How to Juggle

Two Methods:Getting the Hang of ItWith Three or More Balls

Juggling is a challenging but rewarding hobby; studies show that people who learn to juggle increase their brains' grey matter![1] While juggling may seem and be difficult to master at first, it becomes easier once you've learned the basics and practiced it. This article takes you into the basics of three-ball juggling, after which you can begin to introduce more balls.

Method 1
Getting the Hang of It

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    Choose suitable balls. Beanbags are good for beginners. Basically, find balls that will not bounce a lot, or roll away when they're dropped––this will save a fair bit of running initially! A set of beanbags can be bought for a very low price or made by hand. Tennis balls filled with sand or a few pennies and covered with a round balloon also work well. They don't bounce and they provide a slip-free grip.
    • While you're at it, choose a suitable place to work in. At the very beginning, balls will end up flying everywhere, so it's best not to stand near granny's precious oil lamp or dad's collection of ceramic cows.
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    Toss one ball for a while to get the feel of juggling. Start passing one ball from one hand to the other. Also practice "selfies" –– these are throws you catch with the throwing hand. The ball should come to eye-height or higher. Your hands should not move very much, so aim to keep your elbows at your hips.
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    Practice scooping. This is a technique to make juggling smooth. Simply scoop, or dip, your hand before tossing the ball. Keep the dip shallow though; it isn't going to work if you scoop too deeply. Practice scooping and tossing from one hand to another, so that arc does not rise above eye level.
    • Simply mimic the movements of jugglers. If you were to "air juggle," do you find yourself moving your hands in small circles? You're already scooping!
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    Take one ball in each hand. Toss ball A, and when it reaches the top of its arc, toss ball B. Practice until this simple exchange becomes comfortable.
    • At the top is key here. This will give you the most time for your next catch. When you start working with 3, 4, and 5, this becomes especially important.

Method 2
With Three or More Balls

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    Juggle three balls. Try to make three passes in a row. Start out slowly, simply seeing how the three work together in the air in one rotation. Juggling three is often a matter of understanding the balls' trajectories and how they intertwine. For the majority of the time, one will be in the air while each hand has the other two.
    • First hold two balls in right hand and one in left-hand. (Vice versa if you are left handed.)
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    • Begin with passing from the right hand. (Again, vice versa if you are left-handed.)
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    • Throw the ball to your left hand and when ball 1 is at the peak, throw ball 2 (the only one in your left hand) under ball 1 to your right hand.
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    • When ball 2 is at the highest point (at this point, you should also catch ball 1 in the left hand) throw ball 3 under ball 2.
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    • And when ball 2 is in the right hand just catch ball 3 and this should be it. That's all you do! Repeat away.
      • If you can't seem to get the hang of it, work with light, small scarves. They'll give you the time hanging in the air to understand how it all comes together.
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    Work on the over-the-top method. Now that you've got the simple three-ball cascade down, start juggling "over the top." This is the name for scooping in the opposite direction with one hand. Instead of scooping under and releasing the ball, you catch it, scoop to the outside and throw it over, hence the name.
    • You can start by juggling a normal "Three Ball Cascade," and then letting one of the balls do an over-the-top all the time, so that 1/3 of all throws are over-the-top throws. If you make one hand throw over-the-top throws every time, you are juggling a "Slow Shower," and if every throw is an over-the-top-throw, you are juggling a "Reverse Three Ball Cascade." When you have learned this, you can advance onto things like cross hand juggling, columns (one in the middle, two on the sides), and "Mills' Mess."
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    Move onto four and five balls. Learn to juggle two in one hand, then do two in your left hand and two in your right hand at the same time. For some, juggling four is simpler than three!
    • Juggling five balls is just like juggling three, but you have to move your hands a lot faster and you need to throw the balls higher. Keep practicing –– it takes time and patience to master.


  • Try it out slowly, then slowly try it faster!
  • Relax, breathe, and don't get frustrated. It may take days before you're able to juggle three a couple of times in a row!
  • Remember to juggle objects that all weigh the same amount. This will be much, much easier.
  • Start out slowly first practicing the steps for three ball juggle. Then try to do it non-stop. If you fail do not worry. Take a break and when you are ready, try again.
  • Try to not use heavy objects if you are standing above another floor. Using heavy objects may break through the ground, or break your toe.
  • Begin juggling with your better hand.
  • Juggle inside to prevent balls straying too far or having wind interference. But do it away from breakables!
  • It helps to think of juggling as being less about catching and more about learning to accurately throw a ball so it will land in the catching hand.
  • A bed or couch is useful for catching dropped balls.
  • Learn all juggling tricks with both hands. Try to find a pattern that works best for you. That way, you can juggle with ease.
  • Don't worry if you don't get it right away. Like any skill, it takes time and lots of practice to master.
  • While juggling, put on some music with a good beat to help you find a rhythm.
  • Before juggling, try it with two balls, and later try three balls so that you can get better until you an juggle many balls.
  • When learning a trick, try to get a feel for the shape of it (this is very personal to every juggler for each trick). When you find how a trick feels for you (when it feels "good"), make that aspect of the trick as big as you can; this will greatly improve the effect when performing.
  • Keep trying. You'll never learn a skill without practicing.
  • If you find yourself constantly dropping the juggling balls, stop for a moment and refocus. Take a deep breath and make sure you aren't thinking about lots of other things. Practicing somewhere quiet can help you concentrate.
  • Stand in front of a wall to stop balls from going too far forward.
  • Start out with handkerchiefs or scarves. But look out; this easy starter method can give you a sense of juggling being far easier than you think, so that when you start juggling balls, it is going to be harder than you thought.
  • Juggling is helped a great deal by visualization. For example, if you're having trouble throwing to the other hand accurately or with consistent height, just imagine a box from your elbow height to about a foot above your head. Or, if you can't stop running forward, try imagining you are barefoot and there are lots of drawing pins in front of you.


  • Juggling is hard and sometimes depressing, sweaty, annoying, repetitive or frustrating or all of these at once. But that is the same for any skill that is worth the time spent mastering it.
  • Do not attempt to juggle fire axes. Only professionals know how to do this.
  • Avoid juggling heavy objects.
  • Juggling is an exercise; try to "warm up" with stretching exercises before a juggling session.

Things You'll Need

  • Suitable juggling balls, which you should easily be able to hold two of in one hand
  • A bed or couch to practice over (so you don't have to keep bending over)
  • Silk handkerchiefs (if desired)

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