Welcome to "Juggles - Juggling Patterns for Three Balls".
I learned to juggle when I was around twenty-five, I suppose.
Practising with very heavy rubber dog balls I got from the pet shop,
it probably took around a week or so before I could manage the cascade.
Pleased with my new skill, I eagerly wanted to learn more.
The following page in the book I was learning from offered "two-in-one
hand" as the next lesson. After a few frustrating days, I concluded
that patterns more involved than the cascade were beyond me, reserved
only for those with a circus background or blessed with great natural
ability. It never occured to me that practice was maybe another point
Several years passed, and I'd occasionally juggle a cascade once in a
while, usually when fruit was on display somewhere (a beginning juggler
can never leave a bowl of fruit unmolested it seems).
Then, one sunny afternoon in December at the age of thrity-three, I was
looking around on the internet. By chance, I saw someone doing tricks
with a devil stick. I'd no idea such a stick existed, or that a person
could make it defy gravity in such wonderful ways. Quickly placing an
order for one of these magical sticks, I was determined to learn this
incredible form of juggling and impress all mankind with skillful
manipulation and fantastic feats of dexterity.
The stick arrived and my enthousiasm quickly faded. I again concluded
that such a fanciful passtime was reserved for third-generation circus
folk or beings of immense talent and speed. And once again, the idea
of a bit more practice seemed utterly pointless.
But it was during my search for devil stick tricks that I stumbled upon
something more wonderful, more awe-inspiring than I had ever seen. It was
a juggling site for balls, with a few short instructional videos of someone
juggling. Juggling in ways I had never dreamed possible.
The patterns that I most remember were two juggles called
"Mill's Mess" and "The Box". That mere mortals were able to perform
such tricks, and that they were offering to teach them to
the world, was to me quite amazing. I had to learn how to do these
tricks, I had to learn how to juggle.
I quickly realized that heavy, bouncy (yet hard, very hard) dog balls
weren't the ideal beginner's prop, so I filled some tennis balls
with rice and got to work.
Needless to say, both "The Box" and "Mill's Mess" were quite beyond me.
I couldn't even understand what was going on, let alone juggle them.
Slowly, I began to change my views on the value of practice. Perhaps,
just perhaps, if I kept trying, and didn't give up this time, I just
might be able to learn something. Even something simple. Even
After a few weeks, things started getting smoother. "Two-in-one hand"
was something I could now actually just do, it was "easy", more or less,
something I could not have imagined in the beginning. Instead of getting
frustrated by "Mill's Mess" and "The Box", I decided it might be best to
learn some of the easier patterns, and work my way up to the harder stuff.
The Reverse Cascade, Tennis and the Windmill were all quickly learned,
and, after around three months, I had achieved my goal. I could do both
"Mill's Mess" and "The Box". Not perfectly, not terribly smoothly, but I
understood them and could juggle them. I could practice
them and improve!
I juggled a lot back then, a lot. I juggled nearly every spare moment,
for six months straight. Eager to learn more, I enrolled in an evening
class for adults at the local circus school. It sounded wonderful, I
was ready to improve my juggling and possibly reach higher numbers.
I arrived home after the first lesson, and was very dissapointed.
I was told by the instuctors, in very plain language, that I
couldn't juggle. My cascade was no good, my control was poor,
my patterns were far too low, far too fast. "Can't you juggle
any slower?!" they said. And I thought I was doing pretty well.
That was kind of a bummer, I pretty much didn't pick up a ball
for a year or two after that. But one day, I decided "Well, what
the hell. Maybe I do suck at this, but I like doing it. So what if
I'm not the world's best juggler. So what if I'm the world's worst
juggler, and always will be. I like to juggle. It's fun. I like
to throw those balls around, I like to practice these patterns.
Let them think what they want, let me just do a little juggling.
The way I want to, the way I do it."
That's pretty much the story of my juggling background. All in all,
I've probably been juggling for about a year (six months in the
beginning, and six more months spread out in the years thereafter).
The devil stick isn't being used much anymore, but it's fun to
get it out again, once in a while.
I may be the world's worst juggler, but that means I can only
improve. I'm better than I was when I couldn't juggle,
and have gotten better over the months. I only plan to keep
at it, in the hope that practice and the love of juggling
will keep me happily improving over the years.
Comments, suggestion, questions or scathing criticisms?
Mail 'em to me: