Learning Counterweight (5A)


One style of yo-yo is known as Counterweight (Free hand, or 5A). This tutorial is to help get you started on your way to becoming the next 5A champ.


So what is Counterweight?

Counterweight refers to a style of play where the yo-yo isn’t connected to your hand, but is rather attached to a weight, or more appropriately, a counter-weight, which leaves your throw hand “free.”

Counterweight gives you a bit more freedom than standard string tricks, freeing up both hands to control the yo-yo and string, but it can demand a lot more control and timing. Take a look:

>>2019 World Yo-Yo Contest 5A Champion Hideo Ishida

You’ll need a string-play yo-yo and a weight, at the very least. There are yo-yos that come bundled for counterweight play, such as Duncan’s Freehand NextGen and Raptor, which come with their own weights of various shapes and sizes. For beginners, we recommend a soft weight, like the standard Rubber Ball and Candy Dice.



Attaching the weight


A. For Dice

Stick the knotted end of your string through the hole in the dice.

Tie a loop at the end of the string, then pull the other end of the string through the loop.

B. For Rubber Ball

Tie off the loop at the end of the string, making the knot larger than the hole in the rubber ball.

Take the other end of the string (where the yo-yo will attach) and run it through the hole in the ball, pulling it all the way to the knot at the other end.

Holding the yo-yo

Make a pistol with your hand

…and place the yo-yo between your thumb and forefinger, with your other fingers holding the string up to the weight

The basics

Time to re-learn the basic; it takes a while to get used to holding onto the weight instead of the string being attached to your hand, and the catch is also tricky. Start slowly, or you’ll find yourself chasing your yo-yo down the hall. If you’re using a bind-response yo-yo, check out the Throwdown + Bind video for practice.

>>Throwdown vs. Long Sleeper

4. Trapeze

Next up is the basic side throw mount, the trapeze. Since your grip is different from 1A, this may take some practice

>>Trapeze / Trapeze + Bind

5. Trapeze + Switch

Here’s where you start to learn how to use the counterweight; switching your mounts from right to left is just one way you can enjoy the freedom of counterweight. Shorter strings might make this easy at first.

>>Trapeze + Switch

Want to learn more?

So you’ve mastered the basics and want to learn more? Check out the trick list to find more. Of course, youtube is your best friend when learning and sharing new moves!

Counterweight Trick List