How to Master Poi Snakes & Body Tracers

Poi Snakes and Body Tracers

Poi snakes are an impressive, intermediate-level poi spinning technique, which you can learn by reading this article. Of course, you’ll also need to practice with a pair of LED poi balls, but we’ll delve into that shortly. 

In this article, we teach you how to perform poi snakes by breaking down the technique into 4 achievable skills. But first, we recommend a versatile contact poi set that you can use to master those skills. Once you’ve finished reading, use this article for reference over the course of your training.

Let’s begin.

THE POI SET WE RECOMMEND FOR POI SNAKES

We recommend using Contact Poi to perform poi snakes. Why?

There are other high-quality LED poi sets that you can use to perform poi snakes, but Orb Poi are the best for beginners. Orb Poi are lightweight, durable, and affordable. Plus, they make excellent practice poi for intermediate and advanced spinners.

In the next section of the article, we assume you’re using Orb LED Contact Poi to practice poi snakes, but the same techniques apply to other poi sets. So don’t worry if your poi are different from what we’re using.

HOW TO PERFORM POI SNAKES

Poi snakes are elegant, but difficult to control. This is because they require a high degree of motor skills, muscle memory, and precision. For this reason, we believe you should practice poi snakes in 4 distinct parts.

The following tutorial is based on a variation of poi snakes, which requires you to control your poi in split-time while they’re spinning in the same direction. If you haven’t performed split-time, same direction moves before, we recommend practicing beginner poi spinning tricks first. Only once you’ve mastered the fundamentals of poi spinning, and you’re confident in your ability, should you attempt a more advanced technique like poi snakes.

As a visual guide to learning poi snakes, watch Drex Factor’s video tutorial. It really helps to see the technique being performed, rather than just read about it. After watching the video, you can use the below information for reference as you continue your training. 

4 SKILLS YOU NEED TO PERFORM POI SNAKES

Linear Isolations: This technique encompasses most of what goes into performing poi snakes, and can be thought of in 3 beats.

  • Begin by spinning one of your poi clockwise in your dominant hand, then move it across your chest to the opposite side of your body.
  • While spinning your poi clockwise, allow the poi to “drop” vertically from the top of your chest into a brief down-stall. Then, pull the poi upward into another clockwise spin, now on the opposite side of your body.     
  • To transition back to the other side of your body, “pop” the poi upward from the bottom of its rotation to the top of your chest, up-stall, and use the downward momentum of the poi to continue spinning it clockwise.
  • Next, switch to your non-dominant hand and practice the above moves until you feel comfortable performing linear isolations in both hands.

Body Tracers: As a continuation of linear isolations, body tracers involve the same clockwise spinning, but slightly alters the path of your poi as they drop or pop. 

  • Instead of merely dropping your poi down the center of your chest, you will drop it over your shoulder.
  • And instead of popping the poi up the center of your chest, you will pop it up from under your armpit.
  • Try to extend your poi as far from your body as you can as it swings to your sides. This will provide a little extra room for the poi to travel over or under your shoulder. 
  • Once again, practice this technique with both hands.

Split-Time Reels: For many, this will be the most difficult step in learning poi snakes. It requires you to use both poi (one in each hand) and spin them in the same direction, but at split time intervals. You must also alternate the poi from the front side of your body to the back. 

NOTE: Be aware of shoulder pain during split-time reels. A little discomfort is normal, due to the motion of your arms during this technique, but intense soreness is not. Take a break if the pain increases. 

  • First, get both of your poi spinning in the same direction (either clockwise or counterclockwise).  
  • Choose one of your poi and offset the timing of its spin so that it meets the other poi at the center of your body (without the poi touching). To avoid smacking the poi into each other, or tangling their tethers, allow one to cross in front of the other. The speed and direction of your poi should remain the same. 
  • Now, try swinging both of your poi over your forearms (mid-spin) to the back side of your body. This should happen simultaneously for both poi, meaning they should always be on the same plane, either in front of you or behind you. Also, remember that one poi should cross in front of the other at your center, in this case being the center of your back.

Closing the Gap: For this final step, you will learn how to bring your hands close together while you spin.

  • Start with you two poi spinning in front of your body, split-time, same direction.
  • Meanwhile, move your hands from the outsides of your body (most extended) to your centerline, touching your hand together. This will cause each of your poi to temporarily stall in opposite directions (one up, one down).  
  • Alternate between extending your arms and bringing them close together so that your hands touch.

Finally, the four skills you learned can be combined into poi snakes... 

As you close the gap between your hands, drop your poi over your shoulder, or pop it up from beneath your armpit (depending on if they’re stalling downward or upward) to perform body tracers. Turn those body tracers into split-time reels by alternating them between your front and back side, all while performing the 3-beat motion of linear isolations.

If you’d like to see what we’re describing, watch Drex Factor’s poi snakes tutorial video.  

SO NOW WHAT?

Now that you’ve learned how to perform poi snakes, you can begin practicing them. 

Grab your contact poi, find an open area, and get spinning. Poi snakes are difficult, and there’s no shortcut to learning them. As we covered in the tutorial, the technique is best learned in four parts: Linear isolations, body tracers, split-time reels, and closing the gap. Once you’ve learned these individual skills, you can piece them together into one cohesive technique: Poi snakes.

For more tutorials on how to use your LED poi balls, you’re already in the right place. Here at UltraPoi, we are dedicated to providing the best experience for spinners of all skill levels. 

We hope you found this article helpful.


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