Windshieldwiper

The first ball-rolling move most people learn is the windshieldwiper. This is a common basic move of a lot of complex combinations, and is also a good filler on its own between moves. It is named after the motion the arm makes, which is similar to the motion of a car’s windshield wiper. The similarity is more obvious when you do it with both arms simultaneously.

Start with your ball in the right cradle. It doesn't matter which form of cradle you use.

Toss the ball gently upwards, and catch the ball in the same position. Before you move onto the next stage, it is essential that you can do this. You may find that the ball bounces off your hand. In that case, when you are catching the ball, drop your hand at the same speed as the ball and slow it so the ball comes to a gentle rest. It may help to examine closely how you would normally catch a ball in the palm of the hand, and apply that to the cradle.

Next, practice the same with the palm. Your forearm should be pointing directly out from you, perpendicular to your chest. This should be easier than the cradle-toss, so won't need as much work. It is important that you do not allow your fingers to curl around the ball as you catch the ball, so a bit more care than usual is needed when cushioning the ball.

After you are comfortable with the first two practice tosses, you can go on to the next stage.

Practice tossing from the first position (cradle, forearm parallel to the chest) to the second position (palm, forearm perpendicular to the chest). When you are comfortable with that, try practicing the same, but toss the ball back from the palm to cradle as well.

Now start to smooth out this movement. Learn to toss from cradle to palm and back again, while keeping the elbow in the same place. A good way to practice this is to hold the elbow with the left hand while tossing with the right (as seen in the images below).

The final stage is to lower the height of the toss until the ball is in constant contact with your hand as it moves between palm and cradle. Be very careful here – if you are throwing from palm to cradle and your fingers are curled, the ball will get caught in the curl and be thrown at whatever is next to you! Practice somewhere out of sight of cats, TVs, valuable china, etc.

The catches can be smoothed somewhat by moving the hand in the direction of the throw slightly as you catch the ball – i.e.; as you catch a ball tossed from palm to cradle, say, move your hand slightly further to the left to give the ball more space to slow down (before falling off the end of your fingers onto your toes).

When you have this smoothly, your arm will be moving in a smooth windshieldwiper-like motion, hence the name of the move.

Congratulations, you may now celebrate learning your first contact juggling move!