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Lesson: 2 in 1 Hand

This is probably the simplest juggling pattern I’ll explain here.  Start with two balls in your right hand.  Throw the first ball so it goes almost stright up, but a little to the right.  When that ball peaks, throw the second so it follows the same path. By the time the second ball peaks, the first should be back down and in your hand, ready to throw again.

Lesson: Backcrosses

Backcrosses are much easier than they appear, and they are good way to practice for other tricks that require more time than the average throw to perform.  Once you get better with backcrosses, they actually become recovery moves.  Sometimes, when I start to lose control of a more difficult pattern, I will throw a ball extra high so i have time to recover, and in the meantime I’ll throw a backcross in just to make it look like a trick.

Simply put, a backcross it just a throw behind your back, to your opposite hand.   In preparation for this trick, it’s probably a good idea to practice the behind-the-back throw a bit.  You need to be able to do it quickly, without losing control, and get your hand back to its normal position as soon as possible.

You will start in a cascade, and the throw before your backcross, you will make extra high.  For example, if you wanted to do a backcross with your right hand, then you would throw the ball preceeding it (from your left hand) higher than normal.  This will give you more time to execute the backcross throw, which is especially important when you are learning.  Other after the backcross throw, your right hand will return and catch the extra high throw, and your left hand will catch the backcross throw.  At this point, you should be left juggling normally.

Lesson: The Windmill

The Windmill is a neat pattern for two reasons, its fast, and it’s required for Mills Mess.  It can be tricky however, because it requires crossed arms. The  easiest way to think about the Windmill is a repetition of throwing underneath your arm, and throwing above it; and the throws should all look exactly the same.

Start with 2 balls in your right hand, and one in your left.  Take your right arm, reachunderneath your left, and make a throw back towards the right side.  Follow that throw with a throw from your left arm, which should still be above your right, again throwing towards the right.  Finish the pattern by making the first underneath throw again, and repeat as necessary.

Lesson: Rubenstein’s Revenge

Rubenstein’s Revenge is often thought as one of the most (if not the most) difficult three ball pattern.  While it is certainly not easy, it is much more maneagable if you break it down into its component parts.

Rubenstein’s Revenge is really a combination of two movements.  The first such movement is a recrossing of the arms, followed by two throws.  When done correctly, this motion leaves you in a position to repeat it in the other direction.  If you want to learn Rubenstein’s Revenge, you must be able to do this motion without thinking.  You’ll have to add in an extra throw soon, and if you can’t do this motion alone, thne you’ll never get it right.

The second half of rubensteins revenge is a simple sweeping throw.  The tough part is finding spare time within the first motion in order to make this throw.  While learning, make your sweeping throws extra high, to give yourself more time to execute the first motion. You should start from a Mills mess pattern as you practice Rubenstein’s Revenge as it is the easiest pattern to transition from.

A misconception about Rubenstein’s Revenge is that you must start it from the Mills Mess pattern, when this is not really true.  If you are good enough at transitions, you should be able to get to Rubensteins Revenge from other paterns such as columns, burke’s barrage, or the windmill.

Lesson: Columns

Columns is an easy pattern that’s great for putting some variation into your routine, and it also has some applications in timing and comedic juggling.  The most basic variation of columns is as follows.  Start by juggling two balls in your right hand, but make your throws all go straight up, creating two ‘columns’ of balls being thrown.

Now, with the ball in your left hand, make the same straight throw, but time it with the ball furthest to the right in the right hand.  This creates an effect where the outside columns are synchronized, and the middle ball is always in an opposite position.

The real fun of columns comes in the variations.  The two rightmost balls could be synchronized, leaving the left alon, or all balls can be thrown in sequence for an equalizer effect (personal favorite).

Lesson: 3 Ball Cascade

The cascade is the most basic and recognizable jugglig pattern, and is the first one that new jugglers should learn. Whenever I teach people to juggle for the first time, I start them off with one ball. Start with a single ball in your right hand, and throw that ball back and forth between your hands, at eye level. Focus on making your throws consistent, each at eye level, and each accurate enough that your catching hand doesn’t have to move. Your throws should trace the same line as the previous throw.

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