Elliot’s Yo-Yo Secret: Practice, Practice, Practice


Payton Van Pelt, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

“I got a yo-yo at the grocery store,” Elliot McGinnity-Schneider said, “and never put it down after that.”

Elliot is Notre Dame’s own prized “thrower” (another term for yo-yoer and a term preferred by the senior).

After wowing the student body with his yo-yoing prowess at Mr. NDA, it’s nearly unbelievable to hear he began his yo-yoing career as a freshman.

“There isn’t a real secret to it besides practice. I feel like in sports you can practice and practice and get better, but at some point genetics and natural ability separates the people,” Elliot  explained. “In yo-yoing, however, the only way to get better is to practice, so it is really something anyone can do. I think about four or five weeks in was when I was really starting to make some substantial progress and spent multiple hours a day yo-yoing in my living room.”

While Elliot usually averages two hours a day of practice, he once found himself yo- yoing for six hours straight.

And as anyone engrossed in a passion, Elliot knows quite a lot about yo-yos.

He uses the traditional A1 style yoyo. This means that the yo-yo is “unresponsive,” or lacks the traditional up and down motion. This enables the yo-yoer to perform more complicated tricks which was witnessed during his Mr. NDA performance.

String-wise, Elliot uses 100% polyester extra-long string. The synthetic string will last longer than the typical cotton. He prefers the longer string because it provides him with more string to use.

Elliot also elaborated on his style of play, or type of tricks.

“In yo-yoing there are five styles of play,” he described. “There is 1A which is what most people think of when they think of yo-yoing, 2A where there are two yo-yos doing loops, 3A which is basically 1A but with two yo-yos, 4A where the yo-yo is not attached to the string, and 5A where the yo-yo is not attached to your hand.”

Elliot mostly focuses on the 1A style but is able to do some 2A and 4A.

Beyond knowing about yo-yoing, the Triton has competed as well. Last year in November he competed in an Illinois State Yo-yo Contest. As well as competing, Elliot has traveled to watch fellow yo-yoers. He journeyed all the way to Iceland to watch the world competition in August of last year.

“There is definitely an atmosphere of fun at a yo-yo contest. There is obviously the want to do well but there is mostly just hanging out with other yo-yoers and learning new tricks with them.”

Similar to a sport or practice of any kind, Elliot finds the satisfaction after all his hard work is finally paid off.

“I find it calming in my life, and it also makes me feel good when I learn a new trick,” said the senior. “I think that the satisfaction of learning a new trick is one of the best things. There isn’t anything better than finally hitting a trick you’ve been working on.”

Elliot thinks people should follow whatever will give them happiness, whether it follows the status quo. And for him, that’s yoyoing.

“I know it is something that I will always enjoy. I hope that everyone is able to find something like that for themselves.”