First Step Towards - Learning to juggle

 

 

 

 

 

 So you want to learn how to juggle, good for you it's not that hard to learn if you are willing to spend a couple of hours practising. The only thing you need are 3 balls that are reasonably heavy for their size. Something about the size and weight of a small apple is about right. You need theweight to properly feel them land in your hand. Tennis balls are too light; golf balls too small; softballs too big. The  soft juggling balls they sell are good and not expensive at all, and they don't roll away when you drop them. However if you are looking to impress something there are juggling balls that have built in LED-lights that glow in the dark and looks realy impressive if you are looking to put on a bit of a show.

Now is the time to have lots of patience. Though it appears easy, this is the toughest step and getting it right before you move ahead will make the whole thing a lot easier.

First imagine two spots, about a foot in front of your forehead, one to the right, one to the left, about 8 inches apart. These are your focus points.

Hold your arms at waist level with your hands naturally out in front of you. This is your rest position. Starting with a ball in your right hand and your left hand empty, toss the ball across to the left imaginary spot and catch it in your left hand. Now toss it back from your left hand across to the imaginary spot on the right and catch it in your right hand.

Sound easy so far? Well there are several things to watch. First, when you toss the ball, "pop" it from your palm. Don't let it roll off your fingertips. The ball is much more difficult to control if you let your fingers touch it. Don't jerk your hand as you pop the ball - try to keep it smooth. Watch the ball as it passes in front of your eyes. It should not be spinning. If it is, you probably let the ball roll off your fingers. Put some marks on the ball if it helps you check for spinning.

When you toss the ball, toss it from slighty inside of the natural resting position of your hands. And when you catch the ball, catch it slightly outside of resting position of your hands. Try to keep your hands around waist level. Don't let them drift up too far to catch or toss the ball.

Keep your focus on hitting the imaginary spots, and concentrate on not throwing too high or too low or too far out or too close to you. You'll be surprised that you don't have to watch the ball to catch it. If you throw it reasonably well your catching hand will know where the ball is without you looking and you will have no trouble catching it. Don't worry about catching, worry about tossing well.

Catch the ball in the palm of your hand. Don't reach up and grap it, let it fall into your hand. If the ball is heavy enough it will stay in your hand.(If the ball is too light, it will tend to bounce out of your hand). When you catch the ball, pause for a moment and hold your hand at the spot where you caught it. You should be catching the ball just a couple inches outside of the rest position for your hands. Note where you caught it and move your hand back to the rest position. Work to get it better on the next toss.

Tossing the ball correctly is everything. Be patient, practice, and don't proceed until you are catching the ball in the correct position consistently. (Try it with your eyes closed. Well, OK, then just try dimming the lights and squinting a little. I don't usually have that much patience myself, but it is good advice

You've been patient on learning to toss, so let's skip the 2 ball practice. You're here to juggle so let's get to it.

Hold two balls in your right hand, one towards the back of your palm, one at the base of your fingers. Hold the third ball in your left hand. (Vice versa is fine, but I'll describe it from this position).

Start with a 2 ball exchange shown in the image. Toss the first ball from the base of your fingers of your right hand. You can't really "pop" this initial toss from your palm very well, so now is the time to learn to get a good starting toss from the base of your fingers. Just avoid rolling it off your finger tips, and work to hit your imaginary spot without any spin.

When the ball just passes the spot and starts on its way down, pop the ball up from your left hand (from slightly inside your rest position) and catch the first ball as it comes down (your hand slightly outside its rest position). Catch the second ball in your right hand. Stop. That's it for now. Practice it until you can do it repeatedly. If you are tossing the balls well you'll get it pretty quickly. If you aren't tossing well and the balls are all over the place, admit it to yourself and practice step 2 some more. Keep your eyes focused on the imaginary spots

You're almost juggling. Now repeat the last lesson, only this time as the second ball passes its spot and is on the way down, toss the ball from your right hand and catch it in your left. Stop. Note where your hands are when they catch the balls, move back to the rest position and try again. Toss from the inside, catch on the outside. To help keep your timing consistent, you might say "left" and "right" as you throw from each hand. It really helps. Practice until you can consistently catch the balls.

 

Now repeat the above, adding one more toss each time you get comfortable with a set of exchanges. Keep reminding yourself of the basics from the earlier steps.

 

When you feel that you have gotten comfortable juggling with 3 balls and feel you want a bigger challange there  is a ton things you could do. We highly recommend that you take a look at the the Juggling Database or pick up one of the many great books on juggling for further inspiration and challanges

 

 

 

 

 

 

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