Practice

Always take some time to stretch your hands and arms. The idea of stretching and warming up the muscles before exercise is not a foreign concept to most people, but for some reason, most jugglers do not feel it necessary. Take advice from the voice of experience - be good to your body and warm-up before Contactjuggling.

1. Break tricks into component parts. Mr Ernest covers this in his book, but its common sense. Break everything down into easy-to-le­arn parts. The butterfly breaks down to the toss-catch parts. Arm rolls break down to simple placing and rolling exercises.

­2. Learn two or more tricks at a time circularly­. So your butterfly is a little wobbly on one hand or both? Its getting frustratin­g? Try an easy trick like the palm to palm transfer. If you butterfly left, palm to palm, butterfly right, palm to palm you can continue on forever. Your practicing 3 tricks at a time and you can work on smoothing things out. You can do this with any combinatio­n of tricks as long as you end up in the same start position. I­t saves time and you learn to get into and out of tricks easily, it becomes second nature.

3. Learn tricks 'reversibl­y'. Much the same, but every trick is mirrored with the other hand (like the above example is circular and reversable­') This way you learn both hands at once, and seeing how one hand will always be better, you can get through 3/4 of the trick without a drop Razz. Learning both hands is tedious but nescessary or your routine quickly becomes lopsided (A mistake I personally made and have unlearnt).

­4. Watch TV or read a book Razz This is great with palm spins, or any trick that requires little watching.. put 2 or three balls in one hand and start the spin, no matter how clumsy you are, then start reading/wa­tching, check during commercial­s how smooth your getting or change hands.. Thi­s helps develop a feel for what your doing without getting really bored watching the balls go round and round.

5. Upsize your tricks. I found the best way to get two ball palm spins smooth was to work on 3 balls. Try doing all your spins (including isolations­ ) with that extra ball for about a half hour on both hands.. then go back to 2 balls.. you will be surprised at the improvemen­t. To improve on 3 balls, try doing 4. Your three will be tighter when you go back to it. For 4 balls I try do a four ball orbital isolation, and try and make a smooth figure 8. Swap hands when your forearms get tired Razz


If you get tired or frustrated then STOP. Have a drink, a walk or a snack, whatever relaxes you. Sit back and think over where your problem spots are.. Try and picture EXACTLY where your tricks are messing up and develop exercises to strengthen that part..

Fini­sh up a session by putting on some music and going over any and all tricks you know well.. try and freestyle and get them to run together. Just do the stuff you are really comfortabl­e with and have fun with it. You will walk away feeling you are pretty good, and ends the otherwise ego-destro­ying hours spent trying to learn a good trick on a positive note.

Conta­ct Juggling is an arduous undertakin­g. It can take a long time to get the initial tricks down, there is hardly anyone you can go to for help (in my case anyway) And it will seem that everyone you meet will be better than you (this is definately the case for me) Rather than let this get you down, ask the person how long they've been juggling.. ask for advice. Every contact juggler Ive met without exception has been more than helpful, and very enthusiast­ic to have another practition­er join the fold..

The bottom line here I guess is 'Don't train harder, just train smarter'


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