3 Ball Juggling Tricks Page
Can you juggle 3 balls already? If so, click to skip further down the page to the 3 Ball Tricks Section! If not, then read on…
The 3 Ball Cascade is the first pattern/trick that beginners should learn. It took me 3 days to learn to juggle the cascade properly. Some people can learn it faster, and some people take longer, but just keep persevering and if you run into any problems, then you may find the answers on this page further down, so keep at it!
STARTING POSITION: Are you sitting comfortably? Well you shouldn’t be! You need to be standing up, with your feet approximately shoulder length apart. Your arms should be bent at the elbow at a 90 degree angle from your body (and slightly out from the body). The video clip above will demonstrate this stance as well as help you to visualise the instructions for how to juggle (below). Enjoy!
|The animation on the left is the 3 ball cascade – watch the pattern for a short while, and then try picking one ball to watch and follow it through the pattern. You will see that all 3 balls follow the same pattern.|
|This picture is the image I learned the 3 ball cascade from during Christmas 1993. It is a very good illustration.|
Step 1 – Practice throwing one ball from side to side in an arc that is just above head height, until it is fairly consistent. Throws should not be out from your body, but upwards.
Step 2 – Hold one ball in each hand. Toss one as before. As it reaches its peak, toss the other ball inside the first one, to the same height. (most people at this point, are known to panic after the first ball is thrown and pass the ball from their weak hand, but this is a habit you MUST break!)
Step 3 – Two balls should be held in your strong hand, and one ball in your weakest. You start by throwing from the stronger hand. When the first ball peaks, toss from the opposite hand. When this ball peaks, throw from your first hand, and keep going…
Remember that dropping is a sign of progress…
You can repeat the following approach to learning to juggle with 3 of any item (eg clubs, scarfs, rings). You will find more specific instructions for these items on their appropriate pages on this site.
Here are a few problems you might run into as you attempt to successfully learn the 3 ball cascade and how to solve them.
|Still Struggling||Try practicing with just one or two balls for a while until you feel comfortable, then step back up to trying 3 balls.|
|I keep walking forwards||Try standing so that you are facing a wall. You will not be able to run or walk forward any more, and if a ball bounces off the wall, you might get a lucky extra catch!|
|I can’t seem to let go of the third ball!||Practice throwing all 3 balls up in the air and let them hit the ground. Don’t worry about catching them! You need to just be able to get used to rolling the third ball to nearer the tips of your fingers once the first ball has been thrown, so that the third ball is now in the ideal position ready to be thrown!|
|I am stuck on “x” amount of throws||Try switching the hand that you start with. This means you are either likely to drop one catch earlier or one catch later than before! You can then keep alternating which hand you start with and increase your repetitions!|
|Still not getting anywhere fast?||Try scarf juggling. I personally find it quicker to teach adults how to scarf juggle then ball juggle compared to just teaching ball juggling. This is because scarfs spend a lot more time in the air, so your brain has time to work out what the next move should be!|
Good Luck. Please let me know if you have learned the 3 ball cascade trick from this page!
More Patterns and Tricks
This trick is the main pattern that joins up all the other tricks you learn, so it is worth practicing the pattern high and low, wide and narrow, while walking and while standing completely still so that you have truly conquered it!
|ReverseCascade||The opposite of the Cascade. In the cascade, the balls are always thrown underneath each other. In a reverse cascade, every ball is thrown over the top of the previous ball thrown. Imagine an open bucket at eye level in the centre of your body. All the balls must be thrown into this bucket and caught by the opposite hand. It may be useful to build up to this trick by following the 3 step approach you used when learning the cascade.|
|Reverse Arms||The cascade pattern, but with your arms reversed (your left arm is over at your right hand side and vice versa). This trick is very impressive once achieved (if done smoothly). Instead of a cascade throw, you throw the ball under the opposite arm, to be caught by that hand.|
|Two Balls in One Hand||There are several patterns you can attempt, and they each require a fair amount of practice, but the good news is that later on, by juggling 2 balls in each hand, you will be able to do 4 ball juggling, so persevere!
1) Columns: Throw one ball up, move your hand across and throw the next ball up, then return your hand to catch and throw the first ball and then catch and throw the second ball. Each ball is going up and down in it’s own straight line, just like an elevator/lift!
