Tips for Spinning a Pen

Spinning a pen is one matter, and Spinning a pen well is another matter. What makes a distinguishable Pen Spinner is the knowledge of the finer details. I have met a few respectable Pen Spinners who have been able to learn tricks very fast, yet still be able to perform the tricks under pressure. I think some of the characteristics and actions of these good Pen Spinners are the following:

Tip 1: Relax the hand - putting much tension to your hand will cause the pen motion to become jerky looking. The problem of too much tension is especially apparent in the FingerPass tricks. Normally one would not have to make his/her fingers really straight to perform any trick. Trying to straighten the fingers too much will only make the hand tire quickly.

Tip 2: Watch the pen throughout all times - Although it is said that mastery of the trick is reached when the trick can be performed without looking, when starting to learn a trick, it is essential to pay an eye to the hand and the pen. This is because by watching pen with concentration, one can be more ready to identify errors. So, trying to learn a new trick by repeatedly executing the trick many times while doing some other things, such as studying, or watching tv is not recommended.

Tip 3: Choose an appropriate pen - Some pens are typically better suited for some tricks. For example, when learning the FingerPass, a longer pen is better than a shorter pen. Realizing which pen is more advantageous to learning which trick will shorten learning time. If you are not too sure which pens to use, by all means ask any Pen Spinners, or browse the Pen section of this website.

Tip 4: Spin with a warm hand - A warmer hand allowed greater flexibility, which in turns translates to better pen movement in between the fingers. Relaxing the hand can allow more blood to flow into your hands' vessels, thereby warming the hand. If the hands stay cold for a long time, consider soaking them in hot water, or take a hot water bath to make them warm again.

Tip 5: Pay attention to the finer micro techniques, such as movement of the entire arm, or rolling the pen.

Tip 6: Put in a break in between practice - Long duration of Pen can be hazardous to the hand's health, not to mention that the hand would tire quickly. Of course, when the hand is tired, the tricks performed would not appear as well as the tricks performed with an energetic hand.


Tips for Choosing a Pen

A good tip for choosing a pen for Pen Spinning newcomers is to find something long, because longer pens tend to spin slower. The above is just a brief explanation on why longer pens move slower.

Consider the formula for "Moments of Inertia" (I = MR^2, in which the symbol I denotes Moments of Inertia, M denotes Mass, and R denotes Radius. Also, please consider the formula for Angular Momentum (Angular Momentum= Iw, where the symbol I denotes Moments of Inertia, and w denotes angular velocity).

A long pen spins slower due to the conservation of Angular momentum. First, let us see what Translation (a.k.a. Linear) Momentum is defined as:

p = Mv where p denotes Momentum, M the mass, and v the velocity.

An analogous equation for Angular Momentum is the following:

Angular Momentum = Iw where I is Moment of Inertia, and w (greek letter omega) is the angular velocity.

Having said that Angular Momentum is "Conserved," we could look at the variables that are involved. For a ring-shaped figure (When pen spins, we can consider that its motion is ring-shaped), the equation for AngularMomentum is:

Angular Momentum = Iw = (MR^2)w --> Angular Momentum = MwR^2

Substituting the letter I with the equation for Moments of Inertia reveals the direct relation between the angular momentum (the momentum of the pen in a circular motion) and the radius of the pen, R. Angular Momentum is proportional to twice the radius.

Holding Angular Momentum constant, an increase in R (longer pencils) will result in a decrease in w (its angular velocity). Note that this assumption holds if we hold the mass of the pen, M, constant.

The decrease in w, the angular velocity, is the reason why long pencils spin slower for pens of different lengths but similar mass.

As for the "force applied," the initial force can be considered as irrelevant. This is because angular velocity will become constant when the pen reaches its terminal velocity. (Otherwise, you would expect pens to accelerate throughout the course of, say a ThumbAround, something which is not true.)

Anyway, since longer pens spin slower, the movement of the pen is much more manageable with longer pens. Thus, using long pens can avoid allow a beginner to avoid the typical problem of pen constantly flying away from the hand.

Tips for Choosing a Trick to Start With

Choosing which trick to try out first, or choosing which trick to try next after your have learned a trick is never easy. Although I would prefer that there be a definite answer to questions such as "which trick would be easiest to learn", such questions are, nonetheless, still very difficult to answer. This is because different spinners have their own pace of learning, not to mention that some spinners would learn a particular trick faster than the others.

