Official 1995 Rules
IJA Numbers Championships

[IJA logo] [gold medal]

July 20, 1995 - 1 PM

Barry Bakalor, Director


The IJA Numbers Championships was established to advance the sport of "numbers juggling" and to provide a forum for competitors to challenge each other and the laws of gravity and physics. The purpose of these events is to show who can successfully juggle the largest numbers of balls, clubs and rings. Record breakers for all events may be submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records.


Within the Numbers Championships, there are two divisions - Individuals and Teams. The Individuals division is for solo jugglers. The Teams division is for groups of two or more jugglers, depending on the particular event.

Who May Enter

All entrants must be IJA members in good standing. There are no age, sex, or nationality restrictions. Each competitor must pay a $5 registration fee. "Competitor" here means either a solo juggler or a team; so for teams, the fee is $5 per team, not per person. The registration fee allows the competitor to enter any number of events within one division. Paying the registration fee, however, does not guarantee that the competitor will qualify for the finals in any events. A juggler may compete in one or both of the two divisions (Individuals and Teams), but a separate registration fee must be paid for each division entered. Each registrant must sign the video release and insurance waiver.


The following Numbers events exist for Individuals:

  1. Balls
  2. Rings
  3. Clubs
  4. Ball Bouncing
  5. Ball Showering

The following Numbers Passing events exist for Teams:

  1. Balls
  2. Rings
  3. Clubs
  4. Ball Bouncing

    In addition, the following "exhibition" Teams events will again be held in 1995, if there is sufficient interest. Whether these will become official events or be omitted in future competitions has not yet been determined.

  5. Ring Line
  6. Club Feed
  7. Club Line

Minimum Numbers of Objects

There is no minimum numbers of objects required to be juggled in any event. The level of competition will be determined by the abilities of those participating. However, it is expected that in this competition, entrants will likely be at least at the levels indicated below.

Individuals: 7 balls, 7 rings, 6 clubs, 8 balls bouncing, 6 balls showering.

Teams: 10 balls, 10 rings, 9 clubs, 11 balls bouncing, 13-ring line, 12-club feed, 12-club line.

Prop Specifications

Balls must be roughly spherical objects, including beanbags. Clubs must be long roughly cylindrically-shaped objects, including sticks or batons. Rings must be large flat objects, including plates and hoops.

No object may have aerodynamic lifting qualities, such as a flying disk, nor be so light as to be significantly affected by air resistance, such as balloons or feathers.

Each competitor is responsible for providing their own equipment, including props being juggled or special surfaces on which to bounce juggle.

Each competitor may use one or more assistants to pick up dropped props, call out times, or provide other support. The assistants may in no way assist in the start, progress, or finish of any attempted juggle.

Ball Bouncing Patterns Defined

In the ball bouncing events, each ball thrown must bounce exactly one time before being caught.

Some bounce jugglers do not actually grip each ball as it comes to a hand. Instead, they may simply push the ball slightly to redirect it to the next hand. Since a stable pattern can be maintained in this way, any touch of a ball with a hand will be considered to be a catch in ball bouncing, provided that all other requirements are met.

A competitor may bring a special surface on which to bounce. Similarly, the juggler may bring a raised platform to stand on. In team bounce passing, multiple platforms of any heights may be used to stand on or bounce off of. If used, all such platforms may be raised at any height or angle, but they must be flat and rigid.

Teams Patterns Defined

For each juggler in a Teams event, at least every third throw (counting both hands) must be a pass to another team member. This means that the 1-count, the 2-count and the 3-count are acceptable passing patterns but the 4-count is not. The intent here is to ensure actual team juggling rather than having two or more mostly-solo jugglers.

Each Teams Line event (Clubs or Rings) consists of three jugglers all passing at the same frequency, with one juggler standing roughly behind a second juggler (a triangle formation is not permitted). The juggler standing behind can be facing in any direction. Each juggler must pass to only one of the other two jugglers (that is, this is not a feed). The Line can be done normally (with dropbacks) or reversed (with dropforwards) but not both (which would be a feed).

