Beginner Hooping Tips: The 5 P’s For Newbies
by Shea Brock
I once had the pleasure of having some of my hoopers stop me after class to comment on how “fluid” or “graceful” my hooping appears. They wanted to know why it looks at times like I am barely moving while hooping, while they still feel “clumsy” or “all over the place”. I tried explaining that I have been hooping for years now and that when I started, I was really all over the place too. I also let them in on a little secret, that what they see in class sometimes isn’t really my hooping reality. You see, what we do in a classroom setting are moves I have typically done thousands of times, hence the seamless flow. Whenever I am asked what my hooping secrets are, however, my best advice for newbies who are picking up a hoop for the first time are the 5 P’s of hooping. What are the 5 P’s? Well, let me tell you about each of them.
1. Practice. I tell my hoopers all the time that beginner hooping is probably 10% talent and 90% repetition. There are very few people I have come across who pick up every move or trick without any problems. You might not land it the first five or fifty tries, but then you will suddenly nail it. Your flow will get smoother the more you hoop. I know it’s hard to believe, but even the pros were clunky and awkward when they began. One of the most important things to remember when it comes to improving your “flow” is that sometimes you need to go over, and over, and over, and over a move some more until your body learns what it is doing. When you think you have practiced a move enough, do it a couple more times.
2. Patience. It breaks my heart when I see someone pick up a hoop, spin it once and when it falls, storm off declaring “See I can’t hoop!” Learning to hoop is a process. It is a process you are not going to get all at once. You’re not going to learn every trick right away, and most things you’re not going to get on the first try. When I first started hooping I was one of those people who just couldn’t hoop too. I would pick that sucker up week after week in class only to watch it fall over. and over, and over again. My teacher, Sunny, would ask at the beginning of class what our goals were. Mine were always to keep it up for more than 15 seconds. It was 6 weeks before I could keep the hoop on my waist for a whole song. On that day I had my beginner hooping “come to jesus meeting” with me, my hoop, and Justin Timberlake in my backyard. Nothing like a little “Sexy Back” to get you moving. Love yourself. Give yourself time. Be patient with yourself and learn to enjoy the ride.
3. Personality. Hooping has evolved into so much more than just spinning a piece of plastic around your waist. Just checking out this website can be a little daunting when you’re a new hooper. When you do, it won’t take long before you realize just how many different styles of hooping there are out there. But to me that’s why hooping is so awesome. There are so many different ways to do it; everyone has a place to fit in. Just like everyone’s personality is different, so is the way they hoop. It’s your hoop style, or your “hoop fingerprint” in a way. Just look at Anah, Baxter, Brecken; how boring would our little community be if we didn’t bring our own sense of being into the circle with us. It’s fun to watch other people and try to incorporate some of their style into your own, but just remember to try and be your authentic self cause that’s where all the greatest satisfaction comes from.
4. Perseverance. When I think of perseverance, arms inside while chest hooping comes to mind. It is one of the prettier moves and one new hoopers usually want to learn right away. It was also the bane of my existence. My friend Janet is a belly dancer, she picked it up right away. I, on the other hand, had no real dance background and struggled with it for six months, trying repeatedly with no such luck. I watched every tutorial I could find, even took a workshop or until I put it away and focused on other moves instead. But I eventually did land it, and it remains one of my favorite things to do while hooping. We all have that move, that Great White Buffalo that eludes us. Put the hoop down, but don’t put it away. Clear your mind and come back to it, it will be worth the wait. Now if I could just do it in my non-dominant hooping direction, I would be tickled pink!
5. Pass It On. This is a no-brainer. If you love something you’re going to want to pass it on to someone else; to get them as hooked as you are. If nothing else, it will give you a hooping partner, someone to jam with. I was passing it on long before I started making hoops and leading classes – and honestly, it just happened. I talked about hooping all the time, and when people saw how happy I was and how good it made me feel, they naturally wanted to try it too! I invited people to my house to jam. I took extra hoops to the park to let curious people try. I gave hoops away as gifts. I donated hoops to people I thought could use them. Some of my friends wanted to learn, so a few asked me to teach. They came to a class, fell in love with the hoop, and then they brought someone else along. Our community is often being built one happy hooper at a time, so reel someone in.
So that’s the 5 P’s, beginner hooping tips for all of of our newbies out there. Welcome to our hooping family! We sure are glad you found us and with these 5 principles in mind you really can’t go wrong.
Hooping.org columnist Shea Brock loves hooping and sharing the joy of it with everyone she meets. She has a hooping business of her own where she makes and sells hoops and teaches as well in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA, where she’s slowly building an army of hoopers so she doesn’t have to hoop alone.