Juggler's World: Vol. 43, No. 1

Juggler's Workshop

Seven Club Passing

by Martin Frost

© 1991 Martin Frost
Are you a seven-club passer? If you're not, read on for some techniques for mastering seven, and if you are, read further for some variations on the theme. There are many ways to pass seven clubs, some of which can be turned nicely into different 11-club feeds.

Learning to Pass Seven Doubles

The common way for two people to pass seven clubs is passing every right hand club (that is, a 2-count) with double spins. Since seven is an odd number, the two jugglers are passing at different times. One person starts with four clubs and throws the first double (pass), then one count later the other juggler responds with a return double.

When learning something new like seven clubs, you can make it easier by practicing the parts individually before putting the whole thing together. So in this case, each partner should practice throwing doubles with the right hand. Just pass one club around with double spins.

When throwing a double, don't spin it faster than a single, just throw it higher - high enough so that there's enough time for a normally spinning club to spin twice. This will help to keep your seven-club pattern relatively slow and controllable. To keep the spin slow like this, always throw the club from the knob. Your hand should be wrapped around the handle but making contact with the knob.

Also, learn to make the throw from just outside your right leg, not in front of it. This will make your pass go straight across to your partner, rather than slanting toward the outside, and that will make it easier to throw accurately to just outside your partner's shoulder.

Next add one more club and pass the two around with doubles, one right behind the other. As you get better at throwing good doubles, keep adding one more club at a time, passing doubles in a group (followed by several holes in the seven-club pattern). As you pass these clubs, you should certainly try to keep them all peaking at the same height, so that they're good doubles. But also try to glance over at your partner now and then as one of your throws lands. This gives you important feed back on how good or bad your throws are.

When you finally get to passing all seven clubs, continue to try to look at your partner's catches whenever you can. You may find it tricky at first to find enough time to look over there, but it can be done and is very important, in this and in harder patterns. The more consistent your partner's throws are to you, the easier it is to see your throws caught, and the more you do that, the more consistent your throws will be.

One final thing, remember to keep your doubles high. The most common problem is low doubles that haven't had time enough to spin twice, and low doubles make the whole pattern faster and much harder to learn.

Seven Singles and Doubles

The seven-club pattern that most passers try to master after seven doubles is seven singles, with all the passes being singles instead of doubles. The problem with seven singles is that it is much faster than seven doubles, and hence hard to learn.

An easier pattern to pick up before seven singles is seven singles and doubles, a compromise between all singles and all doubles. In this pattern, one person passes all doubles and the other passes all singles (Fig. 1). This makes it somewhat faster than seven doubles but not as fast as singles. Don't be confused by the fact that the two people are now making different height throws. The doubles should still be as high as before, and the singles should be normal singles.

Have the person who is passing doubles start first, with four clubs. The second juggler should wait just slightly longer before starting than you would in seven doubles. Be sure to switch off the roles from time to time.

One thing to notice here is that the person throwing doubles can now easily see those doubles landing. So you can really perfect your doubles here. Also, avoid letting the singles get too high and thus overturned.

Seven Singles

Once you and your partner can both do both parts of seven singles and doubles, the step to seven singles is not too big. Keep the singles pattern slow by making sure you throw relatively high slow singles - certainly no lower than you would throw six singles, and preferably slightly higher with a slower spin. Again, try to look at where your throws land. That's not too hard here since you're catching singles. Keep your passes outside your partner's shoulder.

Triples in a 4-Count

Here's a good pattern for learning to throw triples. Both jugglers do the same thing, but out of phase. You pass every other right-hand club, with triples. To start, the person with four clubs (two in each hand) throws a triple pass. At the exact same starting moment, the other person throws a self. After that simultaneous start, each person simply alternates between triple passes and normal right-hand selves.

Watching your triples land is quite plausible here, so do it. With a self after each pass, you'll find there's a fair amount of time for recovery. But keep your triples nice and high, spinning no faster than normal singles, in order to keep the pattern slow and easy.

Seven Singles and Triples

This is like singles and doubles, but with triples instead of doubles. One person throws every club as a triple and the other every club as a single (Fig. 2). There are no right-hand selves. For now, have the person with four clubs start and throw the triples. The person throwing singles should start passing exactly with the throw of the second triple.

Like the previous pattern, this is a good one for learning triples. Here you can throw triples while essentially staring at your partner's catching hand, so that you can adjust your throws to make them perfect. When you see a triple land, however, the next triple is already in the air and it's too late to adjust that one (unless you're a really amazing juggler!), so your partner may get a couple of poor throws before you fix things. But keep watching the catches and you'll find it fun. If you're throwing the singles, make sure to keep your passes from drifting up high - that's a common tendency when you're looking way up.

