Juggle Trouble

I decided to finally stop letting those juggling bags stare at me. Laughing. Taunting, mocking.

My main problems are a) that third bag goes off in a straight line to the other side of the room and b) I have the reflexes and hand-eye coordination of a blind man in a coma.

Just a practice thing, huh?

Oh yeah, and my unicycle is still unrideable, and I need to feel special, that’s another reason I’ve started.

Might I suggest starting with one bag? When you are happy with that work up to two, then three. Practice wil pay off, and in the meantime, if you are sick of picking bags up off the floor, practice in front of a bed (less distance to bend down to pick them up) or take your shoes and socks off and practice picking bags up with your feet. If the bag flying to the other side of the room really bugs you, practice facing a corner and you’ll have a shorter distance to walk to pick it up.

It also helps to concentrate on getting the throws right in the beginning and to worry about the catches later. Sounds silly, but once you get your throws more accurate the catches become much easier.


another tip is on i use when i find balls flying away from me when learning new tricks is to practice on a chair. This way your less likly* to chase after the ball when you throw it forward so i think it helps you to progress* quicker too.

practice in front of a wall till you can though it in the right direction. You just need to get past the mentle block in your brain saying this is crazy and just wanting to through it any where.

Follow Jayne’s advice.

Use something heavier, around a half kilo to a kilo, until you have the throws down right. (by the way, this is an excellent physical therapy excercise for old guys with rotator-cuff injuries…) You’re going for a smooth, scooping motion - catch down near the waist, just outside a vertical line from your shoulder joint, let the hand dip a bit during the scoop, then flick it up just offset from your belly button. The heavier objects force you to learn good form.

Don’t move up (from one to two) until you can do 20-30 throws in a row with your eyes shut. Don’t move up if you have to reach out or up to catch any of the throws. Don’t move up until you naturally use the same smooth, scooping motion for light things that you have to use for the heavy stuff.

I didn’t realize the importance of good scoops and spent years (off and on) trying to juggle. I spent about a month (5-10 minutes most mornings) learning good scoops and juggling came fairly easy after that.

Can you seriously do the throws and catches with your eyes shut? For what it’s worth, the important thing is that you can throw comfortably and consistently… I 'd say that being able to do it with your eyes shut is completely optional. I’ve been juggling for about five years, and while doing it without eyes is cool, it’s definitely not needed in the learning process (I still can’t do it, although I have not put in a lot of practice time)

On a similar note though, the habit that you do want to pick up is being able to catch the balls by looking only at the top of their paths. When most people juggle, they only need to look at where the balls reach their maximum heights. Give that a try in combination with the catching and throwing suggestions that have already been given.

I can juggle with my eyes shut; when I was practicing it daily I was getting close to managing mills mess with no vision.

However, I agree that it’s unnecessary in the learning process, even with one or two balls.

The throws with eyes shut are much lower than throws with eyes open, it’s a very tight pattern cos if you throw them higher you can’t catch them.

As for learning, a really good tip that’s already been given is to focus on getting the throws right, rather than the catches- this applies at all levels and in other types of juggling, such as passing clubs with a partner.

Also, on the subject of eyes; when you can do the 3 balls fairly consistently, it’s good to start ‘looking through the pattern’ rather than fixating on the balls.

ie look at the wall beyond- this is great preparation for getting into passing, but will also improve your individual juggling.

Main thing is to stick with it, practice a few minutes every day or so- as the months roll by you’ll be amazed at how the slow, steady progress builds up.

Thanks all, that all sounds good.

But when you say “concentrate on the throws” do you mean just make it a good throw like with the scoop? Wouldn’t it also entail a toss to the other hand. So I wouldn’t need to worry about catches if the throw was good it would make it into my hand, right?

EXACTLY - the more on target your throws are the easier the catches become. When you start with 2 bags (or balls) it helps to say throw-throw-catch-catch as you do the same to overcome that initial instinct to get them out of your hands as quickly as possible. When you move up to three, just say throw-throw-throw. Your hands have to be empty so you can catch the ball that’s coming down and throw it up again. Remember that extra high throws may give you the impression that you have more time to catch the ball, but for a beginner they are much harder to control and you’ll have more wayward drops.

To check your progress, try and see where you drop. If your throws are on target your bags (or balls) should land close to your feet. I could tell I was making progress with my juggling when I no longer had to leave the room to pick up my drops. Cats are also a good measure of juggling success. If they stay in the room when they see you with juggling stuff then you’re getting better.

I also find it helps to practice for a set time and then take a break. Set a timer for 10 minutes or so and PRACTICE. Repeat every day and you’ll see progress. As you get better increase the time or try something new for 10 minutes and practice old tricks for 10 minutes. That’s enough time to get some work in without getting TOTALLY frustrated at how little progress you are making.


Yeah, on single tosses almost 100%. Juggling came really hard for me; by the time I could get a steady 3 ball cascade my single throws and catches had become that good. I still had a few semi-wild throws but my catching hand had them under control by reflex.

But point taken that it isn’t necessary for everyone to get that good at throws to juggle.