With Determination and the Right Tools, Anyone Can Learn to Juggle
The ancient art of juggling goes back thousands of years. It might look easy, but it takes practice and determination to get it right.
From 4,000 year-old hieroglyphics in Egyptian tombs to prime time TV on Britain’s Got Talent, juggling is one of those performance arts that has always raised a smile. Becoming an expert juggler is not easy – if it was, there would be no mystique. It is, however, something that anyone can learn to do with dedication, practice and by following some basic tips.
The following assumes you are right-handed. If you are left handed, just reverse the instructions.
Get the Balls
Before you can start juggling flaming torches, angry cats or jugs of water, you need to master the basics. To start with, some good quality juggling balls are a must.
These are designed to fit perfectly into the palm of your hand and will not bounce and roll away. Many amateur jugglers have given up at the first hurdle as they quickly tired of chasing down dropped tennis balls!
One is Fun
Mathematicians and jugglers both know that it is conventional to start at one. Get the feel of the juggling balls by throwing one from hand to hand. Throw the ball in a gentle arc, at around head height. A common mistake is to throw too high.
Once you have got into the rhythm, start moving your arms in a gentle, scooping motion towards your body. This will get you accustomed to the action you will eventually be using with three balls.
Can you do two?
Start with a ball in each hand. Throw the first ball from your right hand at head height, just like you were doing with the single ball. When the ball is at its maximum height, somewhere in front of your nose, release the second ball.
It is important to keep the palms of your hands open, ie do not close them over the ball after catching.
Now is the time for practice, practice, practice. When you are completely comfortable juggling two balls in this way, you are ready to move on to the next stage.
One, two, three, go!
To become a real juggler, you need to master three balls. Start with two in your right hand and one in your left.
Kick off in the same way as before. Throw one ball from right to left, and when it is at maximum height, throw the ball from left to right.
When the second ball is at maximum height, throw the third ball from right to left and catch both balls.
This act of catching and throwing is the aspect that people find difficult, so keep working on it and do not get disheartened. Also, do not worry if you find yourself walking forward as you begin to master it. This is normal, and with more practice, you will manage your three-ball juggling standing still.
Keep practising, and as you get better, increase the speed. This gives the impression that the balls are in continuous motion, and that is when the magic begins!
The master juggler
Once the three-ball juggle has been mastered, a variety of juggling tricks are open to you and you are ready to amaze your friends and continue a 4,000 year tradition!