Switching Among Singles, Doubles and Triples

Now that you can do seven clubs with various combinations of singles, doubles and triples, try to change from one type of throw to another without stopping and maybe even without warning your partner. For instance, if you're doing seven singles, it's easy for one of you to switch into doubles with no warning - the pattern just slows down. Then switch from doubles into triples, slowing things down more.

The harder change happens when going to a lower throw, say from triples back to doubles. Of course that speeds up the pattern, but that shouldn't be a problem if you can do the basic faster pattern that you're switching into. But since the lower pass arrives early relative to the previous throw, try to delay the first lower pass as much as you can. This has the effect of splitting the speed-up between you and your partner. You can also throw that first lower pass a little higher than it might otherwise be (with slightly slower spin, too), to slow it down a little. This splits the speed-up between one moment and the next. Eventually, each of you should be able to change among singles, doubles and triples at will (Fig. 3).

Triple-Single 4-Count

If either you or your partner can juggle four clubs in a triple-single pattern (with the right hand throwing triples to your left and the left throwing singles), try this right-handed passing variation. One person starts with four clubs and alternates double passes with triple selves. The other starts with three clubs and alternates double passes with normal single selves. The whole pattern starts just like seven doubles, with the four-club person passing first (Fig. 4).

This is fairly easy for the person who starts with three. The difficulty is for the four-club juggler to keep the triple selves high and under control while alternating them with lower double passes. The person with three clubs can help out by throwing doubles so that they land about where the triple selves are coming down. You may have to vary the height of the doubles a little to make the timing even for the four-club person (depending on the height of the triples).

Triple-Single 11-Club Feed

If we add one more person and four clubs to the above triple-single 4-count, we get an unusual 11-club feed. The person with three clubs in the preceding pattern becomes the feeder and actually has the easiest role, just passing doubles alternately to the two feedees. Each feedee does the same thing as the person with four clubs in the above pattern: alternate between double passes and triple selves.

To start this 11-club feed, one feedee passes a double and the feeder responds one count later with a double to that feedee (just like with only two people). The second feedee starts one count after that, with a double to the feeder. Then everybody just alternates between their two types of throws. The timing of the passes is shown in Fig. 5. For more fun, add more feedees.

Triple, Double, Single

Here's another variation of the triple-single 4-count. Instead of adding another person, we just let the two jugglers pass the extra club back and forth, resulting in a beautiful pattern. Each juggler executes the following sequence (but out of phase with your partner): triple self, double pass, single self.

The person with four clubs starts by passing a double, and the other responds one count later with a triple self. Then the first person throws a single self, and the second person passes a double. Finally the first person throws a triple self, and the second person does a single self. Now we're back to the beginning of the pattern. The effect is that a triple pops up above one juggler, then above the other, then above the first, and so forth.

Note that each juggler just follows the sequence triple-double-single, with only the double being a pass. If you can control your triple selves, you can do this pattern, and you only have to make one triple out of every three throws.

Seven Crossing

This pattern is good for learning how to pass seven clubs left handed. Why, you say, should anyone bother to learn seven left handed? Because there are many interesting combinations with two or more people that require at least some left-handed passing, and, furthermore, because you don't want to become far unbalanced by failing to develop your left hand's juggling capabilities just because most people are right handed. Now that that's settled, here's seven crossing.

In this pattern, both people are throwing diagonal doubles, but one person is passing right handed and the other left handed (Fig. 6). The passes go from the right hand to the right hand or the left hand to the left hand. Because seven is odd, you're passing at different times, so the clubs don't collide - they pass through the middle alternately. They do however come relatively close, so be sure to keep the passes evenly spaced and keep your passes going to just outside your partner's shoulder.

You might find this pattern easier to start, at least initially, if the left-handed passer has three clubs. If that's you and you still have trouble getting the first throw off, try starting with two clubs in the right hand and one in the left, making the first throw be a self from the right at the same time as your partner starts with a right hand pass. Follow your right self with a left (diagonal) pass and you're underway. Remember to keep the passes high enough to be doubles.

Seven Clubs Left Handed

If both you and your partner can do the left handed part of seven crossing above, then you might as well try a straight seven left handed, with both of you passing left handed straight across (no diagonals). When you're passing left handed, you may exhibit bad habits that you don't have right handed. For instance, make sure you're passing from outside of your (left) leg, and keep the passes lofty. In fact, go back and read the beginning section above on learning to pass seven clubs, and apply the ideas there to your left handed seven. And if you master seven doubles left handed, go back and try seven singles and doubles left handed, then even seven singles.

Seven Clubs in a 3-Count

Since the 3-count has been gaining popularity with six-club jugglers, here's the 3-count for seven clubs. In a 3-count pattern, you pass a club every 3 counts, that is, every 3 throws counting both hands: pass, self, self. So each juggler passes alternately from the right and left hands.

