How to Juggle

by Mark Nizer



[ Benefits ] [ Getting Started ] [ 1 Ball ] [ 2 Ball ] [ 3 Ball ] [ Prolog ]

Benefits of juggling
Juggling is a great aerobic exercise. Juggling can be a great form of exercise and endurance. The low impact and fluid motion of juggling makes it an ideal form of exercise for all ages. It's non competitive, can be done with almost anything and can be done anywhere at any time.

Juggling is good for your brain. An active mind is also a important part of exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Studies have shown that people who challenge their brains and use them for complex tasks throughout life have a reduced incidence of alzheimers.

Juggling develops hand eye coordination. Its the perfect activity to help you coordinate movement and develop outstanding coordination. All the skills you learn from juggling are useful in any other physical activity.

Juggling is great confidence builder. It can be learned quickly and is very rewarding activity that will stay with you your entire life.

Juggling builds muscle. Although juggling is done with light weight balls; the repetitive motion builds muscle and tones existing ones.


Getting started

Who can juggle:
I have taught people as old as 80 to juggle and kids as young as 4 can juggle the basic three ball pattern.

What you need:
Three balls of equal weight and size that will fit in your hand comfortably and are not too light or heavy.

I find that for adults; a tennis ball that has a 1/2" slit cut on one side with a utility knife, and 10-17 pennies inserted in, works great. They weigh enough that they will not bounce out of your hand and the extra weight also illuminates the ball from bouncing away.

I also like street hockey balls. Take a standard street hockey ball; have an adult, cut a very small 'x' in it with a utility knife. Using a tiny funnel and fill the ball with rice. Pull out the funnel and seal the 'x' with a drop of super glue. There is also a great ball for sale on our web site at http://nizer.com; click on the "store" link. For small children racket balls filled with rice work well.

TIP: After you have your ball of choice, cover them with two balloons to give them an excellent grip, color and a finished look.

Where to Juggle:
Find a nice open space. Away from breakable items, such as glass, china and your kid sisters face. If you are outside, make sure the sun is above or behind you so you can easily see the balls.


Basic three ball juggling:

Body Position:

Stand in a relaxed position. Feet parallel about a foot apart. Your hands should be palms up, out in front of you with your elbows bent 90 degrees. RELAX!!!

One ball:

Take a single ball and toss it in an arch between your hands. The path the ball travels should be from your hand, past an invisible point 6 " out from the tip of your nose and back to the opposite hand. This the only throw you need to do to juggle three balls. Because of this, you should practice this alot. Make sure the ball travels the same path each throw. First starting from one hand then the other. Always passing by the same point in front of your nose. Practice this until it feels natural and is consistent. We will now move on to two balls.

TIP: Keep in mind that as we progress it is very useful to go back one or even two lessons to repeat the steps learned earlier. Each lessons teaches a small part of what the completed pattern will be. Going back helps reinforce those skills and will make progress in the next lesson easier. "It's not practice makes perfect...it's perfect practice". I do this when I am learning any new trick. I break it down into small pieces, learn each piece; then combine them and "Viola"... you'll be able to speak french exclamations.

Two balls:

Take two balls. Place one in each hand. Begin as you did with one ball, throwing it from one hand past the point in front of your nose. When it is half way down from it's decent throw the second ball under it and up to the same point in front of your nose. Pause; then repeat this but this time starting with the opposite hand. I find that many people are better at starting with one side or the other. It is important that you practice both left and right hand starts. Make sure all the throws are the same height and pass the under the incoming ball. Repeat this until it feels natural and is consistent.

TIP: Some people have a tendency to try and throw the second ball across to the hand that begun the pattern. This is usually the weaker hand passing over to the dominate hand. Force yourself to start the two ball lesson with your weak hand. You need to teach it how to throw. Give your weak hand a hug.

Three Balls:

Before we begin three balls remember the most important thing in juggling; you already know, the one ball throw learned in the first lesson. This is the only throw you will make when juggling three. When you run into a rut go back and practice the one ball and two ball lessons.

Take three balls. Place two in one hand and one in the other. It doesn't matter which hand has two in it. Which ever feels more comfortable.

TIP: Try switching which hand you start with each time. This way both hands learn equally. Practice these and other exercises equally with the left and right hands.

Always start with the hand that has two balls on it. Begin as you did with one ball, throwing the first ball from the hand that has two balls in. Throw it in the same arch you have practiced. As it desends half way down from it's peak throw the single ball in the other hand under it and to the same point in front of your nose. As this ball desends half way down from it's peak throw the third ball from the start hand, under it and to the same point in front of your nose. Thats all there is to it. This is the basic pattern.

To continue; as the third ball descends half way down from it's peak throw the ball from the opposite hand, under it and to the same point in front of your nose. As tat ball descends half way down from it's peak throw the ball from the opposite hand, under it and to the same point in front of your nose. Repeat.

TIP: Many students have a tendency to throw balls out in front of them, causeing them move forward. To correct this, throw the balls straight and stand in front of a wall to keep from moving forward. Pick a wall that is not made of coarse stucco, electrified or glass.

Learn more about juggling at http://juggling.org.

Prolog:
One of the most important rules to remember in juggling is that there are no rules. Anything you think of can be done. Keep and open mind. Dare to try things that you have never seen. With practice and determination it can be done. There are several tricks that I thought were either impossible or would take a life time to learn. After breaking them down and putting in a lot of practice, I learned them. Here's a trick that took 4 years.


Do you think juggling's a mere trick!" the little man asked, sounding wounded. "An amusement for the gapers! A means ot picking up a crown or two at a provinciaI carnivaI! It is aII those things, yes, but first it is a way of life, a friend, a creed, a species of worship.

"And a kind of poet" said Carabella

Sleet nodded. "Ye that too. And a mathematics.
It teaches calmness, control, balance, a sense of the
placement of things and the underIying structure of
motion. There is silent music to it. Above aII there is
discipline.

-Lord Valentine's Castle, Robert Silverberg
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