Easy 5 Ball Siteswaps

Collected Wisdom on 5 ball starter siteswaps

This section contains views and helpful hints on doing 5 ball siteswaps. Many are ground state patterns and can be tried from within a regular cascade, when the cascade is stable.

Should you be interested in refreshing your siteswap basics, here are Allen Knutson's Siteswap FAQ and Alan Morgan's Siteswaps for the Masses.

Jack Boyce on the doability of 5 ball siteswaps

I encourage people to goof around with these programs, but also keep in mind that these patterns (well, some of them) are PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE. I say this only because I recall someone posting a message to JUGGLING to the effect: "Maybe 3 and 4 ball site swaps are possible, but only Gatto could do 5 ball ones." On the contrary, *I* can do a number of the 5 ball ones, and I'm certainly no Gatto. Bruce Tiemann can do several dozen 5 ball site swaps, as well as some 6 ball ones.

As a suggestion, try starting with a ground state trick -- they generally tend to be the easier ones. It also sometimes helps to begin with the normal cascade/fountain, then do the site swap ONCE, and then switch back again.

From my experience, the easiest (and also some of the best) ground state tricks are (in approx. order of increasing difficulty):

5 balls:   64    (3 in one hand, two in other -- easier to do once
                          from the middle of a cascade)
                   77722 (3 high flash -- remember 2's are just holds)
                   744   (7445555 is an interesting way to do tennis)
                   75751 (two high over the top)
                   66661 (5 ball version of 441)
                   663   (Garfield did this at UCLA with 5 clubs, the 3 a
                            headroll, on the first try no less)
                   77731 (3 high flash, swap underneath)
                   8552  (really need to chuck the 8), 8444

As you can see, the whole site swap thing becomes considerably more interesting at 5 balls. The lower numbers are still fun, though, and they are not as difficult as one might imagine.

-Jack Boyce

Boppo on Easy 5 tricks

Bram Cohen proposed 8 5 5 2, steals, throw ins, and one-over the top as easy 5 tricks. They're all good tricks, except I've never gotten the over the top yet.

Ohhhh! Five *ball* tricks!

Here're my suggestions:

7 5 6 2
This is the first siteswap I *ever* did after thinking of them. One hand gets the effort of a 7 then 6, the other ignores the trick (5) then pauses (2).
6 6 6 2
A bit harder at first than 7 5 6 2 as one's bad hand must also make a trick throw. But at least they're all to the same height.
7 2 2 [5,2] [5,2]
I call this the "quit, restart" trick. Throw one high, gather all the rest then throw them back as 5s. The high throw lands in the hole; it needs to be a 7 if you catch and throw at the usual rate without interruption during the trick. This is a good way to learn how high 7s are.
7 5 7 5 1
This is pretty and quite easy, once 7s are ok. One hand does ALL the effort (7,7,1) and the other keeps juggling (5) as if nothing is happening.
6 6 6 6 1
Slightly harder at first (for me) than the above. Great practice for the 6 fountain too. But with four throws, you can't throw 'em ALL outside, and if you throw 'em all inside (as in the usual fountain) it's pretty unforgiving where they have to go, just as 6 is. In other words, good practice for 6, as I said.
Half shower
There are two easy flavors. One has the hands nearly alternating and one arc just over the other, the other is synchronous siteswap (6x,4x). The former is harder due to collision problems, the latter harder because of the surprisingly large throw-height ratio, about 2.5:1, and keeping the outside throws reachable. I like the sync. one better both feel and looks, and both are pretty easy. (For the astute, I find 7 3 much harder.)
6 4 and 7 4 4
Try some of the others first. Then try these. 4s are half (!) the height of 5s. 6 4 5 and 7 4 4 are both entirely runnable, 7 4 4 easier for me, but not really simple.
8 5 5 2
8s are pretty high! I'd rate it as harder than the other ones I've given here. But, if this is easy for you, try 9 5 5 5 1.
Gatto's Multiplex, 2 4 [5,4]
I first saw Tony do this trick, hence the name. *Though it is a real, live Gatto trick (!!!)* it is quite easy. (Of course, he does it from both sides, continuously, over his head, with 7, stage balls: 2 6 [7,6] 2 6 [7,6] etc.., but also with 5 in front of him, the title trick.) For those who haven't bothered to read the FAQ yet, you gather one with your right hand so it now has two, then the immediate next throw from your left is a 4, and then the next throw with your right is a 4 and a 5 at the same time. As they say, "The rest is error recoveries." If you don't know what a 4 or a 5 is, read the FAQ. (See Vince's how-to on 2 4 [54] that follows this post - Ram) Also, try to juggle as low, tight, and fast as possible, and as high and wide as possible. Then try the two flashes 7 7 7 2 2 and 7 7 7 7 7 0 0. Go at the low rate, but suddenly throw to the high height. Great practice for 7, or if you like to pirouette.

