Learning a new trick can be a very rewarding, yet very frustrating experience. There are many great tutorial makers out there that go into incredible detail and really help the community grow. However, many of you have probably watched a freestyle video where one trick in particular catches your eye. This trick may go unnoticed by all those wonderful tutorial makers, leaving you to fend for yourself. You can watch the video repeatedly, but a lot of tricks happen in the blink of an eye. Having a few tools will definitely speed up the learning process.
I am going to assume most people are using smartphones (I am personally an Android user), but these techniques work just as well on a computer.
Step 1: Download the video.
First, you have to get the video on to your device. If the video file is hosted on a site that let’s you download it directly, then you can already skip to Step 2. If the video is hosted on YouTube or Instagram, you’ll need a bit of help.
Both YouTube and Instagram will let you copy a video’s share URL. This link is usually found in the Share menu. Once you have the link, it’s time to use the first app.
4vid ( https://4vid.co/ ) – available via web browser or on Google Play
This app takes the share URL and turns it into a downloadable file. There are many different sites that do this, but 4vid is simple and doesn’t require any email addresses or account registration. Now that you have the video, it’s time to focus in on the trick.
Step 2: Isolating the trick.
For the next step, I use an app called AndroVid Pro. There are a wide variety of video editors out there, but this one has 3 important features: Trimming, Cropping and Speed Control.
Videos contain a lot more than just the trick in question. When learning a new trick, it can be very frustrating having to sit through an introduction, let alone a 3 minute routine, just to get to the part you need. Right off the bat, use the trim tool to isolate the trick. Now you’ll have a clip that’s only a few seconds in length and contains the entire trick and nothing but the trick. For longer, more complex combos, it may be easier to isolate sections of the trick and learn it in multiple parts.
Cropping allows you to zoom in on the video, at the cost of resolution. The video may not look as crisp, but you’ll typically get a much closer view of string and finger placement, while also cutting out any excess background.
The final step is to slow everything way down. Reducing the speed of the video will let you catch small details and rejection type elements that you may not be able to see in real time. This will also allow you to focus on supplementary movements, instead of the big, flashy trick that caught your eye in the first place. Pay attention to each finger and how the thrower aligns their hands during each movement.
Step 3: Watch & Learn.
Unfortunately, there is no app to help with this part. This is what separates the throwers from the casuals. Just keep watching and keep throwing.
One piece of advice that I do have, is pay attention to each of your attempts. If you blindly keep throwing over and over, you’ll usually end up with the same results. The goal is to learn the trick, not to accidentally land it. When you miss an element, take a second to think about what happened. Were your hands too far apart, did you run out of momentum, was your plane management off, was the loop too small to catch, was it too large to whip…try to correct yourself at each step. Many tricks come down to muscle memory and if you start learning a trick with poor form, it’ll be much harder to correct going forward.
Hopefully, these tips will help speed up your learning process, but it really all comes down to practice. It’s also important to note that some throwers are just magicians.