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Juggling Help Needed

Discussion in 'Juggling' started by Punkin, Jul 2, 2015.

  1. Punkin

    Punkin Well-Known Member

    I'm the world's worse juggler.........I can do two balls, but can't seem to keep them going for very long. My goal is just to be able to do the three ball cascade........that's it.........no swords, circular saws, fire.......hahahaha............anyone have suggestions?
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  2. V

    V Well-Known Member

    It's all repetition and practice. For 100% of juggling really - practice, rinse & repeat. How long it takes to become proficient is determined individually; some people can do it quick, others not so much. The answer is still practice - a lot. You need an hour a day.
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  3. Sir Toony Van Dukes

    Sir Toony Van Dukes Well-Known Member

    Most of the people who I see trying are doing it wrong. If you are trying to throw the three balls in a circle, it is likely wrong. The balls cross to form an X. Once I figured that out, I managed to do the three ball thing... although just a few times at first.
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  4. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    Pick two points extending straight up from your hands (make sure they are at least at shoulder width), to about a foot or two above your head. Toss the ball in your right hand to the point above your left hand. Then the ball in your left hand to the point at right. Develop an even rhythm...one, two, three, one, two, three. You can flash this in short sets to assure repeated success and catches. Making the tosses consistently to the points and keeping the rhythm is key.

    Conversely, its all just luck. One day, you throw the objects. You catch them. You say, "Oh, that's what it feels like!" And you repeat it. Then, you move onto other tricks. You fail at them, too...just like you did before. Until you get lucky again.
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  5. LarryTheClown

    LarryTheClown Well-Known Member

    Yeah, everybody beat me to the basics. It's also mainly about timing, and there, practice is the key. I don't know if you drive, but basically driving becomes so familiar that it becomes instinct. When you first start out, you are using pretty much all of your brain to turn left. Which way does the left turn signal go? How far do I turn the wheel? Did I look at both sides and the mirrors?

    But eventually its becomes instinct. You basically only use a fraction of your thinking process to make a turn, which makes you a better driver. (Scientifically, I think it means that part of the thought process has become encoded into your spine for easy access, but that's another discussion altogether.)

    It sounds complicated, I know. But when you're hesitating, that increases the chance that you're going to miss the third ball when it reaches its trajectory. This is basically a long winded pep talk about how you should practice, practice, practice until you now longer have to think about where the positions of the balls in air are at.

    (Or basically as said above: you got to throw the ball when the one on the air is about eye level and directly above the hand that is clenching the ball. When you don't have to think about that location, that's when you can juggle. Thing is, developing this sort of instinct is key in juggling, since every half-second you hesitate means the third ball is quickly moving to a position where you can't grab it.)
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015
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  6. Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft)

    Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft) Old Bucket Spitter

    Or just don't bother juggling at all. A three ball cascade isn't very entertaining and if that's the limit of your juggling ambitions, why not concentrate instead on developing a skill that will entertain?
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  7. V

    V Well-Known Member

    This is good advice. Juggling isn't some rare talent that only comes to town with the circus these days. I know some amazing jugglers - world class really, and it's not uncommon, even at a small town festival, to find some local kid who juggles for fun that can keep up with them for a very long time.

    I know kids who aren't old enough to drive that are incredible jugglers and they're only going to get younger and more talented as time goes on. 15-20 years ago, seeing a young kid juggle 5 balls would have been an anomaly, now you can find dozens of them on Youtube.

    I guess my point is that literally anyone who has most of their appendages, can juggle. It isn't hard to get to a simple 3 ball cascade and most people know that and aren't easily impressed by it. I coached my kids baseball team this year and almost half the coaches in the league could juggle baseballs. If you want to learn for self-improvement or as a hobby, then go for it. If you're wanting to add something to your act, I'd learn to juggle and practice as much as possible for the next couple of years and then add it to your act instead of dropping a wobbly 3 ball cascade into your set.
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  8. Indecisive

    Indecisive Active Member

    Why not try comedy juggling? And there are so many ways to develop an act with that.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2015
  9. V

    V Well-Known Member

    What's the development behind a comedy juggling act without a strong juggler? Let's be realistic - people are only going to watch a terrible juggler for so long before they leave disappointed. Filling the empty spots with comedy and patter isn't the answer because if you're not an entertaining juggler - the whole show is an empty spot.

