One-Handed Tricks

Robert Lendvai

Lately, I have been trying to juggle 3 balls in one hand will little success. Anyone has any tips on what I should be doing? Also, when juggling two, I've always juggled in circles, but lately I've tried throwing one up vertically and then an other one next to each other vertically.


The paths of the ball never cross. I think it's kinda neat, if this is something the whole world has been doing already besides me then I feel sheepish. Can anyone do this with 3?

Allen Knutson

Timing is probably the trickiest part of this; start by doing it over a table, throwing all three, and slapping the table (rather than trying to catch them). You shouldn't be able to slap the table before the first one lands, and you can listen to be sure the three of them land Bump Bump Bump rather than Bump BuBump or whatever.

Also, try doing it off a wall; throw them so you nearly scrape your knuckles, they bounce off the wall just a little above your hand, and reach a peak in the air much above where you let them go. This has the great benefit that you don't have to move your hand side to side to avoid the collisions. Yes, yes, I know this may train bad habits, but initially, it's the speed and rhythm that must be learned.

The paths of the ball never cross. I think it's kinda neat, if this is something the whole world has been doing already besides me then I feel sheepish. Can anyone do this with 3?

Baaaaa. There are many variations of this with both hands. (And yes.)

Jim Lloyd

It is possible to juggle 3 in one hand in a shower pattern ("circles"), in a cascade pattern (both normal and reverse), in columns (what you describe) and in many other weird variations.

I learned 3 in one hand in a cascade pattern first. The cascade is perhaps a bit harder than a "shower" pattern, but has the virtue that you can work up to it in little steps:

Step 1: be sure you can flash three balls relatively smoothly. You should be able to make the three throws, clap your hands, and continue juggling.

Step 2: assuming you start your flash with your right hand, the first ball of the flash is normally caught with your left hand. Since both hands are empty, catch it with your right hand instead, but throw it with the same trajectory that your left hand would have thrown it. Now recover back into a standard three-ball cascade. I think of this as a four-throw flash with three balls. The fourth throw will seem strange because your right hand isn't used to making this kind of throw, so it will be awkward at first, but keep practicing, and you'll get it.

Step 3: Continue the trick in step 2 with one more catch and throw from your right hand: a five-throw flash. The fifth throw is a normal right hand throw, so the only problem is making sure that each of the previous throws were high (and accurate) enough to give you time to make the catch and throw.

Once you can repeatedly do Step 3, it's simply a matter of "going for it" to run a 3 in one hand cascade.

Since you're just starting, I strongly encourage you to learn each step with both hands, so that ultimately you can do 3 in one hand with either hand. A favorite trick of mine is the "chase" or "snake" pattern done in the shape of a 3-ball cascade. You simply do three throws of three in one hand from the right hand, then sneak your left hand in and do three throws of three in one hand from the left hand, then sneak your right hand back in and continue.

By the way, most jugglers who can do it will tell you that a 3 in one hand cascade is harder than a 3 in one hand shower, and they're probably right, but since I learned it first (about 14 years ago) I still find the cascade easier than a shower. (This is too bad because I think it handicaps me for learning a 6-ball fountain.) For me, a reverse cascade is about the same level of difficulty, and columns are only slightly harder.

Jonathan Shaffer

Practice 4 ball shower with 2 hands until you're SICK of practicing it, then, if you already know the 5 ball cascade, it really helps to learn the 5 ball half shower (or even better 5 ball shower). Your 3-ball in one hand should come easily after you get really good at shower.

I've heard from some other people that it helps to do 3-ball in columns, but I don't think that it really matters what pattern you choose.

I prefer the shower (as above), but whatever method you want to try, stay with that one and learn it.

When learning new stuff like that, I generally choose one trick and practice ONLY that trick until I get used to it. It helps to alternate between weight-lifting and juggling (exerballs if possible) to loosen up the muscles.

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