How to Juggle Three Balls

Three Methods:Getting ComfortableWith Three BallsJuggling Tricks

An ancient performance art, juggling dates back four thousand years, with the first recorded evidence of juggling depicted by Egyptian tomb hieroglyphics. Always a pleasure to watch, juggling often appears so easy. Yet, as a beginner, it's all falling balls and less juggling. Nevertheless, with a little direction, and a lot of practice you could be a great three ball juggler - just follow the steps outlined here to get started in the cascade method (and then move onto tricks!).

Method 1
Getting Comfortable

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    Find ideal balls. A good choice is to find balls that are not too light and not too big (or too small like marbles). If you are just starting to juggle, it is best to use small balls filled with sand. They should fit snugly in the palm of your hand.
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    Find a suitable place to stand. When learning to juggle, you will drop the balls and it's best that you're not anywhere near fragile objects and that you have plenty of space around you. Outdoors is ideal.
    • Stand comfortably with your feet about shoulder width apart. If you can, stand next to a surface (like a table or bed), so you don't have to constantly bend down.
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    Start with one ball. Throw one ball from one hand to the other hand at head height, in an arc. Get used to the feel and weight of the ball. Notice that the pattern is an arc, and not a circle as you may have thought.
    • A common mistake made by beginners is to throw the ball high into the air. It's important to ensure that the ball doesn't go any higher than head or eye height. Do not throw too low either, since that will force you to juggle fast, and fast isn't necessary for three balls.
    • As you get better at throwing the single ball, start trying to move your arms in a gentle circular movement, scooping inward. This is much closer to the final movement that you will use when juggling all three balls. You are not trying to throw in a circle though, just moving your hands this way.
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    Move on to two balls. Put a ball in each hand. Throw the first ball to your left hand at head height.
    • Before ball 1 reaches the left hand, release ball 2 towards your right hand and catch. Keep your hand movements open (meaning, don't close your hands over the ball after catching).
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    Throw the second ball is when the first reaches its maximum height. The only difference between this movement and juggling three balls is doing it once more -- so you're almost there.
    • Keep practicing this movement. Once you get this right, the remaining steps will be much easier. Review wikiHow's article on juggling two balls for added help.

Method 2
With Three Balls

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    Move on to three balls. Place two balls in your right hand and the other ball in your left. If you are left-handed, reverse the instructions to fit. Only proceed with this step when you feel confident with juggling two balls.
    • Remember how you threw the second one when the first one was high up in the air? Now you're just throwing the third when the second one is high up in the air. Same thing. Ready? Set....
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    Start with the right hand and throw ball 1 (blue) towards your left hand. Remember that the ball in the air should be at head height.
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    Release ball 2 (red) toward your right hand when ball 1 (blue) is about to land in your left. At maximum height, you'll have about a second. That's plenty of time!
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    When ball 2 (red) is about to arrive in your right hand, release ball 3 (green) on its arc back to your left hand. Catch both balls. This is where it gets difficult -- catching and throwing -- so keep trying!
    • It is often helpful to roll the ball in your right hand to the front of your hand with a slight downward motion of the hand before you throw it. The outgoing ball travels just to the inside of the arc of incoming ball. You are exchanging the one in your hand for the one in the air.
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    Repeat the three ball juggling steps as necessary. Keep practicing until you get used to the movement, then stop catching and holding the balls at the end. Don't worry about walking forward; this is normal for beginners. With practice, you will be able to perform the 3 ball juggle with your feet planted firmly in the same spot.
    • Continue juggling as long as you can. Increase the speed with practice. Try to make the balls look as though they are in continual motion.
    • Keep practicing! Juggling only improves with practice and the more you try, the less and less you will drop the balls, and the faster you will become.

Method 3
Juggling Tricks

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    Learn to juggle over the top. For the normal cascade, you've been moving your right hand in a clockwise motion and your left in a counter-clockwise motion; in other words, you've been scooping them toward the inside. To do an over the top throw, you simply reverse the motion. When a ball lands in your hand, instead of scooping it in, reverse and throw it out and over.
    • Start by doing this with just one ball. Then, when you get good at one specific ball being thrown over the top, do it with them all. Some will refer to this as "outside throws."
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    Experiment with different hand positions. Now that you've got the cascade and over the top methods down, start catching your balls different ways. If done right, it can almost look like magic.
    • Use the claw catch. This is when you catch them higher from above, working overhand instead of underhand. Be sure to flick your wrist up when throwing to give the ball its vertical trajectory, working at shoulder height. Start with one ball, catching and throwing with the same hand.
      • Imagine a cat juggling. You'll look half Tom Cruise in that wicked scene from Minority Report and half juggling cat.
    • Try catching the balls on the back of your hand. This can be done mid-trick or at the end. Once you do that, can you catch a ball on your head?!
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    Try the "shower" trick. When you started with two balls, you know how you threw one horizontally? Same concept with three. You have one hand doing all the catching and one hand doing all the throwing.
    • With this trick, you need to employ more height. You'll have two balls in the air following each other, so more height is necessary to give them adequate time on their own paths.
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    Do the "box" throw. With this one, one ball is always being thrown between your two hands horizontally. The second ball always stays in your right and the third ball is always staying in your left. This three-sided throw gives it the "box" look.
    • Start with two balls in your right. Throw a ball from your left up in the air -- as soon as you do this, throw the second ball from your right to your left. And as soon as your left catches it, throw up the second in your right and the ball in your left, catching the horizontal ball when your right is free.


  • The true secret to successful juggling is knowing when to stop - as soon as you feel the balls beginning to get away from you, catch them all with a flourish and a grin!
  • Concentrate on making your throws an even height at head or eye level.
  • Be patient and practice a lot. If you think this is hard, spare a thought for Enrico Rastelli, who could juggle 10 balls at a time![1] (He did practice up to 12 hours a day!)
  • If you find yourself moving forward with the ball, stand in front of a wall or a bed to keep you from moving. Standing in front of a bed also makes it easier to recover the balls when you drop them.
  • Use counting to help:
    • Practice throwing the ball in an arc, from your left hand to your right. Catch with your left hand and then catch in your right hand. Stop. Throw ball one, pause a split second, then throw ball two, then stop. One, two, catch, catch, stop. One, two, stop. One, two, stop.
    • Repeat this same exercise, but now start with your left hand instead of your right. Practice until you can do this smoothly. When this comes easily, add the third ball. You will find that its toss replaces the word "Stop" in the above count. One, two, three, One, two, three, etc.


  • Make sure you throw in an arc. The ball should travel in a plane in front of your body.
  • Don't throw both balls at the same time. It should be toss and then toss; a slight pause between throws.
  • At first, this may seem difficult. Don't get frustrated; the average person can juggle for only 30 seconds.

Things You'll Need

  • Three balls or bean bags suitable for juggling.
  • Adequate space for learning

Sources and Citations

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