Some people don't have the luxury of taking classes or private lessons because there simply aren't any nearby. I personally didn't have a choice but to learn from YouTube tutorials at the beginning because there weren't any classes within 45 minutes from me. I also didn't have local hoopers to learn from or practice with for a long time. If you have the opportunity, it is wise to participate in classes. The following list explains why classes are so effective.
1. Experienced and qualified instructors
Learning from a fellow hooper friend for free could work pretty well, but they might not be your best option. Dedicated and professional hooping instructors spend a lot of time and energy figuring out the best and most effective ways to teach students. This is especially true for those who have experience teaching left-handed/right-handed, ambidextrous individuals, groups at a time, all different ages, and more. Before I started teaching, I made sure to get my time and experience in to make sure I had what it takes. Being a teacher, you see hooping in an entirely new way and you are often able to explain it in words that students understand immediately. As I got more experienced, I noticed I can teach students tricks about three times as fast as I could when I first started teaching.
2. Seeing what you're doing wrong
If you are taking a lesson or class, your instructor can usually tell immediately what mistake you are making with trying a new trick. For example: when students are learning the escalator, I often let them know they aren't tucking the hoop tight enough against their legs/thighs before pushing it. If you post a video on YouTube to ask what you're doing wrong, some people might be able to see and tell you. However, it is much harder to see on screen vs. in person. Another disadvantage to YouTube tutorials is that many people have a limit on how much internet data they can use. Having to watch a video multiple times makes that internet data usage add up quickly.
3. Totally worth the price of admission
If you have a strong desire to learn quickly and accurately, it is wise to manage your money so that you can put the hooping classes in your budget. Many instructors are able to teach 2-5 tricks in one class. Most of them averaging between $5 and $10 per 1 hour class, you can get quite a few skills learned without breaking the bank. Also, many instructors offer a discount for students that purchase their classes all at once. I charge $6 per 2 hour class, but I offer a punch card that is 10 classes for $50, making them only $5 each!
4. Practice time (an added bonus)
Since you are already at the class location, many instructors (such as myself) will offer students a free 1 hour practice session after the class while they practice themselves. This is an opportunity for you to practice those moves while they are still fresh in your head. I often will help the students here and there for that additional hour to help them get the most out of their class with me. It is also a great opportunity to watch those experienced instructors do their thing (offering another learning bonus!). Think about it this way: there is not much to push you to practice if you are learning on your own. Coming to a hoop class once or twice per week means you will be hooping between 2-5 hours per week, every week (which is pretty great!).
5. Meet new hooping buddies!
If you have classes available to you, it is likely you will meet other hoopers that you can become friends with. Having others to practice with you and get feedback from is priceless in your hooping journey. If your area has classes, it is likely your area also has hoop jams! Those are a very fun way to meet other hoopers. Hoop jams (or practices) are very helpful to non-hoopers who would like to try it and see if they enjoy the activity. Another unexpected bonus is that during class and practice, you can learn multiple things just from being around other hooping students, watching them, and hearing how they explain things.
6. Exploring so many new hoops!
When you take a class, it is likely there will be all shapes, sizes, weights, and designs of hoops! Beginner hooping students will not likely own a big pile of hoops to experiment with. Instructors have been hooping for a while and will own many hoops. Some instructors make hoops for their classes specifically. I bring a big variety of hoops to my classes; they range from a collapsible, heavy 50 inch tandem hoop to a set of tiny 20 inch mini hoops. I have very heavy hoops and very light hoops. I want my students to see what hoops work for which moves/techniques. At the end of one of my class series, I had a celebration and allowed my two students to play with my LED hoops for hours!
7. Manual Adjustment of Body and Hoop
This is a photo of me teaching one of my students in class. I am manually adjusting my student's foot position to help her achieve foot hooping. After I adjusted her foot, I also adjusted the position of the hoop and helped her by starting the hoop for her. This helped her achieve foot hooping within just minutes. She has had it down ever since. You can't get this kind of assistance while learning on your own or from YouTube. Often, the instructor will have to know how to make it "click" for you.
In conclusion, save up some of your budget for hooping classes. The benefits will surprise you!