5 Reasons Hooping could be a College Course

Repost from our previous blog site hooptricks.org - originally published on July 15, 2014 at 11:24am

This article will outline the potential academic aspects of hooping. It will remind us just how much studying we do in our hooping journeys. Hooping doesn't just teach us how to hula hoop. The lessons learned are very unexpected, important and deeper than most people realize. I personally found myself studying hooping constantly in the past 2 years and 4 months. Just in the math formulas and hoop measurements alone, hooping would make for a great college class! Here's more about it:

1. Memorizing Trick Names


Most people will begin with the names of tricks. For example: the vortex, the escalator, isolations, the weave. Learning these terms, memorizing them, and associating them directly with the move in your brain is where it begins. The best way for a hooping instructor to start with teaching their students is to give them terms and concrete things to memorize. The brain processes these things and holds them in memory quickly. This process is very similar to the syllabus you are given on the first day of a college class. I give students a list of tricks that they will be learning throughout that level of hoop class. At first, they have no idea what they mean. Once they start a class, they start to learn exactly what they mean. At the end of a level, students are able to execute all of the tricks by name immediately after they hear me call it out.

2. Other Terms and Definitions

Most hoopers will know what I mean by "horizontal plane" and "vertical plane". Their definition and meaning is very important to a beginner hooper, and also crucial to transitioning between moves. Horizontal plane moves go with other horizontal plane moves. (example: the vortex with a horizontal jump through). You usually don't see people putting vertical plane moves directly with horizontal plane moves (unless they use a specific plane-changing move or trick. Example: revolving door).


Some other terms that I didn't know the meaning of before hooping: LED, flow arts, tandem, light painting, white gas, polypropylene.

3. Multiple Classes in One

Many people start learning about things they never thought a hula hoop could lead to. Performers and hooping entrepreneurs who cannot afford to hire people to help them suddenly become familiar with many jobs. This includes: marketing, graphic design, enhanced social networking, being their own agent, costume design, entrepreneurship, and more. Computer skills begin to increase, people skills become more natural, marketing knowledge and tactics are learned, and artistic abilities come out. I made my own first hooping costume out of necessity for hooping performances. Hooping made me learn how to make clothing.

This is a photo of me performing wearing the costume I sewed for myself.
This is a photo of me performing wearing the costume I sewed for myself. I had no previous clothing making experience.

In addition to this, many people who get confident with their hooping and coordination suddenly become interested in doing a large amount of other physical activities. This could count for pretty much any physical education course. For example: interest in dancing, gymnastics and yoga dramatically increases for many hoopers. I personally found that I want to try everything that could possibly involve coordination. I never was interested in any types of activity or sports when I was younger because I didn't think I could do any of it very well. I now have a high confidence in my coordination and reflexes now that hooping has trained my brain. I gave up on learning how to juggle when I was younger (even though I had a very strong desire to learn). I picked it up after hooping and found the patience, coordination, and perseverance I needed to finally get it! In addition, I can use both sides of my brain having learned double hooping.

Juggling and hooping: Hooping greatly increased my coordination
Juggling and hooping: Hooping greatly increased my coordination

4. Making Hoops!

Let's think about all of the number crunching we do while we make hoops. We begin by finding out our budget, purchasing the supplies, and thinking about how far those supplies will go until we need to purchase new supplies. We take how much we charge per hoop and the price of all of the materials and calculate our potential profit. We take the special hoop maker's formula to find out how much tubing we need to cut to make a specific sized hoop. Using formulas and algebra to calculate hoop sizes is a college-type task. (see diagram below)

Formulas being used just like in college algebra
Formulas being used just like in college algebra

5. The Final: Achieving Flow

Flow is a Phsychological Idea. Between Arousal and Control. Between High Challenge and High Skill.
Flow is a Phsychological Idea. Between Arousal and Control. Between High Challenge and High Skill.

If I were to refer to any task or achievement for someone to "pass the final", I would say that achieving flow is where it's at. This is where all of your knowledge comes together into one task. You may learn about it in Psychology. It is a psychological term and a mental state. Your brain is responsible for processing and executing up to dozens of tricks/moves within just minutes. Your decision-making is lightning fast. You pull those terms out of your head within fractions of a second, execute them, and move onto the next, and the next. You don't stop to think "what am I going to do next?". You just know what to do next. The tricks and moves that took you days, weeks, months, or even years to learn are suddenly being done in seconds without even thinking about it. The things your brain and body is able to do during flow is quite outstanding. In addition to these tricks, your feet, body, and free hand are likely to be moving as well. This is quite the work load for that brain of yours. Part of passing the final is being able to let go of what you think you should be doing. Let it become your own experience and don't allow thoughts about other hoopers to interfere. You and your hoop are one being and dancing partners. Give yourself an A+! This flow is proof of how amazing your body and mind can be.

Other Lessons that Hooping Teaches Us (that aren't really found in college classes):

Positive body image, Self-Confidence, Patience, Perseverance, Not everything is what it seems, Being unique is celebrated!