To foster a better connection with your hoop it is best to also foster a knack for spatial reasoning.
‘Spatial-temporal reasoning is the ability to visualize spatial patterns and mentally manipulate them over a time-ordered sequence of spatial transformations. This ability is important for generating and conceptualizing solutions to multi-step problems that arise in areas such as architecture, engineering, science, mathematics, art, games, and everyday life.’
Someone on the Internet
Translating that to the hoop world means having awareness of where your hoop is in space, how it got there, and where it can potentially go from there.
My current fascination with the spatial reasoning theory is hoops in two dimensional space. I stumbled into the theory after attempting to lean forward with my torso parallel to the ground, and pass the hoop horizontally over my back from one hand to the other. Basically you swing a hoop in one hand over your head, lean forward while keeping the hoop in the horizontal plane, bring the hoop over your back, and switch it to your opposite hand. Since my vision of what goes on behind my back is limited I had to break down the move and visualize each movement. I noticed that my main focus was placed on prohibiting my hoop to leave the horizontal plane to avoid smacking myself in the head while swinging it over my back.
That process led me to thinking about how many other tricks rest within each individual plane, and how that can help my flow. Essentially the aesthetics of my particular hooping style relies on agile and fluid motions, level changes, and less on jagged breaks. Not that there is anything wrong with breaks, but there is a time and a place! If I maintain the motion in the horizontal plane I can have a pleasant sequence along the lines of: lasso over the head, bring town to my waist, drop it to my knees, and then shimmy it up to my chest, all while keeping the hoop in my horizontal plane. A vertical sequence could include: vertical isolation, stepping through my hoop, another vertical isolation, and then ducking my torso in and vertically chest hooping.
To bring this back around to spatial reasoning, awarenes of your hoop in space can open up the door to planar mastery. It can help you reason through tricks by understanding motion and momentum, which can help you learn the more complicated tricks. In the end, making sure your body is hitting each point of your hoop to stabilize it’s position is my best piece of advice. Whether you are trying to step through a vertical isolation, or spin your hoop horiztontally infront of you and jumping into it, planar motion and spatial reasoning are musts to comprehend. With that focus I avoided hitting my torso repeatedly, and entered into a new dimension of my hooping life.