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Juggling in the circus takes years of practice, so why not get started now? Have students watch the following video to learn juggling basics from master juggler, Jake LaSalle. The instructions that follow can help them build up from juggling one ball to three.
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How to Juggle
Juggling looks complicated, but anyone can learn to do it. Master juggler Jake LaSalle shows us how.
- Bean bags, tennis balls, or any collection of small non-dangerous juggle-able projectiles, enough for three for each pair of students.
Juggling One Ball
- Start with the ball in your right hand.
- Toss to left hand.
- Toss back to right hand.
- Repeat until it feels natural to throw the ball just above head-height automatically.
Juggling Two Balls
- Start with one ball in each hand.
- Toss one ball to the other hand, just like when juggling one ball.
- While the first ball is in the air, toss the second ball the opposite way.
- Make sure that both balls are tossed to the same height—don't shuffle one to the other hand while the first one is in the air. Count this action "one, two, catch, catch" or "throw, throw, catch, catch."
- Practice until this feels natural.
Juggling Three Balls
- Hold two balls in one hand and one in the other.
- Practice “one, two, catch, catch” while just holding the third ball in your hand.
- When comfortable juggling two balls while holding the third, practice throwing the third one after the two have been thrown and caught. Think of it as three throws: “one, two, one, catch.”
- Try four throws: “one, two, one, two, catch.”
- Gradually increment the number of throws until you can juggle continuously.
- Hold a tournament to see who can juggle the longest. Pair students off and have them compete in pairs. The winners of each round play until there is one juggling champion crowned.
- Conduct “juggle races” to see who can walk or run the fastest while juggling.
- Reinforce multiplication tables by having students play “buzz” with their juggling count. For example, have students say “buzz” instead of each multiple of three.