Each Teams Feed event (Clubs or Rings) consists of three jugglers, one of whom (the feeder) is passing to the other two (the feedees). The two feedees pass only to the feeder, not to each other, and must be passing at the same frequency, which must be half that of the feeder.

In each Teams event, the passing can be from any combination of right and left hands, provided the above requirements are met. Except as specified above in Teams Line events, any formation of jugglers (such as back to back) is permitted in the Teams events.

Prequalifying Required

After registering but before the close of registration, each Numbers competitor must prove competence in each event entered by attempting to prequalify for the event. In each event, the top three prequalifiers will compete in the finals. A prequalifying attempt must be witnessed and documented by at least two members of the Numbers staff, as designated by the Numbers Director.

Each competitor must set up the time for the prequalifying attempt with the Numbers staff (go to the Championships table). A separate time for prequalifying will be arranged for each competitor. The attempt can be scheduled at any time prior to the close of Numbers registration when Numbers staff witnesses are available. The most common procedure is to attempt prequalifying immediately after registering, but in any case be sure to prequalify prior to the close of Numbers registration: 11:00 AM, Thursday, July 20, 1995.

Rules for Prequalifying

For each event, prequalifying of a competitor will consist of one 3 minute period in which to demonstrate proficiency. Attempts may be made at any number level. The number of objects attempted may be increased or decreased as desired by the competitor within their time limit.

Competitors are encouraged to start prequalifying by attempting the largest number they think they can actually juggle, and may drop to a lower level before time runs out if they are not successful.

Runs Attempted Within Given Time Limits

Any number of attempts may be made within the time period. Any run still going when the time period runs out will be permitted to continue until the first drop. That is, catches will not stop being counted just because the time period is over if a run is continuing, although no more runs may be started after the time period ends.

Definition of a Successful Run

To successfully juggle a given number of objects, a competitor (solo or team) must keep the pattern going without a drop long enough for each hand to make as many successful catches as there are objects being juggled. For instance, in solo juggling of seven balls, each hand must make seven catches before the first drop, and in team passing of nine clubs, each hand must make nine catches before there is a drop.

Definition of a Drop

Except for bounce juggling, a drop is a failure to catch an object which, as a result, hits the ground or any foreign object.

For bounce juggling, a drop is a failure to touch a ball which, as a result, hits the ground twice in a row or hits any foreign object.

The drop is considered to have happened at the moment when the object should have been caught or touched (not when it hits the ground).

Which Catches are Counted

Catches made after an object has been dropped will not be counted, even if made before the dropped object hits the ground. That is, the catches counted must be consecutive catches with no missed catch in the middle.

Catches made at the end of a run by "stacking up" multiple objects in the hands and body of one or more jugglers will be counted to the extent that such catches are made before any object is dropped. Any part of the body can be used to assist in catching or stacking up, provided that the objects being juggled never touch the ground or a foreign object. Only throws made before stacking up has started can have their subsequent catches counted. Competitors are not allowed to use pockets, nets, or other special clothing or apparatus to aid in catching or stacking up. Stacking up can only be used to end a run. Any object thrown after stacking up has started is considered to be a dropped at the time of the throw.

While an object is touching any part of the body, it is considered to be in the hand that "should have" last caught it in the normal pattern. Thus, for example, an object held between your legs or under an arm counts as being in one of the hands (the hand that it "should have" been caught by). Holding an object with the body in any way and then catching another object in the "same" hand results in stacking up, which can only be used at the end of a run.

Multiplexing is not permitted. If any hand, or hand and body combination, catches or touches one object while already holding another object, that person is considered to be stopping and stacking up.

A bobbled object will be counted as caught provided it is caught before the first drop. A bobble will never be counted as more than one catch. In particular, two consecutive catches by a given hand must always be of two different objects - the second and subsequent consecutive catches of the same object by the same hand will not be counted as catches but considered parts of a bobble (at most one catch).

Holding Objects at the Start of a Run

Competitors do not have to hold all the objects in their hands at the start of a run. The start may be achieved partly by picking up and/or kicking up any of the objects. For instance, objects can be pulled out of holsters, off of prop stands, or out of the hands of assistants. However, each object not initially held in the hands must be at rest (not moving) at the time a competitor first encounters it. Thus objects cannot be thrown or catapulted into the pattern by an assistant or a device.

