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How to Juggle

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At first sight, juggling may look pretty easy. But when we actually try it, we find ourselves dropping the balls on the floor seconds after we throw them up into the air. To get it right, you’ve got to know the proper technique and develop good muscle memory and concentration skills to be able to catch the balls and keep a steady rhythm.

Today, 5-Minute Crafts will teach you how to juggle 3 balls in a cascade pattern. After you master this basic technique, you can move on to other juggling variations and more advanced patterns.

Step 1: Practice with one ball.

1. Get into the proper body position.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your elbows at about a 90-degree angle and keep them close to your body.
  • Your knees should be slightly bent and “bouncy” so you can adjust your movement to catch the balls if you need to.

2. Be comfortable with simply throwing and catching a ball.

  • Take a ball and throw it from one hand to the other. There’s no specific technique you should follow. Your goal is just to get comfortable and feel the weight of the ball and understand how it feels in your hand.
  • Try to maintain the proper body position, but don’t worry about it too much at this point. Focus more on throwing and catching the ball.

3. Determine the target points.

  • To juggle correctly, you need to determine the target points you’re going to aim for with the balls.
  • When throwing a ball, you should aim for one of 2 points located shoulder-width apart above your head. You can find them if you imagine that there’s a rectangle with a base at the same level as your hands.
  • When you throw a ball with your right hand, you should aim for the left target point. And when you throw a ball with your left hand, you should aim for the right target point.

4. Focus on the proper hand movements.

  • When you catch the ball, your hand should be slightly outside of your shoulder.
  • When you throw the ball up, you should scoop it so you can throw it again.
  • Make sure you throw the ball high enough.

Step 2: Practice with 2 balls.

1. Learn to juggle 2 balls at the same time.

  • Take a ball in each of your hands. Start with throwing the ball that is located in your dominant hand. You should aim for the target point that we discussed in “Step 1.”
  • As this ball reaches its target point and starts to come down, you should throw your second ball, aiming it at its target point. Try to throw the balls at the same height.

For example, your right hand is your dominant hand. It means you should start with throwing the ball that you have in your right hand, aiming for the left target point. When the ball reaches the left target point and starts to fall back down, you should throw the ball you have in your left hand, aiming for the right target point.

2. Make sure you don’t pass the second ball from one hand to the other.

  • Don’t cheat by throwing one of the balls from one hand to the other on the lower level. Make sure both balls hit the same height.
  • If you can’t throw the second ball, start juggling with your non-dominant hand first.
  • You can also try telling yourself what to do, saying out loud: “throw, throw, catch, catch!”
  • Practice is the key to success. Go for different throwing combinations, starting with different hands. Make sure you keep a steady rhythm and don’t throw the balls up too fast.

Step 3: Practice with 3 balls.

  • Take 2 balls in your dominant hand and 1 ball in your other hand. In your dominant hand, place one ball in your palm, and the other one, closer to your fingers.
  • You should start with throwing the balls as it was described in “Step 2,” but now, when the second ball comes down, you should throw the third ball, aiming for its target point.
  • Keep on throwing the balls until you can do it for as long as you like. Basically, after you throw the third ball, you should throw out the next ball as soon as it hits your hand. You should never have 2 balls in one hand except for when you start and when you finish.

Common mistakes

  • If balls keep moving away from you as you’re throwing them and you have to chase them, you’re likely to throw them more forward and not upward. Focus on aiming for the target points. You can also practice near a wall to improve your technique.
  • If you throw the balls too close to your body, you’re more likely to push the balls too far back and not straight up.
  • If you can’t throw the ball because of muscle memory, you can try to start juggling with your non-dominant hand.
  • Also, try to focus on the proper technique, but don’t catch the balls to help your brain and muscles remember the pattern of the movement. Just let the balls drop on the floor. Then move on to catching only 1 ball, then to 2 balls. In the end, you should be able to catch all 3 balls.
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