Advice on Juggling 5 Balls

By Tim Kirchner

Before even thinking about learning to juggle five balls, you should be cognizant of the fact that it will takes several months to learn. If you're willing to accept this, then you should read on.

You may have heard or otherwise realize that juggling five is not fundamentally different from juggling three. While this is for the most part true, it is also important to realize that five ball juggling adds another important skill- accuracy. With three balls, it is only necessary to keep one ball in the air, and careful attention may be given to that one ball. In five ball juggling, there are always three balls in the air, and therefore all throws must be very nearly identical. After a bad throw, either two balls will collide mid-air, or two balls will come down to the same hand at the same time. In either case, all five balls are likely to end up on the floor. If you're not scared off by this unfortunate reality, then you may well be dedicated enough to learn to juggle five.

I have heard of many different skills that one should learn before attempting to juggle five from flashing four to showering three. The truth is, this is really not the case.
First of all, showering three has little in common with cascading five. If you feel compelled to learn a three ball shower before a five ball cascade, feel free to do so, but I see no reason for it as a necessity.
The same applies to learning to flash three in a 55500 pattern. This may help to build the necessary speed, but will probably just result in unnecessary fatigue. When I first started learning to juggle five, I also thought this would help; I now realize that I was completely wrong. It did nothing. My advice: if you really feel a need to flash three, spend about an hour or two doing just that, and get it out of you system the first day; you'll probably never again find a need to do that.
The reality of the situation is that will never learn to juggle five except by actually trying to cascade five.

The first time you try to juggle five (or drop five, rather :-), it may seem very difficult and awkward to even hold three in one hand, let alone throw them all in the air without any balls colliding. This is not an uncommon problem; practice just throwing the five balls at first; don't even worry about catching them- besides, your attempts are likely to at first be unsuccessful anyhow.

When you feel comfortable tossing up all five balls without them colliding and can do so at a reasonably fast pace, you may want to attempt catching them. When you are finally able to catch the first ball, it will feel like a giant step- it is.Once you have mastered that, you can learn to catch two, three, four, and eventually all five.

After mastering a five ball flash (catching all five initial throws), the funreally starts. When you are feeling confident, you can try to throw up the sixth ball (the first ball that you caught). Naturally after that, you can try to throw the seventh, eighth, ninth, and so on.

Well, that sounds simple, doesn't it. Don't let that fool you, though. It's along, complicated process that takes a long time to learn. Don't be surprised if it takes you several hours of practice to improve by only one catch. This is normal.

Tips, Tricks, and Hints

Before you begin a practice session:

If you're indoors, make sure you're not wearing a long sleeve shirt. First of all, it will only hinder your ability to move your arms freely. Secondly, you'll probably get hot and sweaty after about twenty minutes of practice.
Turn on a television, radio, or something similar. The background noise helps to take away from any potential boredom which may result.

During your practice session:

Never be afraid to take a break, even if it seems as though you're on a roll. Two fifteen minute practice sessions is generally more helpful than one thirty minute session.
It is probably adviseable to take a few seconds of break between every few runs, especially if they are long. ("Long" would be defined as ~20 throws, at least at first.) This will help to prevent unneccessary fatigue.

Other Advice:

Don't get discouraged. If you're having trouble, just stop and work on clubs, rings, or something else, or just stop. You can always come back to it another day.
Don't be concerned with learning something in a certain period of time. Everybody learns at their own rate, and you shouldn't do a half-ass job of learning things just because your neighbor did it in two months and it's taking you three.
Don't worry about records, either. If you break one of your records (not to destroy your happiness), congratulations. But, unless you can repeat the event often, it's probably just because you got lucky (or reached a temporary period of five ball "nirvana").
Never practice juggling four when you are really working on five. The four ball pattern will only mess up your five ball rhythm.
What you may want to do is try to juggle seven (or flash them, maybe). You haven't a prayer in hell of doing this well (if you do, then you shouldn't need to be working on five balls!), but it will make juggling five seem very S--L--O--W, and also easier. If you are practicing in a gym (with a high ceiling), then you will be able to do this with a certain ease. In your house, you will probably only end up disturbing the person upstairs who is taking a nap.

Most Important:

Never give up!!!
Stick with it!!!
Good Luck!!!