Juggling/Three Ball Cascade

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The three ball cascade is the basic juggling style. If you have not done any juggling before this is what you should start with. You should NOT try doing a shower(where all the balls move in a circle with all the balls moving in the same direction. aka clockwise or counter-clockwise) until much further along in your juggling practice.

Step one[edit]

Use one ball for this step. Take a ball in one hand. Now throw it to the other hand. The throwing hand should move in a semi-circle before releasing the ball in order to make the ball fly almost vertically. This is called a "scoop" and will help a lot in further steps.

You should aim to throw the ball in such a way that it falls directly into the other hand. Having to move the catching hand too much is not a good sign. The ball should travel in an arc, its top around the height of your eyes.

Do not look at the ball as it falls. You have to learn to control yourself and catch the ball without looking at it. If you do not learn to do so now, further steps will become very hard. Throw the ball softly and try and keep the flow of the throwing smooth.

Do not underestimate this step, as it is possibly the most important. Not knowing how to throw the balls nicely will result in trouble in the following steps.

Step two[edit]

You will need two balls for this step. Take one ball in each hand and throw it directly upwards. Catch each ball with the hand that threw it. Alternate which ball you throw such that when the left ball is at the top of the arc, you throw the right ball and when the right is at the top, you throw the left one.

This process will help you achieve good rhythm for later. Apply the principles from step one - throwing the ball so you don't need to move the catching hand much, looking upwards instead of at the balls etc.

Try and make this step as automatic as possible. Listen to a few songs while performing it and throwing the balls to the rhythm. Try and listen to songs with different rhythm. Fast, slow, whichever you like.

Step three[edit]

This is the step that makes what you are doing actually look like juggling. Take a ball in each hand. Now throw one ball to the other hand as in step one. When the ball is at the top of the arc (as in step two), throw the other ball to the first hand. The second ball should travel underneath the first one.

This step may seem a bit daunting, but it is just a combination of steps one and two. When practicing this step, you should train both hands equally. First, throw the left ball first and the right ball second. Then, throw the right ball first and the left ball second. After a while, you should be able to do this in a nice, circling movement.

Never be afraid of going back to previous steps just to recapture the rhythm or throw more accurately.

Step four[edit]

When performing this step, you are actually already juggling. Take two balls in one hand and one ball in the other. Always begin with the hand with two balls. Repeat what you have been doing in step three, but when the second ball is at the top of the arc, throw the third ball to the opposite hand.

When you have done this step, you have made the first juggling circle. Actual juggling is just a series of these steps. Try and repeat these three passes until you feel you have perfected them. Throw the balls accurately, remember the rhythm when throwing and always try and catch the balls. It isn't a problem if they fall on the ground, but you need to be able to do at least three circles (with pauses after each circle) without them falling down before proceeding to step five.

Remember to practice this step with both hands equally. Left-right-left, then right-left-right. Music might help you with rhythm.

This step is the forerunner to juggling. As such, you might feel tempted to pass it quickly, but you should resist the urge and repeat it until you are comfortable with it.

Step five[edit]

This is it, the last step of the way! This is the breakthrough step and the time needed to get the grip of it varies greatly from person to person. If you have thoroughly practiced the previous steps, however, it shouldn't be a problem.

Repeat step four, but instead of catching the third ball as it falls down, throw the first ball again and proceed right into the next circle. When you first do it, you might get caught off balance and you will drop all the balls. Don't worry, it's natural at this point! Repeat step four again. When you are comfortable, try and do two circles without pausing.

As you learn this step, you will realize the movements are becoming more and more natural. Feel the flow of the balls as they soar through the air. Enjoy yourself! You now know how to juggle!

Troubleshooting[edit]

I cannot do more than 3 (or 4 or 5 etc.) throws[edit]

This is probably a mental problem. If this is happening to you, you need to make a point of throwing your balls whether or not you think you can catch them. Even if you drop them, throwing the balls will help you get past this mental block.

I throw my balls forward[edit]

(and in turn have to walk forward to keep up)

This is a common problem and can probably be fixed by juggling while facing a wall just close enough that you can extend your arms.

My balls collide in mid-air[edit]

To fix this problem you will have to work on your throws. Go back to step one and make sure you throw the ball correctly. Make sure that you are "scooping" your throws so that the ball flies almost completely vertically.

I still can't juggle.[edit]

Try this: http://www.alightfingers.com/tuition/ This is a more gradual and supportive version of the above.