Professional Clown Guide to Juggling

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Many people think they just can’t juggle. To that we respond: In the book of life and juggling, the phrase "I can't" does not exist. So throw it out and instead say, I just - do it.

Juggling is as simple as "ABC" and "123":

A - Attitude
B - Believe
C - Concentrate
Now that you have a positive attitude, and believe in yourself, let's concentrate on the 1-2-3's of juggling.
One Ball
  • Stand tall, feet apart (about shoulder width), your elbows close to your sides and your hands at about waist height. Take a deep breath and relax before you start.
  • Place ball in the center of your hand, not in your palm and not on your fingers. Fingers should be slightly open creating a cradle to help the ball settle in your hand when you are catching it.
  • Now toss the ball from one hand to the other in a nice high arc but not higher than your head. The important thing is to concentrate so the toss from one hand to the other is consistent in height and width. Remember, not higher than your head and not wider than your body.
  • After a very short time, you will notice that you are no longer diving for balls but feel confident, relaxed and have developed a consistent outside to inside scooping motion.
Second Ball

Tah dah! It's time to advance to the second ball. Remember, stand tall and confident, and smile.
  • You should start your first toss with your dominant hand. As ball #1 is falling from its highest point (a), toss ball #2 up to your already practiced arc (b), and now, with the empty hand, catch ball #1. Meanwhile, ball #2 will be on its way down and caught with your dominant hand (c).

    Juggling

    Now you are proudly standing tall with a broad smile on your face because you have a different ball in each hand. Congratulations! You have completed your first exchange.

    A helpful hint to get your timing perfected for the two-ball exchange is to say the following phrase while you toss and catch: "throw - throw - catch - catch".

    Remember, do not throw the second ball until the first one is on its downward course to your hand. Practice a few more single exchanges so that both balls are thrown consistently with either hand.

    Before going onto the third ball, there is an exercise using just one hand you may want to practice to help sharpen your hand-eye coordination. Put two balls in your dominant hand (d), throw ball #1 in the air about head high (e). When ball #1 begins to descend, throw ball #2 up parallel to ball #1 (f), then catch ball #1. In turn, throw ball #2 up when ball #1 begins to descend.

    Juggling

    Continue this exercise until you can continuously rotate the balls five to ten times without stopping or dropping. For more of a challenge, try this exercise with your non-dominant hand. When this exercise becomes easy, then adding the third ball will be as simple as 1-2-3.
Third Ball

If you feel confident now - great! Soon you will be juggling.
  • Place two balls in your dominant hand and the third ball in your other hand (g). Remember, stand tall, be confident and smile. Ready - set - go!
  • From your dominant hand toss ball #1 in your perfected arc (h), and as ball #1 starts down, toss ball #2 from your non-dominant hand (i). Catch ball #1 as ball #2 starts down, then toss ball #3 up into your perfected arc (j) and catch ball #2. Bravo! You have just juggled.

    Juggling

    Continue repeating this pattern non-stop and you will be juggling. Easy - right! Okay, maybe a little bit more practice will help. Now that you have completed the steps of juggling, it is easy to see that in reality, one ball is always in the air while each hand has a ball in it waiting to be exchanged with the next falling ball.
Other tips and juggling jokes

  • Try juggling with beanbags - they don’t roll when they land. Practice over a bed or sofa/couch. This preserves your back when picking up the missed beanbags. Then again, it could be good exercise.
  • If you have a tendency to walk or run forward while juggling, practice facing a wall.
  • Practice in five or ten minute segments. Then take a half hour break. This method is one of the fastest ways to learn juggling and also helps preserve your sanity.
  • Keep the bean bags in a place that you go past frequently and tell yourself, "self, pick up the bean bags for a five minute workout" before allowing yourself to go past them.
  • One more thing: Practice - Practice - Practice.

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