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How to Wind Up a Yo-Yo

Today we will be showing you a few different methods to winding up a yo-yo. To some of you this may seem like a strange topic to talk about, some of you will be thinking, “What do you mean how to wind up a yo-yo? Don’t you just wrap the strings around the axle?” On basic fixed axle yo-yo’s this is the case. But on the yo-yo’s of today with transaxles (or ball-bearing axles) it’s not so simple. The first method we will talk about is the traditional method but with one extra step.


Say you are holding the yo-yo in your hand, the string is hanging down from it, uncoiled and you can’t get the string to wind back up, no matter how many times you wrap it around the axle it simply won’t catch and wind so you can throw it again. This is frustrating to many (and when you get better at yo-yoing you can use it as a prank on non yo-yoers) but there is a simple fix.

  1. Hold the yo-yo in your freehand (the hand the string isn’t tied to).
  2. Loosely hold the string you wish to wrap around the axle next to the hub of the yo-yo.
  3. Pinch a small loop of the string between your index finger and the hub of the yo-yo on the freehand side of the yo-yo.
  4. While pinching this loop between the hub of the yo-yo and your freehand, wrap the string around the axle of the yo-yo three to five times.
  5. Once these initial wraps have been completed, unpinch the loop you were holding and continue wrapping the string until it has be wrapped all the way to the end.

Don’t worry about the little loop in the middle, it will pop out the next time you throw and catch the yo-yo.

The Force Start

The next method I want to talk about I refer to as the force start. Others may have different names for it but for the sake of this crash course we will be calling in the force start.

  1. Let the yo-yo hang, unwound, at the end of the string.
  2. Lift your throwhand up, bringing the yo-yo a few feet above the ground.
  3. Bring your freehand down and cup it over the top of the yo-yo, your ring finger would rest on one hub of the yo-yo and your index finger would rest on the opposite hub of the yo-yo.
  4. Pull up with your throwhand and press down with your freehand.
  5. This action will cause the yo-yo to start spinning, the harder you pull up with your throwhand and the harder you push down with your freehand will determine how fast the yo-yo will be spinning.
  6. If you perform this action with enough force the yo-yo will wind up right to your hand (assuming it is a responsive yo-yo).
  7. If the yo-yo doesn’t wind up to your hand give it a tug to get it to come back.

The Snap Start

The snap start is the final wind up method I will be discussing with you today, it is the hardest method but it will drastically speed up the time it takes you to get your yo-yo wound up so that you can continue performing tricks with it.

  1. With the yo-yo unwound at the end of the string, grab it with your freehand.
  2. Place your middle finger on top of the yo-yo and your thumb on the bottom of the yo-yo.
  3. Snap your fingers.

Though this method is the simplest in theory, it is the hardest to learn. It takes practice and time to strengthen your fingers to the point where you can get the yo-yo spinning quickly enough that it will wind up to your hand. It took me a few months to get this method down. To build up strength in your finger try holding a coin between your middle finger and your thumb and snapping it so that it spins like a top.

Best of luck winding up your yo-yo! Keep on practicing and we’ll see you in the next part!

Mike Montgomery

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