    Again, if someone wants to learn basic juggling for self satisfaction then I'm 100% for it; but to encourage a poor juggler to go out on stage and try to fill the air with elementary juggling and comedy is just like encouraging someone to go out and try magic without practice, practice, practice. Reading and following the directions on the packaging doesn't turn a trick into a performance and the same is true with juggling - learning a few basic moves and knowing how to barely juggle, doesn't make someone a performance ready juggler.

    Why are there so many terrible acts out there? Because there are so many out there not willing to put in the time to develop their skills and put them together into a proper show. It's a problem in almost all of the variety arts, but I'd be shocked if clowning, specifically 'party clowning' isn't the industry leader is this terrible habit. I can't count how many times someone has just decided to go be a party clown only to go buy some loud clothing, some make-up, and a closet full of cheesy props and self-working tricks and them start spamming their local Craigslist as a professional party entertainer. I don't know why it is, but bad jugglers & magicians either seem to improve to a high enough level to earn bookings or eventually get the message and move on (maybe to become party clowns!) but bad clowns just seem to keep on "keeping on" - a tragedy for the industry really, but what can you do?
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  10. Indecisive

    Indecisive Active Member

    Thanks for all your support and encouragement; V.
  11. V

    V Well-Known Member

    Ironically, that's exactly the sentiment that should be made towards my advice. Too many people in this industry shake hands and slap backs and tell people that 100% of their ideas are works of genius and will have crowds jumping to their feet screaming "hallelujah," when that isn't the case.

    What I offered up was support of Barry's sound advice to not go out in front of an audience with mediocre skills and try to sell it as something it isn't. The industry deserves better and more importantly, an audience deserves better (paying or not). Every horrible and undeveloped performance just makes it harder on the next guy trying to get into the profession, it doesn't matter all that much to those of us who are currently working - it's simple advise, follow it or not..
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  12. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    Barry often offers sound advice about making comedy as supreme rather than just doing skill stuff (not that skill stuff isn't important or that sloppy work is in any way advisable.) When it comes to juggling, I've found that this works for me. I'm an adequate juggler. Not at all anything special. At an average clown convention, my skills are often on par with a couple of other decent jugglers, possibly below those of the really good guy or girl who is there, and above those of around the other 90%. Now, I show up at a typical juggling festival and I'm on the opposite end of that equation.

    So, I work with what I've got.

    I've discovered that if I attempt to pawn myself off as a performing juggler, I can't meet expectations. If, however, I am a clown who juggles I can't help but succeed. Even when I don't feel like I am. (At an event where I just couldn't seem to keep a spinning plate to do much of anything but fall repeatedly off its stick, for example. People told me they were loving it, as I was a clown who couldn't help but fail unafraid. One audience member even told me that had I simply spun the plate, that wouldn't have done much for him.) At another performance, I was praised for eliciting audience reaction with an interactive (and proven through experience) juggling hat bit (that's nothing new to anyone who's seen anything at all) when other entertainers didn't. I've also discovered that basic interaction stuff with kids using simple juggling props, while certainly not high level stuff in any way, connects, excites, and brings something out even in shy children that makes both them.and their patents happy (and, thus, gets me hired.) In this sense, my job is more about making a moment, enabling an experience. When it comes to tools or skills, it is ultimately about HOW you use whatever it is that you have in order to be entertaining and connect with your audience.
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  13. Sir Toony Van Dukes

    Sir Toony Van Dukes Well-Known Member

    I think that even the best jugglers aren't all that interesting after 3-4 minutes. Once you get past the initial, "Wow" he (or she) is good. At the circus, the jugglers get only a few minutes. The few places I have seen a 30+ minute juggling show have included several people, balancing, and other skills. Often, some jokes and other stuff thrown in for good measure. They will do balls, clubs, passing, rola-bola, yo-yo, and diabolo. Maybe some bounce juggling, giant beach balls, or chainsaws.

    Juggling is a nice skill to have and I see no problems with including a minute or two in a longer clown show. The idea that you can keep an audience's attention for much longer without years of practice isn't all that realistic.

    The question to ask with any skill is how do I plan to use it. Mr Rainbow says something along the lines of not needing to learn how to play an instrument but to use the instrument to play a song. If you can play Happy Birthday on a ukulele then that might be enough.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015
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  14. LarryTheClown

    LarryTheClown Well-Known Member

    Well, as someone who does juggle often, I find it's a nice skill to have when you're in parades. The ones I do are usually pretty crowded, and the parade organizers are always trying to move you from one place to the next, so it's hard to spend any one-on-one time with any kids or perform any skits outside of the grand stage.

