Forums > Help! > Spinning evenly, straight and true - how???

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solar_bearSILVER Member
78 posts
Location: Kent, UK

Well it's been a month since I was first handed some socks and tennis balls and wished luck. I've almost covered the beginners section of the DVD and hope to have the basic butterflies it describes under basic control (i.e. still slightly wobbly with a few knocks) by the end of the week.

Woo - this is fun bounce

Anyway, I've searched and found good answers for many of my n00b questions, but have had no luck with this...

I've been standing with my back to an outside light and using my shadow to monitor my swing. Doing the basic forward swing, I can see my right poi spinning nice and vertically, parallel to my body and at right angles to the floor. Unfortunately the left is a little untidy, either swinging closer to my leg than my head or "coming around the front". This gets worse when I break it up into opposite swing (poi at 180 to each other) and sometimes carries on into my basic butterfly. Even though the poi aren't clashing so much now, I can still feel the left one whizzing past my shins too often for comfort.

It's less of a problem when I spin backwards (something I seem to find naturally easier anyway - am I a freak?), although still a little untidy with opposite timing.

I suppose in the end the answer is "practice, my man - and plenty of it" I was just wondering if anyone else had come across this problem and what they had done to solve it. I'm paying close attention to my hand / wrist positions and movements, but still can't seem to get the damn thing swinging straight and really want to get this sorted before I move on to the intermediate section.

Any hints or tips to share?

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animatEdBRONZE Member
1 + 1 = 3
3,540 posts
Location: Bristol UK

you got the idea already.

Practise. smile

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oliSILVER Member
not with cactus
2,052 posts
Location: bristol/ southern eastern devon, United Kingdom

yea, i dont think any one has clean planes straight away... just takes a fair bit of spinning and they will be straight as you like. aned backwards butterfly is by far and away easier than forewards.. wink

also one tip: maybe use something in you socks that is heavier than tennis balls,(rice is good, lumps of lead and old bits of computer hard drive are not) you should find this makes your spin straighter.

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Fine_Rabid_DogInternet Hate Machine
10,530 posts
Location: They seek him here, they seek him there...

Practice practice practice. smile

And take up staff. wink

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IgirisujinSILVER Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
2,666 posts
Location: Preston, United Kingdom

If you want to clean up your planes then spinning tailed poi might be helpfull in two ways...

First of all with some moves the tails will help you see if your planes are getting too close because the long tails will hit each other, so your hands will adjust themselves over time if this happens.

Also when you spin the long tails they will be easily seen certainly much easyer than glimpsing at your shadow. You can get a good visual idea of your plane movments because the tails will follow the planes.

If you do go for these make sure you buy tails made from ripstop nylon (the same matewrial those giant kytes are made from) so the material dosent shred and will last years and be easy to clean with a damp cloth.

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DuncGOLD Member
playing the days away
7,263 posts
Location: The Middle lands, United Kingdom

The best tip fo sure is practice pratice. Even if you just have the poi in one hand moving while the other is held still at your side.

Is it safe to presume you're right handed? If so the left always takes a little while longer to catch up. It's not so used to being used!

Written by: Oli

maybe use something in you socks that is heavier than tennis balls,(rice is good, lumps of lead and old bits of computer hard drive are not) you should find this makes your spin straighter.

It worked for you didn't it! tongue I remember using your bits of thick electrical wire and 2p coins red poi at Falmouth I and keeping my plains dead straight to avoid whacking the crap out of my head! ubblol

danger = accelerated learning wink

I hope you work it out soon. Look forward to it soon becoming much more fun when you can do it without having to think about it so much biggrin hug

Let's relight this forum ubblove

Fine_Rabid_DogInternet Hate Machine
10,530 posts
Location: They seek him here, they seek him there...

Does it really matter what poi you spin?

You could spin hedgehogs on the end of chains (they\'d have to be the same weight, mind wink ) and you could still practice your planes. smile

The existance of flamethrowers says that someone, somewhere, at sometime said "I need to set that thing on fire, but it's too far away."

PyroWillGOLD Member
HoP's Barman. Trapped aged 6 months
4,437 posts
Location: Staines, United Kingdom

Awww google didnt come up with any hedgehog poi, damn, was hoping for a good picture!

Solar bear, when I first started spinning poi my planes were all over the place, and it really annoyed me because every time I went into a transition they would collide and tangle.

