US National YoYo Contest Player Interview - Michael Ferdico

Michael Ferdico has had a breakthrough year. From placing 2nd at PNWR and BAC to making finals in Iceland and most recently winning NER, Michael dominates at any contest he attends. We were very happy that Michael was interested in answering a few questions regarding his prep for his next competition, US Nationals. Check it out!

Colin - "Hey Bird, thank you for taking the time for this interview! My first question is what is your goal for Nationals this year?"

Michael - "No problem! Every time I take the stage, my goal is to be the best that I’ve ever been. I don’t think of myself as a particularly competitive person and comparing myself too closely to others causes me a lot of stress, so that’s something I try not to focus on."

Colin - "Smart logic. I feel as though people get too distracted by focusing on who they're competing against to the point where it messes with their mental game. What yo-yo do you plan on using to compete?"

Michael - "I have a really good thing going with the CLYW Manatee and I don’t want to mess with that just yet."

Colin - "I can tell for sure. What round are you seeded to this year?"

Michael - "I’m seeded to semi-finals."

Colin - "Sweet, what is your opinion on the new round structure?"

Michael - "I think my opinion would probably be pretty different if I wasn’t seeded, hahaha. In the past, I’ve always felt like making it through to finals was unnecessarily difficult because of the number of seeds. For an event with as much talent as US Nationals, only taking ~5-7 people through from prelims just isn’t enough, so I think this is a nice compromise to try and fix that. The schedule of the contest might be packing too much into too short a time for competitors, though. I’m interested to see how it plays out and if there will be any changes for next year."

Colin - "I agree that the prior seeding rules made prelims seem a little too competitive. It's an interesting change and I'm looking forward to see how it pans out. What is your approach to this year’s competition? Does the slightly extra time between Worlds and Nationals compared to previous years mean that you will spend time creating a new freestyle, or refining your Worlds routine?"

Michael - "I actually used the extra time between contests to take a break and not really yoyo for a few weeks. 😅 I’ll be doing a version of my Worlds routine, but I’ve made plenty of changes to it."

Colin - "Breaks are always very beneficial, especially after practicing for months for the busy contest season in the summer. What inspired you for your freestyle? Any specific players or perhaps a different approach this time around?"

Michael - "I’ve talked publicly a bit about how my Worlds routine’s theme was “Final Boss.” I want to keep pushing myself further for Nationals, so I think the logical next step is “New Game Plus.” It’s the rematch against the big baddie, but now I have so much more knowledge, skill, and practice. And that got me really thinking — what if my performance at Worlds only represented 80% of what I’m capable of? 50%? I don’t know how far I can push, but this mindset has really helped me stay motivated. In terms of players, I almost exclusively watched Yusuke in preparation for Worlds, this time I can’t stop watching Hajime, but I honestly think I take more direct inspiration from pro Smash Bros. players. Shoutouts to PPMD, Plup, Axe, Hungrybox, N0ne, and CaptainZack."

Colin - "Wow. Wasn't expecting that thought out of an answer from anyone. Your attention to freestyle theming is truly admirable and it's a nice change compared to the mentality of others. Always pushing yourself to be capable of more is what makes people grow the most, imo. My last question for you is what freestyles are you looking forward to the most?"

Michael - "This is a bit of a copout answer, and I’m not 100% sure who’s going, so bear with me. A lot of people have predicted that this year’s Nationals will be a bit smaller in scale than usual since it doesn’t seed into Shanghai, so I’m expecting to see a bit of a different turnout, and probably some different finalists to go along with that. So what I’m personally really interested in watching are the routines by players that maybe people aren’t really expecting to get through to the final round, or maybe who haven’t had the chance to do a 3 minute routine before. I’d love to see some big breakout performances."

Colin - "I agree that it'll be awesome to see new faces. Thank you so much for answering these questions, Michael! Best of luck!"

Michael - "No problem, Colin! Thank you!"