10 Ways Double Hoops will Improve your Single Hooping

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Amy Greenley2                            
Amy Greenley and Sara Bohnert hooping together with doubles

1. Learning the Opposite Hand

If you have started to master some things with the opposite hand, you may have noticed how many doors have opened for you. If you end up with the hoop in the other hand (or perhaps on the other elbow), you will want it to look like it is meant to be there and incorporate it into your flow. For example: in order to learn the behind back elbow pass and the bunny ear pass, you need to be comfortable hooping on both elbows, and spinning the hoop in both directions. Messing around with one hoop on each arm and each elbow will help build your skills. When you work with double hoops, you begin to learn so many things with that non-dominant hand. It will come in handy, even when you least expect it.

2. Trains Your Brain

When you are working with double hoops, you may notice it is harder. It not only takes more coordination, but it also takes up a lot more brain power to comprehend. This is especially true when learning the 3 beat weave. If you get used to doubles and the process of using both sides of your brain at once, you are going to improve. Your mind will begin working on a new level. You will create new pathways in your brain that will come into play from that point forward. Not only does it improve your single hoop flow, but it will improve your every day life. It will help you toss and catch things with your opposite hand as well. This is because you are getting used to using both sides of your brain equally. Using both sides of your brain is an excellent thing!

3. Cleaner planes

Making sure my horizontal planes are clean during this doubles moveMaking sure my horizontal planes are clean during this doubles move

When you learn doubles, you are pretty much required to control your planes with both hoops at once. If you are trying to do a chase (or 2 beat weave), you will need very clean vertical planes with both your left and your right hand. Then, you will need to keep those planes clean as you weave both of them. If you are doing a double reverse weave, it forces you to be able to do a reverse weave, with both hoops, with clean vertical planes. These are just a couple of examples.

SEE ALSO: Video: Transitioning Between Horizontal and Vertical Planes

4. Greater Versatility

Your hooping will become more versatile and interesting after learning doubles. You will no longer be hesitant to put that hoop into your opposite hand and try combining moves. You will know that your other hand is capable of holding its own, and you will not be as restricted. If part of your goals is to find your flow while hooping in the opposite current or with your opposite hand, this is an excellent way to practice.

5. Prevents Over-Thinking

My favorite example of this is the double hoop chest roll. I overcame my fear of opposite direction opposite hand chest rolls. What helped me was taking both hoops in my hands and sending them both across my arms and chest. It helped me because I was not focusing too hard on either hand. I was just focusing on keeping them straight before I launched them towards each other. Another thing that helped was having one hoop on my knees and doing chest rolls both ways with the second hoop. I was so busy focusing on keeping the hoop on my knees that I wasn't as stressed out about doing the chest roll with the other hand.

6. Balanced Muscles

Now that you are doing so much with both of your arms, your muscles will begin to balance out. Your muscle memory and function will also improve. I have been doing doubles since about 11 months into my journey. I am right handed and always struggled to use my left hand for anything. At this point, I can do many things just as well with my left hand as I can do with my right hand. My arm muscles are not only more balanced, but much more pronounced and toned than they were before I worked with doubles. I even started giving my other arm a break while drying my hair with the blow dryer. Just because my coordination and muscles are better with the hair dryer after learning doubles!

7. Better Turns

When working with doubles, you must start paying more attention to your turns and which ways you are facing during your practice. If you do not turn far enough or you turn too far, your doubles may just flop or come tumbling down. Some of the double hoop moves require you to make a near perfect 180 degree turn. Some can include doing a full 360 turn. You will begin to pay attention to your "degree turns", surroundings and/or walls in your practice area. You will start to use them as a reference point. This helps tremendously with single hoop flow, having cleaner transitions, and hooping for a crowd or on camera. It is a great way to make sure your moves are being seen at the best possible angle.

SEE ALSO: Hooping Improvement Tip: Taking Notes

8. Better Knee Hooping

Me hooping with doubles. Photo credit: Kait O'brien
      Me hooping with doubles. Photo credit: Kait O'brien

Once you have learned how to knee hoop, you should try adding a second hoop. One of my favorite ways to play with doubles is with one on my knees and one free to do anything. I like to experiment with which moves I can do while knee hooping. I have tried the behind the back elbow pass with a hoop on my knees before but it hasn't worked out just yet. Sometimes, having an additional hoop makes your knee hooping better because you aren't thinking so hard about it. We all know that sometimes, not thinking so much can actually improve a trick. So have fun experimenting with one on your knees and one doing things like the helicopter, the vortex, or chest rolls for example.

9. More Accurate Tosses

When you are tossing a hoop with another hoop in your hand, you need to be sure the toss is accurate and won't require you to chase it. I love to toss one hoop under the other hoop after a chase or 3 beat weave. When I toss it, it has to be accurate and precise in order to keep the other hoop spinning and be able to catch it nicely. I like to practice these methods with mini 20" hoops as well as double hoops. It helps your mind wrap around the technique.

10. One Hoop? No Problem!

After you have been practicing with two hoops at once, you will find one hoop much easier! You will get a new found appreciation for the freedom and release you get from single hoop flow. You will be more likely to take advantage of your free hand and maybe even dance with it, because now you are used to actually using that free hand for something. I like to compare this to swimming in drag. When swimmers wear heavy clothing in the pool to train for their meets, they really go fast when they finally take off the extra drag and compete!

I bet you will be excited to feel the results of including a second hoop in your journey!

What things do you think make double hooping a great way to improve your flow? Comment on social media or this website and join the discussion!