down a combo, but difficult to speed one up without consistent training. 

3. Get others to track your progress

Here’s my favourite thing about misses, they’re unambiguous; A miss is a miss. Unlike positive clicks that vary drastically depending on who is judging you, negative clicks should ideally have no variation (If the judges are competent).

What I did leading up to ANYC 2017, was I got my girlfriend to click my misses. My girlfriend doesn’t yoyo but she’s seen enough of me to know roughly when I miss, even so the first couple times I told her when I missed, with a quick grunt while performing my freestyle and after a while she was able to objectively see what was a miss and what wasn’t. 

I’d get her to click my routines, trying to scout out the errors in my freestyle, and what started as a negative 22 for my nationals routine, eventually dwindled down to a 15 with progressive practice. My numbers are hardly elite, but the improvement is substantial. Knowing your umbers can boost your self-awareness and make you evaluate just how you’ll do at the contest. Getting someone else to track it for you is an awesome way of measuring your improvements

4. Keep a poker face😶

This is my last tip for misses, and unlike the last few, this does not require any real effort. The truth about your tricks are unless you’re an absolute superstar i.e a Gentry, Takeshi, Hiroyuki, judges don’t know your trick structures by heart. Meaning you can bluff them. When I was getting my freetyle clicked by another fellow Yoyoer a comment he made was half the time he couldn’t tell when I missed, it was my facial expression that gave it away. My advice would be if you miss, keep a straight face, don’t acknowledge it, most judge will still deduct a point, but keeping cool may just allow you to get 1 or 2 misses under the radar.

Putting it all together

Reducing your misses is a sure way to boost your score. It’s effective, but can’t be done overnight, it takes long hours of consistent practice blasting your combos at full speed. Getting a friend or family member to track your misses is a sure way to see where you stand and how much you’ve got to improve, and if all else fails, a good poker face might just get a couple of misses to slip under a judge’s radar and boost your score that little bit higher.