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Inventing a New Juggling Trick

I must admit to thinking I have invented several new tricks (including several very impressive drops without a recovery to go with them) over the years, but then later finding out that the trick already has a name and everyone else can do it also! In these modern days, with the explosion in popularity of siteswap notations and software that you can use to generate ideas, it may be hard to come up with a technical juggling trick that hasn’t been attempted, but don’t give up, as there are several ideas which will help you come up with your own trick!

If you spend lots of time with an object and allow yourself to play rather than just follow written instructions and video clips, and if you are not afraid of making a drop, then you have the ability to create a new trick – then you should film it immediately and let all your juggler friends know, as this will allow you to find out if anyone else has already done it (and it also lets you show the world the date that you discovered the trick in case anyone claims it as theirs many years later)!
Here are some ideas for helping you to discover a new trick.


Difficulty level Start by picking a trick that has a difficulty level of Moderate-Expert. There are less people that can achieve this level of trick so you have a bigger chance of being an original inventor!
Go further Take this moderate-expert trick one step further. Add an extra flourish. Carry the prop (such as adding an orbit). Add a balance trick, Do something with your other hand (if you have a spare hand). Add a different prop into the mix.
Variations Consider the prop and all the different options you have with the next part of your routine. You can play about with the following:

  • pattern height,
  • the speed of the pattern (tempo),
  • what part of the prop you catch (could lead into a flourish for example),
  • what position you are in when you throw and catch the prop.
  • Could you do the trick while balanced on something (unicycle, rola-bola, walking ladder, stack of chairs etc)?
Use your imagination Watch a video clip of your favourite jugglers in action, and choose any trick that you like and that you could also achieve. Now close your eyes and visualise the trick and let your mind play with other possibilities. Imagine that you were that performer and had to come up with one further move at the end of the trick, then another move and another one. Could this series of moves be put together and given a suitable new trick name?
Environment / Technology  Sean Gandini (juggling inside a glass cube), Mark Nizer (only live 3D show in the world) and Jay Gilligan are experts at using the location they are surrounded by, or a really large specialised prop, or a revolution in new technology to create a whole new genre of tricks that no-one has seen before. Become inspired by watching some of their clips on YouTube. Try noticing everything about your surroundings, and have an open mind for any ideas that appear!
Combination Trick Pick 2 different objects would usually perform with, but have never seen anyone else use together in a performance. Now brainstorm a whole list of tricks that could be possible using both props at the same time. In recent years, I have been juggling toilet plungers and balls at the same time. I can catch the juggling balls inside the plunger, stick the plunger to my head and juggler over the handle and, play about with multiplex (throwing several balls at the same time) to land in the plunger cups. Which 2 objects could you have fun with? (see video clip below for some Toilet Plunger action!)



Here is a link to the Library of Juggling – which contains useful tips and animations to help you achieve some wonderful new but fairly obscure tricks. Once you have mastered any of these, you can go back through the advice above and adapt it until you have made it unique enough to call it your own! Feel free to name any of your new tricks after the writer of this article who inspired you! Suggestions could include “Steve’s Shuffle” or “Thomson’s Trap” – watch this space!


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