In the seven club 3-count, we'll pass doubles, with one person making only diagonal passes (right-to-right and left-to-left) and the other person making only straight passes (right-to-left and left-to-right) as in Fig. 7. Start with the straight passer having two clubs in each hand and the other juggler having two clubs in the left and one in the right.

The straight passer starts with a right-to-left double and then just continues in the 3-count (double, self, self, double, self, self).

The diagonal passer starts one-half count after the straight passer starts and first throws a left self, then a right-to-right double and continues the 3-count (self, double, self, self, double, self, self). This starting delay is only half the delay (1 count) in the start of a normal seven doubles pattern. The 1/2-count delay makes the diagonal passes occur 1 1/2 counts after and 1 1/2 counts before a straight pass from the other juggler - so the pattern is symmetrical.

The general rule to remember for starting the seven-club 3-count is this. The first person (with four clubs) starts with a pass toward the hand that has two clubs, and the second person (three clubs) does a self 1/2 count later followed by a pass. Of course, one person has to throw diagonally and one straight, but it doesn't matter which one starts.

Seven Clubs in a 1-Count

This might be considered the ultimate seven club pattern, since both jugglers are passing every club, with no selves at all. Like the 3-count above, one juggler passes diagonally and one straight (Fig. 7).

This pattern can be done with singles or doubles (or a combination!). It is slower with doubles, but easier to keep under control (easier to see where your passes are going) with singles. If you try singles, keep them slow, that is high and lofty, spinning slowly.

To start the 1-count, decide who will throw straight and who diagonally. Now the person with four clubs starts by passing toward the hand that has only one club. The second person starts quickly thereafter, passing from the hand with two clubs (the right, probably, if that's the most comfortable). Now you both just alternate passing from right and left, making sure your throws are of the proper kind (diagonal or straight).

Here are some techniques that can be used to make the 1-count manageable. First, try to make your throws arrive just outside the shoulder at shoulder level, and keep them slow and high. The person who is throwing diagonals should throw from in front of the leg to just outside the shoulder. The person throwing straight should throw from well outside the leg to outside the shoulder. This will help avoid collisions by keeping the clubs all in their own lanes. As usual, watching your passes will help you keep them accurate.


In the slow-fast pattern, the slow juggler passes {\it from} both the right and left hands, whereas the fast juggler passes {\it to} both hands. The slow juggler has no selves, only passes. The fast juggler has selves plus passes and makes twice as many throws in the same amount of time. Fig. 8 shows all the throws. The easiest way to do this pattern with seven clubs is probably with doubles, but you might also try singles or singles and doubles.

Let's have the fast juggler start with four clubs and pass first a right-to-left double, then a left self, a right-to-right double, and another left self. That's the whole pattern. Basically, the fast juggler feeds the slow juggler's two hands, with doubles.

The slow juggler has three clubs, two in the right hand. Approximately half a count after the fast juggler starts, the slow juggler starts, with the sequence: right-to-left double, left-to-left double. That's all, because the slow person has no selves.

The key is for the slow juggler to go as slow as is reasonable, passing only when necessary. The slow juggler controls the speed of the overall pattern, and since the fast person may be a little pressed for time, the slow juggler should keep things from getting too fast.

There's one likely collision problem, because the jugglers' two diagonal throws cross somewhat close together. The fast juggler can help avoid a collision there by throwing right-to-right passes that arrive outside, or at least definitely not inside. It's also useful to throw those passes from a little bit inside the right leg, as the hand passes diagonally toward just outside the slow person's right shoulder. Throwing this pass from inside in this way helps get it quickly out of the way of the following diagonal from the slow juggler's left hand.

Back-to-Back and Front-to-Back

These patterns can be done in the same fashion as their six-club variants. Things are just a little faster with seven. One interesting facet is that these patterns are syncopated with six clubs because the pass is higher and slower than the self. But the seventh club speeds things up and evens out the rhythm. Note that in front-to-back one person passes left handed and the other right handed. It's probably easier with the drop back done left handed (so why not try the other way too!).

Tricks in Seven-Club Patterns

All the usual sorts of trick throws can be done with seven club patterns. For instance, try throwing chops, flats, early passes (doubles or triples), under the leg, etc. In particular, if you're passing doubles, you can throw an early triple from the hand that isn't usually passing, or a late triple to the hand that isn't usually catching passes. But you can't throw early passes if you don't have any selves (e.g., in a 1-count).

In Conclusion ...

Many patterns extend naturally from six to seven clubs. Try your favorite six-club variations with one more club. Passing seven clubs has the advantage that since seven is odd you can have symmetric crossing variations without collisions.

If you have any comments or suggestions for Juggler's Workshop, you can reach the editors at: Juggler's Workshop, 3065 Louis Rd., Palo Alto, CA 94303; or call: Martin Frost at 415/856-1456

Juggler's Workshop / Index, Vol. 43, No. 1 / jis@juggling.org
© 1996 Juggling Information Service. All Rights Reserved.