What are your best 3 or 4 pieces of advice, tips or troubleshooting for beginning hoopers? It can be general or move specific.
I would like to eventually consolidate the tips into categories (i.e. general, waist, leg, hoop sizing, isolations, etc) and create one article for each category for beginners. We have a lot of repeat discussions asking for advice on the same topics. I don't want to discourage anyone from posting, but if we had articles for each, people would know where to look for answers. If anyone wanted advice on their specific problems, they could post a video for feedback instead of starting a new discussion.
Here are mine:
1. General: Practice as much without the hoop as you do with the hoop.
I didn't get chest, shoulder and knee hooping until I spent a lot of time invisible hooping while I was fixing dinner or standing in line at the supermarket. Even when you are practicing without the hoop, you are creating muscle memory. The movement becomes automatic, and when you have the hoop you can spend more of your conscious thought on timing and responding to the hoop.
2. General: Show some skin.
I am 5'6" and was over 200 lbs when I started hooping, but I still did all of my outside hooping in tank tops and short shorts and all of my inside hooping in underwear and a bra. The tape really does stick best to skin, so take it all off.
3. General: Two hoops are best.
A large, heavy hoop (42"-45" diameter, 3/4" 160psi for the average-sized person) is better for learning waist, chest and shoulder hooping. A large, light hoop (40" diameter, either 1/2" 125psi or 3/4" 100psi) is better for learning knee hooping and easier on the hands for hand hooping than a heavy hoop. Once you have learned the techniques, you will be able to meet in the middle and just use one hoop for everything. If you only have a heavy hoop, I suggest that you get weight lifting or biking gloves and wear them backwards on the opposite hand (this puts the padding on the back) as suggested by Lealyn to protect your hands in hand hooping. If you are a hoop seller, you might consider offering sets.
4. General: Take a break, but don't give up.
None of the core hooping skills has come easily for me. I'm not a natural hooper. I've had to work for everything, but I do eventually get it. If a move is driving me mad, I will leave it alone for a few days, or even a few weeks and practice without the hoop (see #1). When I come back to it, somehow it just clicks. This has happened for me with lifts from the waist, chest rolls, chest hooping and shoulder hooping.
1) General: Don't worry if you think you're learning all the tricks "too fast", the tricks are just one small part of hooping.
Before I even got a hoop I spent months and months watching videos and tutorials. I just wanted to do crazy tricks and nearly impossible stunts. Then around the 3 months mark I panicked. I learned all the moves on my little cheat sheet and figured there couldn't possible be anything else to it. It was around the same time that I actually starting to learn something from hooping.
2) General: Don't hoop on bruises - no matter what size.
When I started leg/knee hooping I had bruises all around my knees and legs. One time there were two teeny tiny bruises behind my knee. I completely ignored them, practiced some knee hooping, and eventually ended up with a burst blood vessel (very very small but still harm to my body). And after reading Caroleeena's in-depth gross post I will never hoop on bruises again.
3) General: Don't be afraid to try ridiculous sized hoops - whether they be gigantic or mini.
I started out with a giant 42" hoop - and I'm only 4'11"! It was almost too hard to me to hoop so I started experimenting with different sizes. Even if I couldn't get the hoop to stay on my waist/chest/legs, I still found a way to use the hoop - whether it's isolations, off-body play, arm hooping, etc. And trust me, your vortexes will look phenomenal after practicing with a 23" mini!!
4) General: Practice as much without the hoop as you do with it.
I completely agree with the CircularPhile. I always find myself dancing like I would with my hoop in random places. When I'm in my kitchen I like to have a hoop jam session without my hoop. I do choreography to whole songs as if I was hooping. I'll go way up in the air, to down on the floor and find ways my body can move while I'm still making that hoop movement. It's also tons of fun!