2022-05-09: Yo-Yo Glossary


1A – Yo-Yoing with one yo-yo, attached to the string, attached to the hand. Non-looping tricks.

2A – Looping yo-yo tricks with two yo-yo’s attached to strings, attached to each hand.

3A – Non-looping tricks performed on two 1A style yo-yo’s, one attached to each hand.

4A – Offstring yo-yoing, similar to diabolo/chinese yo-yo, where the string is attached to the hand but not the yo-yo’s axle, allowing the yo-yo to be tossed high in the air, around the body, etc.

44 – Sometimes yo-yoers will refer to yo-yoing by ’44’ because the number sounds like ‘yo-yo’ when uttered in Japanese.

5A – Counterweight yo-yoing, invented and popularized by Steve Brown. Usually a 1A yo-yo with the string attached to its axle with a small weight attached to the slipknot rather than the throwhand.


André Boulay – Owner of YoYoExpert, formerly of team YoYoJam. Yo-yo educator and promoter.

Arm Grind – A yo-yo trick where the yo-yo is set on the forearm and allowed to ‘walk’ from the wrist to the elbow of the throwhand.


Ball Bearing – on a yo-yo a ball bearing usually takes the place of a trans-axle, and allowed for much longer tricks because of significantly reduced friction from the yo-yo’s axle onto the string.

Bi-Metal – a yo-yo manufactured out of two types of metal, usually aluminum and steel. Occasionally more exotic materials like titanium and magnesium are used. Usually a small ring of heavier metal is cut and press fit onto the lighter metal, the heavier piece placed to optimize weight distribution for maximum stability.

Bind – A trick / technique used to make a non-responsive yo-yo return to your hand.


Counterweight – a weight that is attached to the end of the yo-yo string that would normally be tied to the yo-yoer’s hand.


Duncan Toys – one of the most well known yo-yo manufacturers in the world. Helped to popularize the toy and make it household name.



Fixed Axle – a yo-yo that has no moving part, the hubs are either glued directly to the axle or mechanically adhered in some way where they spin at the same rate as the axle. This is generally considered a traditional yo-yo.

Freehand – Sometimes how 5A is referred to. Sometimes how your non-throwhand is referred to. Sometimes trademarked.

Friction Sticker – a grippy rubber sticker in the shape of an “o” that can be attached inside the hub of a yo-yo (usually a ball-bearing yo-yo with low friction on the string) that allows the yo-yo to more consistently return to the hand of the yo-yoer when they tug on the string. It does wear out eventually and needs to be replaced.


General-Yo – Boutique yo-yo manufacturer from the United States.


Hub – a yo-yo consists of two sides and an axle connecting those sides. The sides are often referred to as hubs.



Johnnie Delvalle – 2003 World yo-yo champion, United States national champion, and Bay Area Classic regional champion. Known for complicated slack and grind combos. Owner and operator of YoYoBestBuy.




Monometal – A yo-yo manufactured from one type of metal. Usually aluminum. 


Non-Throwhand – The hand that doesn’t hold/throw/catch the yo-yo. The non-throwhand is sometimes referred to as your freehand.


One Drop Yo-Yo’s – Eugene, Oregon based yo-yo manufacturer. Known for making their yo-yo’s in house, quality, and highly-skilled team members.


Pedro Flores – a historically significant yo-yoer, created the Flores Yo-Yo Company, spread yo-yoing around by personally traveling to locations and promoting the hobby. Sold their company and trademark to Donald Duncan.

PNWR – Pacific Northwest Regional Yo-Yo Contest. Was founded by Nathan Crissey as the Washington State yo-yo contest in 2005, went on to become the regional contest a few years later.



Rock the Baby – Classic yo-yo trick where a sleeping yo-yo is delicately rocked forward and back though a triangle of string, which is meant to simulate a rocking cradle.


Safety Throw – throwing a yo-yo softer than normal once after a sketchy bind to confirm there are no snags. Not using safety throws can lead to stitches.


Throwhand – The hand which the yo-yo is held, thrown by, and attached to with a slipknot unless a counterweight is being utilized.

Trans-axle – a trans-axle yo-yo is somewhere between a fixed axle yo-yo where the axle doesn’t spin, and a ball bearing yo-yo, where the axle spins freely. A trans-axle is essentially a sleeve that wraps around a smooth metal axle. The yo-yo string attaches to this sleeve instead of the axle directly. The sleeve (often made of plastic or wood) slips freely around the metal axle allowing for longer sleep times.




Walk the Dog – a staple yo-yo trick, every one will request you perform it for them. The yo-yo is thrown, allowed to sleep/spin at the bottom of the string. It is then gently set on the ground so that the spin of the yo-yo will drag is forward, creating the approximate representation of a person walking a dog on a leash.



YoYoExpert – Online yo-yo retailer, forum community, and educational hub.

YoYoFactory – One of the more popular modern yo-yo manufacturers, they have many world titles associated with their yo-yo’s and team members.

YoYoJam – a yo-yo manufacturer from the late 1990’s to around 2015. Produced some of the most sought after yo-yo’s and sponsored a bulk of the top yo-yoer’s during the business’ prime.


Zipline Strings – boutique yo-yo string manufacturer/yo-yo maker. Based in Nampa, Idaho.

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