When you’re a hooper, everyone has advice to give and pointers to help you out. You try and take the advice from everyone and do the best you can. However, not all advice gets internalized and some of it is just forgotten. Some of the things no one actually tells you, but you end up learning them on your own. In addition, some advice is just plain wrong or doesn’t fit you. I have compiled a list of some things I wish I had known and realized sooner throughout my journey.
1. Hoop in both directions
I was told this from the beginning. However, I didn’t think it was THAT important. I told myself “I really should just learn it one way for now and worry about the other way later”. Oh boy was I wrong! As I started to learn more intermediate and advanced moves, I realized just how important it was to know things the other direction. Not only just hooping on your body the other direction, but learning tricks in the opposite way. My first “ohh that’s why” moment was when I realized that I learned the behind the back elbow pass in the wrong direction for learning the over the back pass (or bunny ear pass). I had to re-learn the entire thing the other way before I could do that move. If I had learned it both ways to begin with, I would have saved myself some hassle. My second realization moment was when I tried to learn doubles. Learning things with your other hand and both ways becomes crucial with doubles or twins. Also, muscle definition plays an important role. If you hoop on your waist in only one direction, your stomach muscles can get unevenly toned.
2. Not all hoopers are friendly
I know this one may be hard to believe. Hoopers are so awesome and helpful! However, hoopers are also HUMANS and not all of them will be the right fit. This advice is 100% intended to help everyone. I am not dwelling on my past or trying to keep negativity alive. This is strictly something I wish I knew sooner. I learned the hard way that you should be careful about choosing hoop friends. If you choose a hooping friend and it feels right, don’t let it get you down if they disappoint you. Just as everything else in life, humans are prone to making errors. Some of those errors really hurt other humans. It can be difficult to have no other hoopers around or to have very few around to hoop with and get feedback. Appreciate the ones that are there for you. Most hoopers are awesome and fun to be around! Those mean, discouraging hoopers aren’t defining anything about you, they are just defining themselves.
3. Appreciate the entire process
When I first started hula hooping (as shown in the photo above), I was just having fun! I actually had not seen a hooping video at that point. I was simply just playing around! After I started watching videos, I endured my first 8 months of hooping. I was resenting all of the time I had to spend learning tricks. I wanted to be just as good as the others as soon as possible. Looking back at it now, I missed out on so much fun! I wish I could just go back and tell myself to enjoy every moment! After some years, you start to miss the frequent feelings of “YAY I did it!”. In my first year, I learned more tricks than I can count. I really miss that part of my journey and wish I could do it again. I often wish I could re-live that excitement and feeling of something so brand new. I was so busy comparing myself to others that I often missed out on the full experience. That brings me to my next one.
4. Do not compare yourself to others
I am sure you have heard this before, but have you REALLY internalized it? It can be a difficult thing to overcome. Humans are somewhat wired to compare themselves to other humans. The jealousy, envy, and competitive feelings are there within everyone. It is your responsibility as a hooper to love what you are doing and love it for what it is. Don’t love it for the attention of being the only one around your area that does it. Don’t love it only when you can do those fancy moves. Love it for the time spent smiling. Make hooping fun and magical! The saying goes “Don’t compare yourself to other hoopers. Compare yourself to the hooper you were yesterday”. It is okay to be competitive with yourself, as long as it is fun!
5. It is okay to take a break
Someone once told me that if you take a break for too long, you will lose all of your skills. She said that is what happened to her. I was terrified by this and forced myself to hoop all the time, no matter what. I got anxious and nervous whenever I would go a week without hooping. I forced my practice even when I didn’t want to practice. I worried I would lose all that I worked on. It took me a long time to realize that advice isn’t true. After 1 year and 10 months into it, I was forced to take a break for about a month and a half. I hadn’t put in a good 2-3 hour practice for at least 2 months. I was afraid that I got super rusty. When I got back to it, I was really surprised. Not only did I pick up where I left off, but my flow was actually better and more relaxed. I missed hooping so much that it actually improved! I am not saying to take 3 or more months off, especially if you just started. I am just saying that taking a break can be a good thing.
6. Find Balance
Not everyone will need this advice, but some of you will. One of the hardest things I struggle with (even to this day) is finding balance. If you can start earlier on, you can learn to balance better. Hooping is so fantastic, healthy, and rewarding. To some people, it can be very addictive and begin to control your life. Make sure to acknowledge and participate in other activities and things in your life that you enjoy. Pay close attention to things you might be neglecting or forgetting about because hooping is always on your mind. If you get into the habit of only thinking about hooping, it can be very difficult to break that habit. Enjoy and appreciate all of the things that life has to offer.
My overall advice is, make hooping your own experience. This advice can be very helpful, but I understand if you need to learn the lessons on your own. I have a tendency to learn things the hard way. Not everything that others tell you will fit YOUR journey. Most importantly, keep having fun! Fun is the main reason we do this!