More than once, I’ve heard people admiringly exclaim that a friend “never drops the hoop” or “can go forever,” as if this were the point of hooping. I’m here to tell you, it’s not.
It’s true that with practice, hooping around the waist (and elsewhere on the body) becomes easy and natural and the feeling of being able to spin that hoop “forever” is quite satisfying. For most of us hoopers, however, “never dropping the hoop” is not a goal. In fact, we recognize that clatter of a hoop crashing is actually a positive sign.
If you are losing your hoop, that means you are trying something challenging. If you never tried anything that makes you drop the hoop, how could you possibly get any better? Imagine a skier who “never falls” or a baby learning to walk who never lands on her behind–the skier will be stuck on the bunny slope forever and the baby will never get beyond crawling. Because that’s just not how we learn new skills or improve old ones. We must push ourselves beyond our current skill set–outside our comfort zone–and into the challenge zone.
At the beginning of my hoop classes I like to have everyone drop their hoops. It makes a tremendous noise and I like to say “that’s the sound of learning.” I mean that quite literally. When I practice at home, I drop (or fling) the hoop all the time. Some of my favorite hooping idols drop the hoop in the middle of a video–sometimes a performance–and pick it up and continue, unphased. A hooper I admire, in the midst of a beautiful, effortless hooping session video, sends the hoop zinging across her hooping space. She smiles at the camera and assures us, “Don’t worry, I drop my hoop all the time.”
I’ve seen new hoopers madly spin the hoop (shoving it hard and at a slant) and then crazily shake their hips around to try to make the hoop stay up. They wonder why the hoop makes wobbly circles before plummeting straight to earth. The reason is that adult sized hoops require neither a huge spin nor spastic body movements–they are trying too hard! A smooth spin (horizontal and beginning by tucking the hoop against your lower back) and smooth movements (forward and back or side to side) keep the hoop going.
So wherever you are on your hoop journey–just learning to spin at your waist or working on advanced moves–give yourself permission to drop the hoop. Sometimes the fear of dropping the hoop is exactly what is holding you back from being able to make the move.