I'd suggest two things, firstly what oli said use something maybe a bit heavier for the planes, secondly spin against a wall, try and make it that the wrist that is out of plane is doing JUST circles (forward and backward) about3 inches from thew all, if you can do that bring it to 2 inches and then 1 inch, you shoudl then be spinning without the poi hitting the wall, if it hits the wall work on tilting your wrist, it is all just practise. Also i'd advise for LEARNING poi, not to get tail poi, have yourselfd a pair anyway because they are great, especially with the summer on the way but for learning they tangle too easily and the thin string connecting the handle to the poi is very thin so not best to work planes out with, get yourself some sock poi. If you dont know how to make some use the search function on thsi website, there are many useful threads out there, my tip to making sock poi would be get some knee high socks, cool stripey ones, turn them inside out, get some dried lentils (a health food shop or supermarket is your best bet) and pour anywhere from 130g to 200g depending on your preference, (i'd suggest about 140, not to heavy) of the lentils into each sock then tie a knot as far down as you can but not so that the lentils are totally packed together. then put your hand down the sock and grab the ball at the end and pull it through so you turn the poi's inside out, there you go biggrin instant sock poi, for added security tie a knot at the base of this new shape as well, but ebst to spin first so you cna choose if its too heavy or light in case you need to get at the lentils again.

Hope this helps
Good luck

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solar_bearSILVER Member
78 posts
Location: Kent, UK

Thanks for the advice so far, everybody smile

Yes, I am right-handed. I started off with socks and tennis balls given by a friend, I've since adapted these, length and knot-wise and bought a pair of fluffy practice poi on chains (+DVD) from the HOP shop. I still use the socks a lot and find them most useful for getting into new moves and for increasing speed with ones I've got a better hang of.

I can see the value of tail poi in improving technique and they are on my shopping list, but I've seen a lot of beginners at festivals getting very tangled up in them as well. I'll probably leave them until the summer and maybe use them as a prelude to fire.

In the meantime it's still getting dark quite early around here (UK) and I've invested in some LED glow poi from Ebay; there's a load of slightly shop-soiled ones available at the moment and a guy who puts a few of his regular, more expensive items up for auction starting at 99p, once or twice a week.

Back on topic... I especially like the wall idea and will certainly be giving that a go right away.

Thanks again, chaps - all further tips welcome smile

It may stop, but it never ends.

TheGreatSaintGOLD Member
48 posts
Location: Canada

Sounds like you've spent a lot of money on poi. I guess some people just don't have the time to make things on their own. I bought one pair of monkey fist knots and I'm still reluctant to burn them because I spent soo much money on them. My home made ones cost at least a quarter of what I spend online.

Anyways, back on topic:

Have you attempted the 2 beat weave: like the 3 bt weave, except your arms/hands only cross over once. Example: left hand crosses over right hand then back to foreward weave.

This gives you a basic introduction into the weave and it also gets you straightening your planes on the fly. This is the basic breaking down of the 3 bt weave. You kinda need to know how to break down moves or learning becomes difficult, so if you can do the 3 bt weave already, try the 2 bt weave.

I started out with a 2bt weave then practiced like mad until I got it on my left side (I'm right handed as well, so I had trouble learning my left side). My foreword planes are near perfect now, although for effect, I like to change the speed of each poi a little. You will need to practice this if you are going to attempt a 2 beat weave.

With the weave your poi is on reflective planes (poi are opposite to each other). So this will change your foreword swing to "split time". I'm just expressing temporarily speeding up or slowing down one poi until it turns your swing into reflective planes. Basically, one side of the foreword swing will reach the summit of its circle while the other side of the foreword swing will reach the bottom of its circle.

If you can manage to change the timing of your foreword swing, this will make the 2 bt cross over easier. Your right arm crosses under your left arm just before it reaches bottom of the swing. Your left arm will cross over just before it reaches the top of the swing. Then on the upward swing of your right arm you cross back over into foreword weave. The same goes with the downward swing of the left arm.

This might delve into a lot detail, but I think it gets muscle groups going that lead into more advanced moves and also give your wrists more control over what is happening with your foreword swing. You are also working on your timing. You will be a freak in my books if you can do a reverse 2bt weave before you do a normal one (try it out and tell me how it goes).


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