I taught this pattern to myself through trial and error and since I'm
sure there are many other ways to do it, I will only say one thing
definitively about this method: this is one of them.
Thanks to Benjamin Schoenberg, Allen Knutson, Scottie Haney, and
Jim Dorman for proof-reading the early drafts and to
Ram Prasad whose letters asking "how do you do this?" prompted
me to put it all down in ASCII.
Learning The Basics
-Notation and Ball Paths
The Whole Pattern
A Different Start Pattern
_LEARNING THE BASICS_ (Notation and Ball Paths)
* RHB1 = Right Hand Blue #1, LHG2 = Left Hand Green #2, etc.
All throws (unless otherwise noted) are Reverse Cascades.
* R-L, L-R = Reverse Cascade toss from (R)ight to (L)eft or vice-versa.
* backwards r.c.R-L, L-R = Reverse Cascade toss from the opposite
side of the body than the arm that throws it (with arms crossed).
the _Left_ hand throws from the (R)ight side back to the (L)eft side
the _Right_ hand throws from the (L)eft side back to the (R)ight side
Don't let this confuse you. If you can't see it now, you'll get it when
you are reading the pattern and you'll see that the "backwards r.c." only
happens when your arms are crossed. It'll make sense.
The first hint I'm going to give you is one of the most important. This
was pointed out by Geoff Thorpe in an early 4bMM description. I think
it's important because it was the turning point for my being able to
visualize the pattern. _The same two balls stay in the same hands
throughout the whole pattern_. The balls do not switch hands:
The Right Hand always throws the Blue Balls (RHB1 and RHB2) and the Left
hand always throws the Green Balls (LHG1 and LHG2). Thank you Geoff
_LEARNING THE BASICS_ (One-Hand Practice)
Here's a drill to help give you a feel for what each hand will be doing
throughout the pattern. THIS IS NOT EXACTLY WHAT EACH HAND DOES. This drill
will only help to emphasize some of the *feel* of doing the pattern and the
concept of the two balls staying in the same hand throughout the movements
across the body from R-L-R.
You're going to practice each hand individually. Each hand tosses two
balls back and forth, from side to side doing Reverse Cascade throws that
follow each other like the "follow the leader" pattern (the same ball
leads followed by the other along the path). Remember: This is only what
the pattern will *feel* like, it's not the exact ball paths.
Practice the Right hand like this: Right Blue balls go from the right side
of the body to just left of center (as in the diagram) and then back out
to the right as follows: Throw the two Blue balls from your right side in
reverse cascade throws towards the left-center of your body. As soon as
you release the second ball (RHB2) scoot your hand across to the Left to
catch the descending RHB1. Carry RHB1 further across to the left and then
toss it back across to the right in another reverse cascade throw OVER
the incoming RHB2. This throw, when you do the pattern, will be the throw
from underneath the Left arm (backwards rev.casc L-R). Catch RHB2 and also
throw it back across to the Right to follow RHB1. As soon as you release
RHB2 scoot your hand across to the Right to catch the descending RHB1.
Carry RHB1 further across to the Right and then toss it back across to the
Left in another reverse cascade throw OVER the incoming RHB2.
That's the basic pattern for both sides...
throws from the outside to the inside and then back, with the arms
crossing at the middle (Gee doesn't that sound simple?)
_LEARNING THE BASICS_ (The Flash)
The first four throws are reverse cascades that are aimed to land just
across the mid-line of your body:
/ \ / \
/ X \
LH / \ RH
Since I work visually, I want you to read the following instructions and
try to visualize the pattern and arm movements first. I'll tell you when
to pick up the balls and try it.
Now, to get a feel for the start of the pattern, here's the count for a
flash of the first 4 throws. Remember they all travel in the pattern
drawn in the diagram above (reverse cascade throws).
Throw RHB1, LHG1, RHB2, catch RHB1 and continue to cross under the L arm),
throw LHG2, catch LHG1 (L arm crosses over the R arm), catch RHB2, catch
LHG2... and freeze. (Don't throw them yet, read on)
The catches of the first balls (RHB1 and LHB1) are the points at which
you carry the ball across to the opposite side (R under, and L over).
In the example above, the Right hand catches RHB1 and then carries across
and _under_ the left arm (this sets up its next throw which will be from
under the left arm).
OK, go ahead and try the Flash.
If it worked you should have ended up with your right arm under your left
arm with both the blues in your right hand and both the greens in your
left. Since you probably missed the second balls (hehehe) here's another
hint: If you throw the reverse cascades TOO WIDE (crossing the midline too
far across) you won't be able to reach the two second balls. So make sure
that you keep the pattern higher and narrower. Since a good start is the
basis for a good pattern (remember trying to learn the 5 ball cascade?) you
should work on this until you can make clean catches regularly.
_THE WHOLE PATTERN_
OK, let's put the pattern together. Here is the throw count for the
RHB1 (R-L), LHG1 (L-R) [remember: these are Reverse Cascades]
RHB2 (R-L) then catch RHB1 and cross under L arm
LHG2 (L-R) then catch LHG1 (Left arm is crossed over R arm).
* You are now cross-armed (L over R) *
RHB1 (backwards r.c.L-R from under L arm) then catch RHB2
LHG1 (backwards r.c.R-L as L arm begins to uncross) and catch LHG2
RHB2 (R-L) (read following note then continue pattern at ">>" below)
* this is a normal Reverse Cascade throw from R-L because the
Right arm has unwrapped from underneath the Left) *
>> catch RHB1 and carry across over the L arm
LHG2 (backwards r.c.R-L from under Right arm) and catch LHG1
RHB1 (backwards r.c.L-R as R arm begins to uncross) and catch RHB2
LHG1 (L-R) (read following note then continue pattern at ">>" below)
* this is a normal Reverse Cascade throw from L-R because the
Left arm has unwrapped from underneath the Right) *
>> catch LHG2 and carry across over the R arm...
...and so on and so on and so on...
4-ball Mills Mess, by Steven M. Salberg /
Juggling Information Service /
© 1996 Juggling Information Service. All Rights Reserved.