Juggling Three Objects

Believe it or not three objects are easier to juggle then two, so to become a successful juggler you should start with three objects and work up. Three objects also look more impressive than two and since the reason you want to learn to juggle is to impress your friends that's all the better. Anybody can juggle, the only thing it requires is a bit of time, a small amount of coordination and one dead cow.

Step 1: Locate some objects

Professional jugglers usually pick two sorts of objects, dangerous things (like knives, chain saws, broken spirit bottles) or silly things (hats, rubber chickens, live halibut). There is a remarkable lack of professional jugglers who's first juggling objects were chain saws (at least there's a remarkable lack of two legged professional jugglers who's first juggling objects were chain saws).

So, find something soft and small like beanbags. Some people start with silk scarves or tennis balls. Scarf juggling is quite different from ball juggling though and tennis balls tend to bounce around and roll under the furniture when you drop them.

Step 2: Learn failure

Take two objects in one hand, and one in the other. Throw them all up in the air. Watch them all fall to the ground. This is gravity. It's a bitch.

The objects should have fallen in front of you. If they're all around the room or worse still in another room then you're either in space or you have no coordination. A recent $12,000,000 study by NASA has shown that juggling in space isn't very entertaining, so wait until you return to Earth.

You should get used to seeing the objects on the floor in front of you since this is the sight you'll be seeing fairly regularly for a while. Don't think of them as being objects on the ground, think of them as objects that were in the air.

Step 3: Learn to throw

Take one object and place it in one of your hands. Throw it in an arc across your chest and (attempt) to catch it with your other hand. The maximum height the ball should reach (or peak out) is about eye-level. Now throw the ball back to the first hand in the same way.

Don't worry if you keep dropping the ball, the secret of juggling is throwing, not catching. If you can throw the ball so that it comes down in the correct place, catching it is much easier. Keep practicing this with both hands until you think you've got it (or until you get bored with it).

Step 4: Learn to throw and catch

Take two objects, place one in each hand (note for people with more than two hands, just put any extra hands in your pockets). Throw one of the objects as in Step 3. Now comes the tricky bit, when the first object peaks out throw the second object. Now catch the first object, then the second. The pattern should go throw, throw, catch, catch. You will end up with the objects in the opposite hands to when you started.

This sequence is fundamental to juggling any odd number of objects, practice it lots. When you can do this continuously for at least ten throws and catches shout "YIPEE!", you're well on your way to becoming a juggler. At this stage you can go and show a friend what you've learned, but make sure it's a friend who's easily impressed and knows nothing about juggling or else they're liable to say "That's not juggling" (note for lonely people, if you don't have a friend, don't worry, your new juggling skills will bring people flocking to you door shouting "Show us something cool O great juggler").

Step 5: Juggle!

Start with two objects in one hand and one object in the other. Throw one of the objects from the hand with two in the air. Now do exactly the same as you did in Step 4, as a ball peaks out throw from the hand it's heading for. If you can keep doing this you are juggling.

When you can do ten throws and ten catches, go out in the street and shout "YIPEE!". If there's no one around wait until someone comes and then shout "YIPEE!". When someone asks you "Why are you shouting YIPEE!?" show them what you have learned.

So, it went wrong and everyone's laughing at you. It's not time to consider a career as a Mime yet, check out the problems page.

You are now a Juggler!

"How to Juggle" created by Mike Welch © 1995,1996