Diabolo Tricks
written for righties
Flash Movie Controls allow viewing larger animations with stop/step controls.

All animations are of the performer's view.

The Whip Catch

source: Hayden Muhl

This is a trick that will have your entire audience slack jawed, if you pull it off. You start by throwing the diabolo with one on the many variations of the trick where you have both sticks in one hand and the string simply releases the diabolo. The real trick is how you catch it. To the audience it will look like you snatch it right out of the air. As the diabolo comes back down towards the ground you have both sticks in one hand and swing the string at the diabolo. The secret: When you have both sticks in one hand the string forms a loop that hangs down. Think of the loop as having a left and a right side. As the diabolo comes down towards the ground and you catch the diabolo using the whip motion, one side of the loop has to hit the axle, and the other has to miss and go past one of the two bowls. The whip motion and the diabolo pulling the string taut also give you a nice whip sound effect. See also the Grind with a Whip Catch Trick.

The Loop and Hook trick puts both your sticks in your right hand and ready to perform the righthand Whip Catch. These two tricks work together nicely.

Right Handed Basic Whip Catch Tips:

Many diaboloist don't use this trick because it isn't very consistent for them. Here's a few pointers that might help.

1) Your toss is very important, your toss needs to be where your loop can reach the axle and be parallel to the diabolo's sides. Hold the diabolo straight out from your left side with your left hand holding the near cup (your left arm is level with the ground). Hold it straight out as if it were suspended in a toss and make sure the axle is not covered by your hand. Now with both sticks in your right hand, turn slightly to the left and swing in a vertical circle toward the axle. Even though your left fingers might get whipped now and then this is a way to realize the swing required and where the toss needs to be. A good practice is to look at the axle and swing to it.

2) Now practice tossing your diabolo so it is located in the same spot as is you were holding it out as in step 1. If you can toss it there, then you can turn and whip just as you practiced in step 1.

3) If you are having trouble getting both sticks in one hand, then use or learn the Loop and Hook trick which sets up with both sticks in the right before the toss.

4) Your swing is like a windmill swing and your two-stick grip may work best as a 'V.' Together your swing and your grip need to create a flying loop that will catch any spinning diabolo in its path. One way to ensure a catch is to strike the axle area with your left stick's end in your swing. This almost guarantees that your left string is on track to catch the axle. It also makes a nice cracking sound.

5) Another inconsistent problem with whip catches is the strings being crossed after the catch. Often times the right side string ends up over the axle instead of the left. The best way out of this is to quickly toss the diabolo by correctly crossing your arms, uncrossing, and then catching the diabolo on open string. Also sometimes both strings catch the axle and the diabolo wraps up toward the sticks. One nice plan from there is to hold your right hand high and wait for the diabolo to unwind with your left hand below it. Usually the diabolo will unwind and fall from the string into your waiting left hand. Understanding these possibilities makes your actions looked planned. See the Fake Whip Catch.


Left Whip Catch (Left Handed):

A toss to the right of you gives your left a better angle. Practice handing the right stick to your left hand and practice the left-handed swing so it is as efficient as your right is during your Right Hand Whip Catch.


Under Hand Whip Catch
see Flash Movie Controls

1) Toss the diabolo about head high, over to your left side.

2) After placing both sticks in your right hand the string should swing under your sticks to the right. You can quickly point your sticks downward in a backswing after the handoff.

RIGHT HAND GRIP NOTES: You may want to hand the left stick under the right stick and then end up holding them in a 'V' with your right pointer finger between them. Also it is recommended to have the back of your hand above the held sticks. This allows for better wrist action.

3) Reverse the swing of the string with a quick move of the wrist toward the falling diabolo. From your backswing at 6 o'clock, your wrist snap swings the sticks and string quickly to about 10 o'clock.

4)   As you are swinging up, the diabolo is falling. If your aim is correct the right stick will actually point at the diabolo's axle as they pass each other. The right string should catch under the axle and the diabolo is caught.

5) With the right touch the falling diabolo should stop, with the strings are straight below horizontal sticks. The sticks straighten out and point left (9 o'clock) with the weight and sudden 'brake' of the action.

6) Although this is difficult to master consistently it is a finally show stopper. A similar trick is the Behind Back Whip Catch.


Two Handed Whip Catch

Toss the diabolo out to one side and swing both hands and sticks close together so a similar loop forms in the string. Swinging down at the axle from above makes catching easier.


Above the Shoulder Whip Catch
see Flash Movie Controls

 source: Shaun Bryan - Jugglefest '97, Columbia, MO USA

(Best toss is from the Loop and Hook Trick so you are facing left behind the diabolo before toss. Release is made with both sticks in the right hand. Diabolo flies up over right shoulder and behind you. Whip is a back wrist snap so the string 'reaches' back horizontally so it can wrap around diabolo axle. Catch is a forward wrist snap that brings the diabolo straight forward at the audience) This trick takes practice, but it is very nice.


From out of Overarm Orbits:  (Overarm Whip Catch) 

(After an over-the-(right)arm orbit, toss the diabolo straight up a bit so it will fall down along your right side. Keep you right arm in that same position. Before the diabolo begins to fall, quickly hand your left stick to your right hand next to your right stick; hand that left stick around the front and then to the right side -of your right hand- so the handles sit together in a good 'whip grip' position. Keeping your right hand back in its over-the-arm position, wait for your left hand to get the hell out of the way, then quickly snap your right wrist so the string swings in a three quarter circle down after the falling diabolo. The catch should be made at about your knee or below.)