A competitor can choose to achieve a pattern by first juggling a smaller number of objects and then picking up or kicking up additional objects to get up to the desired number. However, in all cases, no catches will be counted while any object remains to be picked up or kicked up. Furthermore, no catches will be counted at the beginning of the pattern while any hand contains more than one object.


The order of events in the finals will be specified by the Numbers Director. In each event, the top three prequalifiers will compete in the finals. Competitors will compete in the reverse of their prequalifying finishing order. That is, the best prequalifier will go last in the finals.

For each event, each competitor will have one 3 minute period in which to demonstrate proficiency. Attempts may be made at any number level. The number of objects attempted may be increased or decreased as desired by the competitor within their time limit.

Order of Finishing

In each event, the competitor that successfully juggles the most objects is the winner. Of two or more competitors who successfully juggle the same largest number of objects, the winner is the one with the most catches at that level. If two or more competitors have the same best number of catches at the largest number of objects successfully juggled, then a tie will be declared.


Gold medals will be awarded to the winners of each event.

If no competitor completes a successful run in an event's finals, no medal will be awarded in that event.

Videotape Review

In an event that is being videotaped, if at any time the Numbers judges are in doubt about an attempt, they may choose to assume that the attempt was successful while reserving the right to review the videotape later and reverse or confirm their decision. This judges' assumption of success and option to review will be communicated to the competitor since it means that the attempt that is in doubt may later be disqualified. In order to avoid stopping an event in the middle, no videotape reviews of an event will be made until the event has been completed. However, if, before an attempt in doubt has been reviewed on videotape, the competitor demonstrates, during that event, a definitely successful run equal to or better than the attempt in doubt, then the attempt in doubt will be accepted as successful and no review of that attempt will be made.

Schedule of Events

The deadline for Numbers registration and prequalifying is:

11:00 AM, Thursday, July 20, 1995.

All competitors in a given division (Individuals or Teams) must be present at the start time for that division (as indicated below) in order to receive final directions on the competitions. Competitors must also check in with the Numbers staff at the beginning of each event entered. Anyone not present for directions at the beginning of the appropriate division or not checking in at the beginning of an entered event may be disqualified from that division or event. Please be on time.

The 1995 Numbers Championships Finals will be on July 20, 1995, with the start times shown below for the different divisions. If any division runs over its alloted time, the beginnings of subsequent divisions will be delayed. In this case, competitors must nevertheless be present both at the scheduled division time and at the actual beginning for entered divisions.

1:00 PM - Teams: balls, rings, clubs, ball bouncing, ring lines, club feeds, club lines.

2:00 PM - Individuals: balls, rings, clubs, ball bouncing, ball showering.


Numbers judges will be selected by the Numbers Director from the general membership of the IJA for their knowledge of and attention to numbers juggling, and for their ability to accurately observe and record the Numbers competitions.

A timekeeper will track the time used by a competitor, letting the judges know when time has run out. At the request of a competitor, the timekeeper can announce the approximate time used or remaining at selected intervals. In order to avoid distracting the competitor, the timekeeper should not make any announcements while a run is in progress, unless such announcements are specifically requested in advance by the competitor.


There will be at least three judges for each Numbers event. Their task is to count and record the number of catches made during each attempt. For solo events, one judge will be assigned to each hand. For team events, one judge will be assigned to each person. Any unassigned judge will watch the overall pattern. The judges will consult with each other to determine the total number of catches in each attempt.

Authority of the Numbers Director

The Numbers Director will resolve all questions pertaining to the interpretation of these Numbers Championships Rules. For instance, if any question comes up as to whether or not a pattern attempted by a competitor meets the criteria for the particular event, the Numbers Director will make the final decision on the validity of the pattern (possibly after consulting with any assistants). The Numbers Director has the authority to disqualify a competitor who does not abide by these rules.

Barry Bakalor
Numbers Director

Official 1995 Rules - IJA Numbers Championships / Juggling Information Service /
© 1995 Juggling Information Service. All Rights Reserved.