A Personal Learning Process

It flusters me when I set my sights on a trick but as far as I can tell the hooper I’m watching is performing pure maigc. The illusion created is beyond anything I can iron out in my head, but I’ll be damned if that will stop me from learning it! That is the drive I carry with me through the bruises and despair.

Learning a trick takes a lot of patience and endurance. It’s a dynamic process that involves overcoming physical and emotional apprehensions. We can break down and dissect the different planes to not only make learning easier, but also to foster a better connection between you and your hoop.

Taking small precautions can help you mentally prepare for the harder obstacles while learning. This part is mostly for body tricks where you throw your hoop around and risk hurting yourself, unlike an isolation. My biggest piece of advice for protecting yourself from physical harm is to wear shoes, and work each trick out in slow motion first! When a weighted hoop falls it can hit the peroneal nerve, on the top of your foot, and that is very painful. Bruises happen when you are new to hooping, or hooped intensively. Take care to focus hooping on zones of your body that are healthy and can take a rigorous beating. When I was learning to go from hooping into a lasso I practiced lifting from my waist one day, and then switched to my hips the next to relieve my waist of further damage.

To get over the emotional hurdle remember that no trick is magic, you can dispel the illusion! You might fling your hoop across the room, and your pets might think you look silly, but it will click eventually. Take time to study the movements from each angle and calculate where your body should be in relation to your hoop. Should your inactive hand be ready to catch a hoop at the 3 o’clock position, or the 9 o’clock position? Does it matter if your hand is on the inside or outside of the hoop? Go very slowly and work up your momentum until you have more confidence to put some spin on it. Spinning in front of a mirror is always a good way to be self-critical. Honestly I hoop the best when I have had a bit to drink, and I can watch myself move. It helps me mind not only the dyanmics of the trick, but also the small accents like posture that make or break a routine.

If you find yourself fumbling and getting aggravated then take a breather. Stop and think about each minute motion and why the hoop is reacting that way. Visualize each movement and how it will bend the hoop to your will. Sometimes it is hard to have that grounding outlook of cause and effect at which point I would stop for the day and pick it up again later.

Practicing with a fellow hooper is also beneficial to scoping out the issues you miss when you are alone. They can objectively see your mistakes and push you in the right direction. Other people likely have their own unique process of learning that you can benefit from.