This is an article for those who wish to learn juggling and have absolutely no prior experience. Here you will find links to resources that will help you learn your first juggling pattern and suggestions about what kind of balls to use, what posture you should have, etc.
Getting informed and motivated¶
If you want to learn juggling, you should first know what juggling looks like. Watch these awesome videos, which portray many common styles of juggling:
Your first pattern¶
The first juggling pattern you should learn is the 3-ball cascade. This is what it looks like:
Most people try to begin with the 3-ball shower.
This is not recommended. The shower is more difficult than the cascade. Don't even try to learn the shower before the cascade; it will make it more difficult to learn the cascade.
You can find out how to learn the cascade by watching instructional videos. You can find many such videos on YouTube if you search 'cascade juggling tutorial' (for example, this video by Niels Duinker).
If you practice the cascade for around 15 minutes a day, you'll be able to learn it in around a week. Consistency is very important in juggling (for any pattern, not just cascade). If you don't practice for a few days, you will most likely forget the patterns you haven't mastered. Practice every day for best results.
Almost any not-easily-breakable spherical object of an appropriate size and weight is good enough to juggle, but we'll discuss the options commonly available.
- Tennis or Cricket balls (not the leather ones): These are what I currently use.
- Sponge balls: These are great if you're juggling in an environment with a lot of breakables. But they bounce off from hands and they lack weight. I learned juggling with them, but I recommend not starting with them.
- Beanbags: They're small bags filled tight with small beans or beads so that they are almost spherical. They don't bounce and roll off, which can make juggling less annoying when you begin learning.
- Purpose-made: These are balls specifically made for juggling. I once juggled with them and I think they're much better than all other alternatives. But they're expensive and can usually only be bought online.
Beanbags and purpose-made balls are good, but they're either difficult to find or expensive. That's why I have been using tennis balls.
Buy an extra ball so that when you lose a ball, you can keep practicing till you get a new one.
Choose an environment¶
- Make sure you don't have breakables in your environment (unless you're juggling with sponge balls).
- The place should be well lit (this makes much more difference than most people think).
- The place should have a high enough ceiling.
- Make sure you can recover balls if they roll away (for example, under the furniture if you're juggling at home, or into bushes if you're juggling in a park).
If you're a student in a hostel, a common room is often a good place to juggle. Hostel corridors are generally also good.
Try to not juggle in the exact same place facing in the exact same direction every time. If you do that, you'll get used to a particular environment and it might be difficult to juggle elsewhere.
Keep nails short to avoid injury.
Get in the habit of counting your throws so that you can track your progress. Sometimes you'll not see any progress for a few days despite regular practice. Sometimes your performance could be less than the previous day. Such incidences sometimes mean that your technique is incorrect. But it usually happens to me for no obvious reason. Don't give up. That's normal as far as I know. You'll eventually make progress.
Things to be vigilant about while juggling¶
Here's a list of things you should be vigilant about while juggling. If you can ensure all of these, you'll make progress faster.
- Keep a correct stance. Feet should be at shoulder distance. This will increase stability.
- The humerus should be roughly perpendicular to the ground. This will keep the juggling pattern plane at the right distance from you.
- The radius and ulna should be roughly perpendicular to the humerus. This will keep the juggling pattern at the correct height.
- For patterns with simple throws, there should be low variance in catch points.
- Keep the pattern in a plane parallel to yourself.
- If you're repeatedly throwing too forward, try holding on to props for longer.
- Don't rotate yourself while juggling (unless that's an intended trick).
- Avoid jerk throws, i.e giving a very large acceleration to balls for a very short time (heavy balls sometimes help prevent jerk throws).
- Avoid looking funny (for example, some people open their mouth while juggling high patterns).
That's all! Keep practicing regularly and you'll soon be able to juggle the cascade.
Some day I'll post another article about what you should learn next. I'll post it sooner if you let me know that you've learned the cascade and are hungry for more.