Ahh, the sidewinder, the most elusive and beautiful bird in the animal kingdom. Did you know that the average sidewinder has a twelve-foot vertical leap and can swallow a Volkswagen Bus whole?
Just kidding, I made that up. Wouldn’t it be crazy, though? Man, snakes are weird. Anyways, this Fixed Friday is all about sidewinder, a classic string adjustment technique with a place in every well-rounded player’s trick vocabulary that’s had a surprising resurgence in modern 1A . Let’s check it out:
First up we got the garden variety sidewinder. You throw down the yo-yo, move your hand to the side as the yo-yo returns, the string makes a pretty lil’ fluttery motion, and you catch it. If you’re having trouble getting the flutter, try throwing a little bit softer. When the yo-yo hits the bottom of the string, tug a little bit harder than usual to return it so that it pops in the air a little bit – only a little bit! Don’t hit yourself in the face, now. As the yo-yo travels up the string, quickly move your hand to the side. If you do everything correctly, you’ll notice that you’re pulling the string against the side of the yo-yo, which causes the fluttering as the yo-yo winds up. After you get comfortable getting one or two flutters, try it on the other side of the yo-yo. Sweet! You did it! Yeah!
…so, a trick that flaps the string. No big deal, right? Well, I personally happen to think it’s beautiful, but more importantly, you’ll probably remember that I mentioned string adjustment. You can use sidewinder to fix your tension! Every time you move your hand to the right side of the yo-yo on a sidewinder, it tightens the string, and every time you move it to the left it loosens it. This is hugely important when playing with fixed axle yo-yos, because string tension actually affects your response. If your fixie is too responsive, trying loosening the string, and vice-versa if it’s not responsive enough. This is definitely one of the fastest ways to fix your string tension, and a valuable tool in any player’s arsenal.
Now that we’ve got the basic one down, let’s talk about some weird stuff. First off, the double sidewinder: you may argue that this trick is pointless, because sidewinding on both sides undoes whatever good it would’ve done… but hey, what’s the point of any yo-yo trick? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Smartypants. What were we talking abou- oh, yeah. Double sidewinder may not fix your tension or get you any points in a contest, but it can be a surprise burner in games of Butterfly Horse, and a surefire way to impress old school players. (Former THP members, of course, won’t be impressed unless you can pull off a triple – what’s up Joseph Harris?)
Next up in the silly trick parade is Vertical Sidewinder. Long considered impossible, still considered a joke by many, and an absolute killer in Butterfly Horse, this one requires high ceilings and a lot of patience – but if you can get used to the timing and have a little luck with gravity, it’s not too bad. (Bonus Points: Show this to anybody on the Werrd team and call it “Sidewinder Down Under.” Trust me, they love it.)
Moving into the modern, string-based tricks, we got sidewinder to thumb stall. This may be the simplest of sidewinder-to-stall tricks, because it can all be handled with one hand: perform a sidewinder, stick your thumb out to intercept the string, and stick the landing on the string instead of catching it like normal. This principle can be applied to pretty much any stall you can think of, and I strongly encouraging trying to land a trapeze or braintwister stall once you get the thumb mount down, you’ll probably just have to move a little faster.
Let’s finish this week off with a short tech stall combo, which is an original that I’m calling LFO. It could basically be described as a Trap Stall > Dumptruck > Sidewinder > Trap Stall sequence, and it should give a little example of how sidewinders can be executed into and out of string trick combos. Pairing sidewinders with dumptrucks is nice, because the flip effectively sets you up with a straight throw that can be regenerated and sidewinder’ed into a stall. These are especially exciting in the field of responsive play, because stalls/loops/etc. allow you to mix in sidewinders on any regeneration, which would be the flutteriest freestyle of all time.
While sidewinder undoubtedly began in the world of response, it does have a place in modern unresponsive play. Palli’s got an amazing trick called grindwinder (see :20 in this fantastic video for the original), and then there’s Vu’s awesome “Hangtime” and it’s not at all uncommon to see players performing sidewinders from binds in competition.
Also, if you do a sidewinder against baggy pants it makes a weird flapping noise, and the trick is called – wait for it – “Rattlesnake.” Need I say any more? I hope not. Go learn this trick and talk about it with other fixed axle fiends on the facebook group. (and hey, why don’t you like YoYoNews while you’re at it?)