US National YoYo Contest Player Interview - Keiran Cooper

The next and last interview for this year's US Nationals features Scales' sole representative for the contest, Keiran Cooper. Keiran's no stranger to the competitive circuit as he's ranked 2nd in California and also has been on the Worlds finals stage twice. I personally am really looking forward to what Keiran has in store for this weekend!

Colin - "Hey Keiran!! Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions regarding your prep for nats. What is your goal for the contest?"

Keiran - "I try to refrain from thinking about placement as it further distracts me from the quality of my tricks and performance. If i were to set a goal for myself, I’d like to make finals, and present a clean freestyle in finals. For as long as I can remember, I’ve never been able to perform to the best of my ability, and as a byproduct, I’m always striving to go cleaner."

Colin - "That's deep. I see what you mean regarding going cleaner, though, and that's a goal that many have. Hopefully you'll be able to hit a satisfying routine on Saturday! What yo-yo do you plan on using?"

Keiran - "I'll be using my signature yo-yo, the Charm by Recess."

Colin - "Sounds good. What round are you seeded to this year?"

Keiran - "I'm seeded to the preliminary round."

Colin - "What's your opinion on the 4-round structure in place for Nationals this year?"

Keiran - "Me being in prelims sets me up for three rounds in one day (provided I make it through prelims and semi-finals). I appreciate the 4-round structure, but I disagree with the implementation starting this year. With a smaller competitor pool, I would argue it’s more feasible to implement this new structure next year, when incentives are higher and attendance will be greater. I’m primarily worried about fatigue this year; I fell asleep in the bleachers at this year’s World competition after doing two rounds in one day."

Colin - "Yikes, 3 rounds in one day does sound rough. Hope that you'll be able to make it through while staying conscious ;) 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?"

Keiran - "Knowing I had ample time to prepare, I considered making a new freestyle, but couldn’t create a product to my satisfaction. Instead, I compromised and decided to refine my freestyle from Worlds. Although this freestyle’s structure renders it extremely difficult, I’ve never felt more confident about my ability to hit it."

Colin - "It's seemed like most of the people I've asked this question to have stated that they've chosen to refine their Worlds freestyle. To everyone reading, this is a strategy that I will always recommend - do something that you're comfortable with. Next question is what inspired your routine?"

Keiran - "For my routine, I’ll be using music inspired by you (Colin) and Ethan Cheung. Both of these players consistently motivate me to perform at my best. 

With respect to my World’s routine, I spent a lot of time watching dance routines. My goal was to present a freestyle congruent to the crisp choreography displayed by teams like Ganmi, Just Jerk, and Ian Eastwood. Learning how to present my Yo-Yoing in such a refined manner is a difficult task, and is something I plan on incorporating into all of my routines going forward."

Colin - ":) It seems like dancing is the new big thing in yo-yoing! Looking forward to see how you plan to implement it into your freestyles. I should really take some dance lessons... anyways, last question - who are you most excited to watch this year?"

Keiran - "I’d be lying if I said I attend Yo-Yo competitions with the sole intent of competing. Arguably one of the most rewarding aspects of Yo-Yo is cheering on your friends as they hit the trick they’ve been chasing for months on stage. I can’t think of any other aspect of my life that revolves around so much genuine support. Conceptually, presenting something in front of an audience has always been an act of vulnerability. That being said, I’m looking forward to every single freestyle that I’m able to watch. With this year’s smaller competitor pool, I hope more underdogs are able to qualify through to finals for their first time. I’ll be there to cheer them on, as my friends did for me in 2015."

Colin - "It's always a good feeling to see people in similar stages to where you've been. I also find supporting those freestyles very necessary, as any cheering, screaming (in most cases), etc. will make you feel more confident on stage and going forward. Thanks for answering these questions, K-Dallaz! Best of luck!"

Keiran - "Thank you, Becko!!"