Because of the difficulty in choosing a particular trick to start, the Pen Spinning community has developed a short list of tricks and other techniques for beginners.

Beginners are recommended to try the following set of tricks, called the "Fundamental Tricks". The Fundamental Tricks group contains 4 unique tricks, namely the ThumbAround, Sonic, Charge, and FingerPass. These tricks are named as such because it is believed that in the process of learning these tricks, a Pen Spinner could learn and practice the most important techniques in Pen Spinning. It is also believed that full understanding of the Fundamental Tricks will benefit a Pen Spinner's Learning of the more advanced tricks in Pen Spinning.

In a recent poll held at the Universal Pen Spinning Board which asks for members' opinions about the hardest trick of the Fundamental Tricks, the charge came out on top. The results are as shown (as of time of the writing)

Fingerpass Normal/Reverse
22% [ 49 ]
Sonic Normal
24% [ 54 ]
ThumbAround Normal
12% [ 27 ]
Charge Normal
41% [ 92 ]

Total Votes: 222

This result is somewhat surprising, because on the surface, the Charge looks easier to perform than a Sonic (since the pen doesn't move from fingers to fingers in a Charge), yet, the this trick is considered the hardest by far. Several years ago, many considered the ThumbAround Normal to be the toughest of the tricks; however, with the emergence of detailed internet tutorials/sites on tricks such as ThumbAround, and Sonic, what used to take several weeks to learn could now, in some cases, be learned in a matter of days.

In the past, I would have suggested others to learn the ThumbAround last, since I had regarded this trick to be the most difficult to perform properly. However, now, I would probably suggest that one should try in the following sequence:

ThumbAround --> (Sonic or Charge) --> FingerPass.

Assuming that the new Pen Spinner have access to ThumbAround tutorials, this trick should take the least amount of time to learn. As for Sonics and Charges, I personally believe that learning whichever first would not affect the learning of the other, since the underlying techniques are similar. For the Fingerpass, although I think the techniques in the FingerPass is more visible than any other three Fundamentals, this trick is harder to create smoothness, and could become a source of frustration of new Pen Spinners.

All in all, the learning sequence as stated above should allow one to learn Pen Spinning in a quick, and enjoyable way, with less chance of getting stuck learning a new trick.

Tips for Becoming a Pen Spinning Promoter(ethical issues)

Since the purpose of this site is to introduce everyone about this artistic sport of Pen Spinning, I hope those who have decided to take up this sport can further introduce it to others who might not be aware of it yet. One way of obtaining the interests of others is to become a wiser Pen Spinning promoter that can probably be described by the following qualities:

Being able to abstain from practicing new trick in public setting - During the course of practicing a new trick, the pen may fall onto the floor or table many times. When practicing in a public setting, the noise from falling of the pen may be very irritating to the surrounding people. Unfortunately it seems like that the very few people who make lots of noises (from the drop of pen) are giving Pen Spinner a bad image to the non-Pen Spinning public.
Be able to abstain from spinning when the motion of pen might distract others - This is exceptionally important to keep in mind during exam times.

Being able to abstain from spinning when others request to stop - Being able to do this would get yourself out of many potential conflicts. Sometimes, inability to do this may lead to the banning of Pen Spinning in classrooms, or schools.

Being able to abstain from boasting about "How good I am etc." but instead introducing the artistic values of Pen Spinning - The people who boast about their self-acclaimed Pen Spinning skills are not really Pen Spinners. Rather, these people are probably just another example of minds conquered by self-arrogance. In my opinion, true Pen Spinners are those who perform Pen Spinning with the primary purpose of conveying it as an artistic sport.

Being able to realize when is the time to spin and when is the time not to spin

Being able to recognize who will not become an ethical spinner - This is perhaps the most important, yet hardest quality to possess. It is not very advisable to introduce Pen Spinning to those who would spin without considerating others beside them. Some of these people might choose to spin at will, and force annoying noises upon others. I suspect that these people would only be detrimental to the growth of Pen Spinning as a whole, and subsequently give Pen Spinning a bad reputation.