|Windmill||The pattern looks like a Windmill (hence the name!) Every throw from one hand is thrown over the top of the other two (inside throw). Every throw from the other hand is thrown under the arm. It is vital to practice this trick in both directions! The effect achieved is a smooth circling pattern.|
|Juggler’s Tennis (aka Sunrise and Sunset)||This is a trick that can be built up gradually. Every ball thrown from one hand goes over the top of the other two, which are just swapped from hand to hand (in the normal cascade pattern). Once this is mastered, you can then try just throwing the same ball over the other two back and forth (like a tennis match with the other two balls as the net!|
|Eating the Apple||Juggle a normal cascade, using two balls and one apple (or any other food item you wish to eat bananas can be fun if you have peeled the skin off first!) Every time the apple comes to your strong hand, bring your hand to the mouth and kiss the apple. The reason you are practicing just kissing the apple first of all is so that you don’t end up forcing the apple into your mouth and knocking your teeth out!Return your hand to its usual position quickly and continue your cascade. To have enough time to eat some of the apple, you will have to temporarily do the TWO BALLS IN ONE HAND trick using your weaker hand until the apple is ready to be thrown again.|
|Off the Wall||Stand facing a wall, and instead of doing a cascade pattern to yourself, bounce the cascade pattern off the wall! Experiment with soft and hard throws, as well as high and low throws.|
|Clawing||Juggling by throwing and catching with the palm of your hands facing down. This takes a bit of getting used to, so build up to it by starting with one ball (and work through the 3 ball cascade tutorial again)! Once you have this smoothly, you can then make the trick seem more out of control, by taking mad swipes at the balls, and making your throwing more erratic!|
|It took me ages to master this trick (although some people insist that it is one of the easiest tricks to learn!) One hand throws high to the other hand, which passes the ball back to the first hand. To summarise, one hand does all the throws, and the other hand makes all the catches. The balls travel in one direction (a kind of triangle). To begin with, just use two balls. Have them both in your dominant hand, and throw them high and quickly (one after the other). As soon as one ball lands in your sub-dominant hand, pass it horizontally to your dominant hand. When you feel ready to try three, remember that this will take a lot of practice to look smooth. Remember to throw high and accurately, as you have no time to chase far-flung balls! It is vital to master the shower in both directions as this will help you with a whole other genre of tricks called the Box!|
|Face||Just like the Eating the Apple Trick, bring a ball to your mouth but this time hold with your teeth. Bring the other two balls up and hold them over your eyes. Look around the room and hear the laughter!
Starts, Pauses and Stops
Now that you have mastered the Cascade and some simple tricks, the next thing to work on is putting together a little routine. This section show you some techniques for starting, pausing and finishing your routine. Starting a routine can be done with just the 3 ball cascade, or one of the tricks mentioned below which are a bit more flashy! Pausing a routine gives the audience a chance to applaud your efforts, and finishing cleanly, will show the audience that your routine is finished and that they should applaud loudly and offer you their hard-earned cash!
Most people just start by going straight into a cascade, and progressing from there, but there are some fairly easy starter tricks you can learn:
|2 ball split||Start with 2 balls in one hand, beside each other (as opposed to in line with each other) When you throw the balls up, they should split (one ball should go up and straight down again, and the other ball should go across towards the other hand, ready for you to being the cascade or another trick!|
|3 ball flash||Throw all three balls up in the air really quick, then grab two of the balls (the 2 nearest the ground) and begin juggling! The third ball acts like the first throw of the cascade.|
|3 ball pickup||This one is useful (especially in snooker/pool halls when you want to impress someone)! You need to place 3 balls in a line in front of you, and quickly throw all 3 in the air and begin juggling the cascade!
Best to practice this trick with normal balls on a soft carpet to begin with! Start by throwing each ball really high (to make sure you have time to catch and throw them again) and pretty soon you will only need to throw the balls up a little to begin.
|Under Chin||Juggle your 3 ball cascade, then throw one ball slightly higher than the rest. This will give you time to quickly put a ball under your chin, and catch the thrown ball. Look at the audience, and wait for applause! For extra applause, you should be able to throw a ball back up again and then grab the ball under the chin and continue the cascade!|
|Neck catch||Throw a ball straight up in the air (not too high), then duck your head forward, and stretch out your arms and lift them up slightly (this helps form a gap on the back of your neck for the ball to land in). This takes a lot of practice. To get out of a neck catch, you have to lower your head, and then flick your head back up, to force the ball back up into the air.|
To finish a routine, you should try to end with your best trick, and catch the balls cleanly, so you are ready to take a bow or you can try the following idea:
|Flash||Just like starting a routine, a flash can be used to finish one! Simply throw all 3 balls high, and catch them! If you are quick (and the floor allows it), you can do a quick spin, or grab a hat for them to fall into (the possibilities are endless).|
Columns/Yo-Yo’s and several variations
|Columns||Practice being able to juggle two balls in one hand in a scale pattern (balls are thrown straight up and down, and do not cross over or under the other balls). Now with the extra ball in your other hand, throw it up at the same time and to the same height as one of the other balls.|
|Columns Cheat||Similar to columns trick above, except the extra ball stays in your other hand, and you move your hand (and the ball) up and down. Kids love this trick! Once you have mastered this, you could try weaving the ball (while in your hand) through the 2 ball pattern.|
|High Arc||Similar to yo-yo, except that when 1 ball comes down, the other two get thrown over the top of each other (in an arc shape!) Obviously, if you throw with the same amount of force with each hand, the balls will collide (which is also a good trick, if you can control it), so you will need to throw one ball slightly higher than the other one to prevent this.|
|Yo-Yo||Do the columns trick, and with the ball in your other hand, place it above the middle ball and make it rise up and down keeping it approx 10cm above the other ball so that it looks like they are joined!
|Oy-Oy (Australian Yo-yo)||This is the opposite of the yo-yo, as you need to keep the extra ball approximately 10cm below the other ball! This trick can be very funny if you name this trick after demonstrating the Yo-yo first of all!|
Once you have mastered all of the above, you are now ready to introduce other parts of your body to your routines! The possibilities are endless, but here is one routine you could work your way up to:
Bounce off left foot,
then left knee,
then back of left hand,
then left wrist,
then left elbow,
then head the ball back into the pattern, and work your way down the right hand side (elbow, wrist, back of hand, knee, foot).
Once you have mastered 3 ball juggling and the above tricks, you have several choices to make! You can either move on to juggling rings or clubs, or try learning to numbers juggle (juggle 4 balls or 5 balls). For more 3 ball juggling tricks, you can do a Google search, or contact me and I will be happy to point you in the right direction! There are over 30 tricks pages on this website, so please consider having fun and learning more tricks with other props also!