Stall somersaults are very similar to the somersaults in traditional 1A, but can make a marked difference in breaking down the dead time and pauses intrinsic to stall play. There are a few key differences that can make them a little bit trickier to learn initially, but once mastered can be used to your advantage in constructing smoother, more dynamic tricks. I highly recommend learning somersaults in order to speed up your play and get away from the “back and forth” look that comes with stalls. They can even help you build up momentum to power into new tricks with more spin than you would have otherwise, cushion the “impact” of incoming stalls, and a thousand other uses – whatever, you’ll figure ’em out, let’s get learning’!
The first thing you’ll probably notice when attempting a stall somersault is that the yo-yo will wiggle, twist, and generally be difficult about the whole flipping over thing. This is, as you have probably learned by now, because the yo-yo is not spinning and thus not stabilized, but it’s still obnoxious. Fortunately, there are a few ways to minimize this effect – and a few ways to use it to your advantage, but we’ll talk about that in a later installment.
The first way that people usually learn to balance their yo-yos in a stall somersault is taking careful note of how far apart their hands are and trying to maintain that distance, which stops the string segments from twisting together. This also has a bit of a different visual effect, because it usually results in a larger, slower somersault – Chris Neff was and is the master of this style of somersault with spinning yo-yos, and his style makes for a great template to copy when learning them.
Another thing worth learning about stall somersaults (and stalls in general) is that the closer the yo-yo is to your hand, the less likely it is to flop around. Learning these is less about somersaults and more about where you catch the stall, and is unfortunately mostly something you’ll just have to learn through feeling and practice. Learn how your yo-yo responds, practice moving your hands together on the return, and try to get it to land as close to your hand on the string as possible. Also, you’re probably gonna hit your knuckles a couple of times. Sorry about that. The good news is that once you learn to manage this you’ll have much better control over how your tricks look altogether, and you’ll be able to fire off snappy somersaults without having to worry about the yo-yo twisting up at all.
A third, more technical way to manage the somersault is to do a double-on stall, which also lets you do an additional flip during the dismount for extra flair. You can do achieve this mount a number of ways, such as trying a double-on trapeze motion from a simple trapeze stall, or even just wrapping the string around the yo-yo an extra time. One of my favorite ways to get into it is actually an instamount; it’s a little bit more advanced, and will probably result in at least a couple of knucklebusters, but it’s a nice flashy trick to add to your arsenal. As the yo-yo is returning and just before it lands on the string, move your throwhand around the yo-yo so that the string wraps it and it lands in a double-on trapeze stall. And don’t hit your knuckles. That’s the tough part, I guess.
Anyways, learn some basic stall somersaults, spice up your combos, get more power out of your combos, and don’t forget to tell everybody about it over at the Facebook group. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What elements from modern braintwister combos can be worked into stall somersaults? Are somersaults purely flashy, or do they add layers of subtlety to trick composition? What are some other ways to control momentum mid-trick?