Contact Juggling Games and Competitions

February 23, 2010

Each year hosts a new contact juggling competition and/or game at the forums, Follow the Leader! The competition was beginning week 5 when I decided to jump in, since it looked like a lot of fun.

The moves aren’t too bad, but I’ll try to break down what goes on the video a bit for anyone curious.

Windshield Wiper: This is standard fare, and most will attempt to learn this first. It progresses nicely into other moves with basic hand transfers. You want to focus on keeping the ball steady on either side of the hand before tossing it up and over. Try to remember to bring your hand down with the ball as well. You don’t want to smack your hand into an acrylic. Ouch!

Walking Half-Pipe: This is move is a series of simple palm transfers. I like to teach people this move first, since the Walking Half-Pipe is easier to get down first than a perfectly fluid Butterfly or a single ball palm spin isolation. Begin with the ball in your right hand, palm up. The ball will be resting on your finger tips. Roll the ball gently to palm, then to the back of the fingers (the cradle position) of the left hand. From there we transfer it to the back of the fingers (cradle again) of the right hand. This is the “back-to-back” transfer that is used in the beautiful move, The Circle. From the right cradle roll the ball gently to the left palm, and then to fingers. Easy! Most of your trouble will be with the back-to-back, but you’ll get it.

Prayer: You will want to have the Windshield Wiper down fairly solid with both hands before you’ll get this one. Effectively you are doing the same move, except instead of cradling between three fingers, you are only using your first and second fingers in a V shape, held together on both hands. Adding some lift to the elbows will help you stabilize the position.

Prayer Chest Roll: Same as a chest roll, but keeping your palms together. More difficult than it sounds, I promise you. You’ll want to move your arms out to catch the ball, don’t. If you let it drop it will reinforce itself in your mind that you must keep your hands together.

Inverted Arm Curls: I hope Lirnyk knows I am shaking my fist at him after bolding that name.  He gives a really solid tutorial here:

Grip Isolations: Try to focus on moving your wrist around the ball, not so much your hand. Staring at a point beyond the ball may also help. I was focusing on keeping the ball over the point I was focusing on.

Kick Up: I began with a kick up, after the all important stretching, and it’s not too difficult to do. In the very least, it will save your back a lot of trouble. Lift your toes, place a ball and hold it behind them. You want to lift your foot up and then behind and off to the side of you very quickly. There are several kick up tutorials available on YouTube if you need more help. It’s best to have someone show you in person though.

Remember to have fun when you practice, that’s what this is all really about. Everyone on .org, hanging out together and trying to create something beautiful and/or fun.