Ah, growing pains!
I've been hooping about 3 years and am a body-rocker at heart. That's not to say I don't rock the off-body moves too, but just dancing inside the circle is a core element of my flow.
Unfortunately I'm stuck in this weird place right now where I a smaller hoop opens up a lot of the rolls, off-body reversals, and tosses that I love....but really limits my core flow. Same thing goes with my polypros. I love the feather-light flow when I'm off-body, but it drives me crazy not being able to really "feel" the hoop when I bring it back down to my body.
The obvious answer is get/make another hoop sized between my current favorite hoop and my smaller, off-body hoop. Then practice, practice, practice until I get comfortable core hooping with a smaller hoop.
In the meantime I'm just writing to grumble about the discomfort of being stuck in the middle of hoop evolution. Your thoughts? Any other tips? I'm just curious if any other hoopers struggle to balance these aspects of their flow.
I knew there was a reason I kept so many hoops around. ;-)
But seriously, I think there's a real tendency to race toward a small hoop that really compromises a hooper's growth. That's not to say there's not hoopers who are at home in a smaller circle. They should totally embrace that. However, very early in my hooping journey I jammed with a tribe a hoopers where a small hoop was a kind of badge of skill. There was a real push to spin a smaller hoop because they were seen as being for 'advanced' hoopers. One gal gave another lady her first hoop with the advice, "Once you start to get good, get a smaller hoop." I thought it was kind of distorted, because once you start to get good at something, you shouldn't just go out and make it harder without a good reason. You should turn good into masterful by spending time developing your technique and style where you're comfortable.
But, with that said, I totally agree its fun to play with all different sizes and see where the different flows carry you.
I completely agree with all of this. Ha. I mainly use a 34" 5/8"OD polypro that is super light and sometimes difficult for core hooping. I'm a big off-body person though, so it suits. Personally, I went smaller because I wanted to go FAST. I started having issues with my 36" poly because I was going too fast for it, so the 34" was magical the first time I used it. BUT I still use my ginormous beginner hoop to learn tricks and to just slow it down. I also have a set of 35" twins I made with 1/2" PE tubing that I use for practice. I like the size, and the extra weight of tubing+tape makes them perfect for fine-tuning. I think I'll always keep a million sizes! In one sesh, I'll use five different hoops to see which fits my mood better. Size doesn't matter! It's how you express yourself! :]
Also, have you tried adding a little tape to your polypro? When I first got my 36"poly, I was almost completely unable to core hoop with it because it was so light and slippery. I put two strips of [yellow and pink] 1/2" gaffer in loose criss-cross around it, which gave it more grip and a little extra weight.
I found a compromise that has been working well for me: I switched to polypro to minimize bruising, but I kept the hoop diameters larger than typical for PPE. I have a 50" hoop that breaks down into 25" twins and two 40" hoops. There's a bit of wobbliness I'd love to iron out when it comes to certain on-body moves, and the hoops are a bit big for some of the off-body stuff I've seen other hoopers doing, but all in all I like where my flow has gone since I started using these hoops. I also have a 38" PPE I'm using a little bit, but I need to finish putting a clear vinyl layer over my metallic silver before I'll be totally comfortable using it.
Like K-Love, I taped my polypros. I know - tape on a polypro? I like taped hoops; they're not much heavier than bare polypro, and I can grip them better. Also, tape is easier on my hands than sanded tubing is.
I really move down to smaller hoops becuase it was hard working with the huge hoop after awhile, especially with leg and knee hooping.
I feel like I am really happy drifting between the lighter 100 PSI and the polypro. The polypro just feels so light and for some songs I pick it up and fly with it. Sometimes I want to just throw myelf around in a hoop and my 100 PSI is perfect. I just ordered another poly and a 100 PSI in 37'. I'll probably be in these sizes for a long while.
I'm also a fan of plain Jane hoops because of two reasons. 1) I can throw the polypro all over the place and not worry about messing up tape. 2) It fits any song. I was switching hoops a lot because I personally feel like it's an accesory to the dance I'm feeling and a sparkly purple hoop isn't going to cut it when I'm listening to something I feel is heavy.
I just feel like I'm going to have a lot of polypros and 100 PSI in different colors for a long time.
As for the push to go lighter, I definitely noticed that when I was a beginner. When I first moved to 100 PSI I couldn't do shoulder duck outs at all. I still can't, haha. Not consistently anyways. I didn't feel any significant change in my on the body moves though. The shoulder duck out is giving me trouble because the lighter hoop wants to slide right off. I have to focus a lot more on where my shoulder is than I did in the big hoop. This just makes me more aware of what I'm doing during tricks.
I think the point I am getting at is that this is a journey for each person. So I found happiness in my featherlight polys but also in the pretty 100 PSIs I play with sometimes. I also love my LED.
I've been saying this a lot lately but you have to love the process.
However I wouldn't compromise my growth as a hooper just to say 'I use a polypro'. If I am not comfortable with a move I practice with all the hoops until one feels right. Then I get comfortable with it.
I am not a body rocker. I envy body rockers. I think I skipped the step where people get really good hooping on their core.I'm a bigger, curvier girl and hooping around my waist, chest, and hips was hard so I didn't practice it as much as I should. I 'can' waist hoop and I do waist hoop, but it is always a transition point to another move. And I'm 3 years in and I still can't chest hoop. This is something that I am working to change. I'm spending the winter practicing the fundamentals. I wish I were stuck in the middle. Am I the only person that skipped these steps? Does core hooping come easy for most people?
i gotta note here that in my personal experience, being a bigger, curvier girl did not effect my ability to waist hoop-in fact that is solely how i hooped for the majority of my first year hooping. i was 196 lbs when i started hooping, and i started with a 40" hoop, 160 psi, and again my size and shape never seemed to slow me down. in fact, i core hooped SO much that I actually lost over 55 pounds in the first 4 months of learning to hoop--granted i was hooping for (literally) 4-5 hours out of the day, every day. i dont think anyone's size would effect their abilities with ANY hooping as long as they stay determined and practice.
I've got other friends who are big girls who didn't struggle like that either so you might be right. It may be that I am just not coordinated and skilled enough to do it. I wish I had 4-5 hours a day to give to hooping. Alas, I do not have that kind of time.
But I don't think you can fault my determination. I've been hooping for 3 years rather persistently. I have improved and can do lots of off body hooping and on body hooping. I just can't chest and shoulder hoop. The motion isn't there for me yet. (Though I can feel it coming.)