Behind Back Whip Catch:

(Toss off left side, arch back and move your butt forward or even step forward, swing loop with right hand toward left side behind back, look at axle for reference and good luck.)

Behind the Back with Sun:

(After Behind the Back Whip Catch pendulum the diabolo back to the right so you make a one-armed CC Sun, behind the back, to return the diabolo to in front of you.)

Extra Whip:

Tossing the diabolo higher gives you more time for extra moves while it is falling. Body moves are obvious, but another whip of the string adds much flash to the trick. Care should be taken that after your extra whip the loop is ready for the whip catch swing.


Fake Whip Catch
see Flash Movie Controls

source: Guilherme Mello, Brazil, South America

1) Start with a lot of spin.

2) Now toss the diabolo from the Loop And Hook trick so the diabolo is tossed up on your left side. When you hook the string before the toss, hold the sticks close together in your right hand.

3) After the diabolo is tossed, turn to the left and swing toward the falling diabolo with your right hand and sticks, as you would with a righthand Whip Catch. Remember your sticks are side by side here closing the loop of string you would normally have during a Whip Catch swing.

4) Swing the string so it hits the middle of the diabolo on the axle. When both strings hit the axle,
the diabolo will climb up the string in a string wrap.

5) Then the diabolo will climb back down the string. Just as the diabolo is about to fall off the string, toss it up. Tossing it is done by sharply pulling upward with the right hand and sticks.

6) While the diabolo is in the air reach over with the left hand and take back the left stick so you can catch the diabolo and smile because you have just learned a Brazilian trick!

See also Note 3 on whip catch problems.


One-armed Whippy

source: Chad Lunders, USA

1) Start with a Righthand Whip Catch off to the left side, but 'whip' so the inside string misses the axle and the outside string hits the diabolo's axle. This will leave the diabolo in a left backside where the string is crossed above the diabolo.

2) Holding both sticks still in the right hand, position them to point forward.

3)Do a one-handed Clockwise Sun where the diabolo goes 360 degrees around the sticks. The diabolo is still on crossed string. For reference, check out a two hand Clockwise Sun.

3) Holding both sticks still in the right hand, position them to point forward and in a forked method so the stick ends are apart..

4) Do a one-hand right trapeze which is a counterclockwise swing out to the right side making the diabolo go around, up, and landing between the sticks. If done correctly diabolo should be hanging between the sticks in a couple string loops. For reference, check out a two hand Right Trapeze.

5) Now do a clockwise movement of the diabolo so it rises up on the left side of the sticks into a toss release. Take care to point the stick ends toward the rising diabolo so the string loops will release.

6) The toss should be off to your left side so you can finish the trick with another Righthand Whip Catch.


Whip Catch Start

source: Jay Whythe, Alness, Scotland

1) Start with the toss of a Toss Start off to your right side with your left hand tossing the diabolo. Both sticks are in your right hand.

2) While the diabolo is in the air, get your sticks ready for a Righthand Whip Catch. This is just making sure that both sticks in your right are in a 'V'.

3) Whip Catch the falling diabolo and begin with power pulls for a great beginning.

Behind the Back Whip Catch Start

source: Stuart Murray, Alness, Scotland

1) With your left hand do a Toss Start straight up a bit over your head. Both sticks are in your right hand.

2) When the diabolo is high enough step one step forward.

3) When the diabolo has fallen to about waist high do a Behind Back Whip Catch.

3) After the Whip Catch, begin with power pulls for a great beginning.

(This bounce trick works best with rubber diabolos not hard plastic. Henry Jazz and Circus work the best and most of Mister Babache's diabolos aslo bounce well.)

source: Adam Kilmer - Kokomo, IN, USA

1) Start with plenty of spin, with NO tilt (this becomes crucial).

2) Toss the diabolo up and off to your left side as you would with the Righthand Whip Catch.

3) While the diabolo is in the air, move your left stick to your righthand so both sticks are in your right. Also, as it falls, turn yourself parallel (turn 90 degrees to
the left), so you can see the axle.

4) Let the diabolo fall and bounce off the floor or ground. Note: The more spin you have, the farther it
will bounce to the left.

5) After the bounce calculate your timing and swing your sticks and string toward the diabolo to 'catch' it at the usual ('whip') catching height. Variation: Let it bounce high, and then catch it on its fall.

6) After the catch check that the string is open on the diabolo's axle. Note: The correct grip on both sticks can insure that you end on open string and back to normal. Remember to hold the sticks in a 'V' and aim the stick (that was in your left hand) at the diabolo's axle.

As in the usual whip catch, the throw makes a lot of difference. Make sure you don't throw it too gently, or it won't bounce high enough to be impressive. Also, make sure it bounces far enough away from you, so that you aren't cramped. Do this trick on a hard, flat surface, of course.

Another bounce trick is the Henry Hop.

Zorro Whip Catch:

1) Toss the diabolo high. Try to keep in mind that you will be catching off to your left.

2) As soon as the diabolo is off, hand your left handstick off to your right so you have both sticks in one hand. Note a finger can be placed between the sticks so the sticks form a 'V'.

3) Now quickly make like Zorro (the famouse Mexican rebel and 'sign' a "Z" in front of you with 3 quick motions with your sticks in your right hand. Your sticks are your sword.

4) Finish your 'Z' and make a Whip Catch off to your left of the falling diabolo. This is where you swing down and out to the left to snag the diabolo.

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