For the truly, utterly, fearlessly daring: find a siteswap generator program or listing, and slog through the muck^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H ^H^H^H^H^H^H explore the flowery fields yourself. There are more doable ones than just the above, especially when you find the above to be mostly doable. Under the leg isn't too hard. If you're into that sort of thing. *One* backcross (by which I mean a single throw) isn't too tough either, but is perhaps the hardest thing I'm suggesting, and any more than one gets mean fast.

-Boppo (Bruce Tiemann)

Andrew Conway

Jeez, Boppo, your hands don't get out enough. Even I have been known to pull off a single behind the back throw in five. It's really not that hard if you are used to working on tricks that are interesting to watch.

-Andrew Conway

Vince Darley explains [54] 2 4 in detail

Ok, I'll try:

  1. Start with three balls in your left hand, and two in your right.
  2. First throw is just a 3, from left to right, to get on ball in the air so you can start the multiplex throws (else it's difficult to throw an accurate split).
  3. Having thrown the 3 (it doesn't have to be too accurate or anything, it's just to free up your hands a bit), you start the pattern proper. The following steps are repeated ad nauseum
  4. With your right hand throw a 54 split. This is a bit like the splits thrown in the easy 5-ball multiplex which lots of people can do (the one in Finnigan's book), BUT it has to be a bit higher. One ball does a conventional 5, and the other has to be a bit lower and come back to the same hand (the 4).
    The way to throw this is hold one ball between little finger and the heel of your hand, and the other resting on index and middle fingers (more or less). I find this is the natural way to hold two balls. The ball in front is the one that crosses as a 5, and the ball behind is the 4. I find that if you throw with a slight drag to the right, the balls split very easily into a 5-4.
    (Now you have two in your left, 2 just thrown, and one just landed in your right hand).
  5. Now comes the hard part. Throw a 2. This of course is just a hold, so your left hand does nothing, and holds onto its two balls.
  6. Back to your right hand (throws alternate as with 'normal' juggling). That 3 which landed earlier has to be thrown as a 4. I throw it just inside the previous 4 thrown (part of the split), as if those two balls were doing the right-handed part of a 4-ball fountain.
    (Now your have two in your left, one about to land in the left, one just thrown from the right, and one about to land in the right)
  7. * Your left hand must now throw a [54] split - I throw this underneath the incoming 5.
  8. Right hand 2, i.e. hold the ball you already have, and catch the incoming one.
  9. Left hand 4, as in step (6)
  10. Repeat this sequence: [54] split, hold, 4. A pattern of period 3, so both hands need to do everything at some point.

I hope that is reasonably clear.

As a practice, at * you could just throw a five, instead of a split, to make a pattern of period four :[54]245. Then your right hand has to do all the splits.

In order to do this out of a cascade, just insert 24[54] at any point. e.g. you're doing a five ball cascade. Now don't throw one right hand 5, but rather keep it there. Now throw a 4 with the left hand, followed by a 54 split with the right. Now resume the 5-ball cascade.

That's what I mean by the following

As well as being a great continuous pattern, it works well out of five.
555555524[54]55555555 (do 24[54] the 2 is a hold)

And you can also do this:

basically you can slot in any numbers of 5's between repeats.

This is because, written as 24[54], the multiplexing is contained within the pattern, and doesn't affect its surrounding throws.

Have fun!

-Vince Darley

Alan Morgan

I do this trick with 5 and 6 (although only from my right with 6) but I do it slightly differently. Gatto's trick - shorn of numerical obfuscation goes like this: Juggle 5, collect two in your right, make a low left handed throw straight up, and throw the two in your right so that they go to different heights with the higher one going to the left hand.

I do this bass-ackwards. Instead of throwing the left handed throw straight up I throw it over to my right and split the right handed throw such that the high ball stays in the same hand. Actually, after trying this with 7 and failing miserably I have come to the conclusion that I fudge it a little. The throw which should be a 4 (which I make a 4x) I actually do as a 5 and the [5,4] (which I should do as [4x,5?]) I actually do as [5,6] and then I sort of wait around for the pattern to come together. This sort of sloppiness is fine for 5 balls but kills me with 7.

Still, I agree with boppo. No matter how you do it, it is a great looking trick and is pretty easy (as long as you restrict yourself to 5 balls).

-Alan "Crunchy Frog" Morgan

Rob Stone

try 744

i had a go and was surprised you dont have to throw it so high and the 4s arent that hard throwing the 8 i thought was hard hard

-Rob Stone

Allen K's easy 5 Siteswaps

The easiest ones for me are 75751 and 7562, also good are 64 and 66661, for Bruce Tiemann I'll include 77731 - don't do it myself, but my favorite is 67561.

Those are all ground-state and I only mean to do them once, ...55575751555... If you want to run them there's also 645, which seems pretty tough.

Non-ground-state ones: 777171 (much like 5551), 672 (much like 450), 771 (only a little like 441).

As long as you can do 91 you should check out the transitions
...55555 678 91919191919191 817161 5555...
         ---                ------

Good luck, do repost other ones you hear about.

-Allen Knutson

Last Modified: 04/95
Ram Prasad / Juggling Information Service / naras-r@acsu.buffalo.edu