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Getting started wth two diabolos

Self starting two

The first thing to do is to forget about two and go back to one. You need to learn how to throw a diabolo so it lands on the string with enough spin to keep it going for a short while. To get the diabolo to spin you need to hold it in your right hand and throw it with an anti-clockwise flick of the wrist, so the diabolo would roll to your left if you dropped it.

Experiment with different throw methods. Again, the best method is the one that works for you. Have a look at this page here to see some of the main methods.

Once you have one of these throws sorted out, it's time to try to catch it:-

  • Take a diabolo in your right hand and both sticks in your left hand
  • Throw the diabolo straight up the right hand side to about head level. If the throw was good enough, then the diabolo should come down spinning and steady
  • Pass a stick from the left hand to the right hand
  • Catch the diabolo.

The above process with one diabolo is essential. It's not worth going for it with two if you can't get it to work with one.

When your one diabolo throw in is solid, it's time to go for two. Click here for a movie of the start described below (725k download).

  • Get diabolo one going fast.
  • Transfer both sticks to your left hand so the right hand stick can be grabbed from it easily
  • Throw the second diabolo as above
  • Take the right handstick back from the left hand
  • Catch diabolo two on the right hand side

It's likely to take you a long time to get to this, the most frustrating stage of learning two diabolos. Even when you manage to catch the second diabolo, the shuffle is likely to fall apart quickly if it works at all. If you relax and let everything do what it wants (don't move your hands at all), the shuffle may go round a couple of times and eventually get too small so the diabolos crash or fall off the string. You may feel a compulsion to try to make the same movements you are used to making with one diabolo, or to flick the diabolos over from your left hand in an exaggerated movement. This probably won't get you anywhere.

Now is the time for you to understand how the shuffle works. If you watch someone do two diabolos, you'll see that they follow each diabolo down the right hand side with the end of the stick. This causes the diabolo to be in contact with the string for a long time - it gathers speed by rolling down the string. The movement of the right hand creates this movement and keeps the shuffle big enough to avoid collisions. The right hand should move in a clockwise circle, making one circle for each pass of a diabolo. Your aim is to make the end of the right hand stick stay just above the axle of each diabolo all the time it is on the right hand side. This movement will not come easily and may take weeks to become reliable. Most of the time, the sole job of the left hand is to allow the string to move but not to cause any movement itself. I get more control by pointing the left handstick side to side and the right handstick forwards. Here is a small video showing a two diabolo shuffle with no tricks and as little correcting as I could manage!

Beginners problems

  • Two collide or shuffle seems too narrow - your right hand is probably not making enough circular movement. This means that you're not putting a big enough influence on the diabolos. Work on the circlular movement of the end of the right handstick so it follows each diabolo all the way down the right hand side on every pass.
  • Diabolo misses string - either you're doing something with your left hand to try to make the shuffle go round so the diabolo goes too far to the right, or it's more likely that the hands are not in line. With two diabolos your hands must both be in line with each other and with the diabolo axles.
  • The diabolos are not lined up with each other. This can happen for various reasons. As you get better this will happen less, but it will always happen, so the answer is to learn how to make corrections.

Next page: Correcting two diabolos


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