    So... juggle!

    Since the kids only see you for, what, ten seconds to a half-minute at a time, it's a nice way to get them to put the focus on your group (while the others hand out giveaways and do photo ops).

    And, yeah, it is nice to do some comedy routines, too. I made a little girl laugh yesterday when I dropped my pin... and then I kept doing the flip up at the end of the pin, only for me to not catch it. It made the pin look alive, and it was funny watching me chase after it as it was jumping down the road.

    (It also provides an opportunity to interact. Kids will always want to try their hand at juggling, too... so what I did was give three different kids a pin each. "One guy juggling three pins... anyone can do that!" I'd say. "But when was the last time you saw three kids juggling a pin each? This is phenomenal!")

    EDIT: Here's a picture of me with those kids, by the way:

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  15. Auggie

    Auggie New Member

    Hey punkin did you ever learn how to juggle or did you decide to retire from it?

    As a juggling addict, I hope you continued and persevered...for me, I went to a juggling convention with some friends and after that weekend I could juggle "wobbly." I continued by learning basic tricks and as I started to understand different patterns, the basics were solidified. Then I went to my second convention and got more help. I showed them what I could do and they instructed me how to correct the problems and then other things that were good to learn. From April to now (Oct) I have gone from zero juggling to 4 ball sync and asynchronous (4 catches each so still wobbly lol), several 3 ball tricks (currently learning the beautiful mills mess!), as well as 3 club ( steady singles and two catches with double throws), and 4 rings (some 3 ring tricks and wobbly with 5 rings). Depending on the item, I try to juggle it as well now (no chainsaws yet haha)

    Honestly I have to say the thing about juggling 3 balls...its really more of a bore when you get it...just like driving a car. So you might not want to learn tricks now, but if you do take the time to learn 3 ball, be open to learning basic tricks at least. Or find a trick that you say "I really wanna learn that!!" The reason is that you can get 3 ball fairly quickly but once you do, you will probably not be satisfied and just quit. This almost happened to me when I learned. After 4 days I was so sick of 3 ball it was like making a million balloon dogs... But when I learned about mills mess I felt my first addiction kick in. Of course it takes time to learn and much much more time to master so like the above people stated, dont do it...unless you are like me and become obsessed about it.

    One thing that I have really learned about juggling is that it is a giant signal to other jugglers passing by and is a great way to meet people (juggling groups). I love to juggle in the park in my free time and so many people come to me to talk and watch. Even when I was new to it strangers supported me. I've also had a weird occurrence once where my friends wanted to see me juggle while we were at this festival. Within 5 or ten minutes I met this girl who juggled and did parcour (sp?), another guy that was great at 5 ball juggling (this is my new goal!) and a couple that did poi. Most recently I am a live in care taker and the neighbor was hooping on her backing porch! If you are naturally an introverted person like myself, then juggling (hooping, poi, staff, etc) is a great ice breaker to meet new people. In fact my friend that wanted me to juggle (he is very shy) decided to learn and I was able to teach him the idea that night.

    So basically...its all muscle memory! Sorry for my rant, but I am going to juggle now :)
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  16. Auggie

    Auggie New Member

    And Larry the clown is exactly right! I dont know about parades, but it can be a great interaction time. It is actually what got me into clowning in the first place. I would juggle three balls, and then three clubs, and then three rings (with tricks for each). At the end of the three rings trick I hand a ball or club to the child/children and show them the basic "one ball juggle. Some just enjoy throwing the ball, others get good quick! And still others are mesmerized by my juggling. I did this with 12 children at once (they each had one piece of my gear) and I think it was a few hours of entertainment...these were young kids and the parents were plenty glad to just sit back and enjoy the free nanny service ;) the thing about this situation was that I was in France on July 14th at a park so it wasn't intended to be a daycare service lol. But the point is, that without any clown stuff and a language barrier they were still entertained for quite some time (and I got to practice a lot of French with the locals which was great! They were so thankful :) ).

    ...and that night I wrote in my journal, "is this how I impact the world? By the brief smiles I put on the future generations as I fade from their memories?" ;)

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