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7b_wizard -

How do you launch your numbers basic patterns?

  1. In a clear crescendo way, as a ``ladder´´, starting with lower throws getting upon height towards the later throws.
  2. A mix of 1. and 3., pretty much the same height as good as I can get it, but the very first one or two throws a bit lower. And-Or doing the two or three latest throws just a little bit higher to have the launch better well-spaced.
  3. All on the exact height required (from first throw on), thus also in the right tact.
  4. Different ways, or all of the above, or depending on which pattern, which number, or with a special initial throw or kick, or with a siteswap, or from juggling a lower number (only part of the props) with full hands.

[ #numbers #launch #technique #poll ]

This is a competition thread which ran from 26th Sep 2016 to 16th Oct 2016. View results.

James Hennigan - - Parent

Don't lots of jugglers do the opposite of 1? They throw the first ball higher and all the other throws are at regular height.


7b_wizard - - Parent

Never seen this. Very interesting; it seems to earn a moment to prepare and get back in position for the steady launch with one ball less.

DavidCain - - Parent

Yes, Gatto made that method fairly popular.

7b_wizard - - Parent

He should then vote "4.".

No, serious: I see two slight disadvantages in that method (regardless of how much these might be outweighed by the advantages), at least when still learning:   a)   the very high first ball comes back very fast, thus is a bit harder to catch or at least ask for a different first catch, and   b)   it's out of tact and out of pattern and tact, so timing your launch to it, matching both, seems a skill on its own, maybe comparable to kicking into launch.

peterbone - - Parent

The advantage is that it makes the first throws easier when there's a lot of weight in the hands. Perhaps Anthony developed that method because he started numbers so young. I tend to do it a bit with clubs.

When flashing high numbers I prefer 1 or 2. The advantage being that they separate out in the air making the catches further apart. When running numbers I prefer 3.

7b_wizard - - Parent

I like the first two pairs of throws notably lower and wider, to have the middle free to fire the rest up keeping a slight crescendo. (Clearly "1." then, and for 9b and 7b) My 8b wimpy, I do it in a `robotic´ way all to same exact height - there's just much more time to swing up thrust in synch.

James Hennigan - - Parent

This reminded me that Anthony could juggle 5 clubs before he could even hold 5 clubs!

bad1dobby - - Parent

I put that down to hype - no-one does bullshit like circus does bullshit...

Daniel Simu - - Parent

To me it makes a lot of sense. The first ball is hard because the hands are heavy. You can make the first high throw easy by using the legs, and the legs add so much push that you can even make enough time to slow down the next one or two balls. With more time you can also put more force in these.. Until you quickly need to get your hands empty to make the first catches, and then stabilize into pattern hight as you only need to deal with 1 ball weight..

7b_wizard - - Parent

Ah, yeah .. ``hop´´ the first one up - forgot about that one.

And, true, yeah, .. once they're all up, be it only halfway aligned, spaced and timed, you can still correct into pattern dealing with one prop each rethrow, which makes up a bit for a flawly launch - I need that a lot ;o) .

Marvin - - Parent

This poll has now ended. The results are:

  1.   In a clear crescendo way, as a ``ladder´´, starting with lower throws getting upon height towards the later throws. (1 vote)
  2.   A mix of 1. and 3., pretty much the same height as good as I can get it, but the very first one or two throws a bit lower. And-Or doing the two or three latest throws just a little bit higher to have the launch better well-spaced. (0 votes)
  3.   All on the exact height required (from first throw on), thus also in the right tact. (2 votes)
  4.   Different ways, or all of the above, or depending on which pattern, which number, or with a special initial throw or kick, or with a siteswap, or from juggling a lower number (only part of the props) with full hands. (1 vote)

ejwysz -

The "limits" of juggling ability. What are they? I'm talking the 4-Minute mile here.

I've seen this debated about in reference to juggling before, and thought I'd bring it up on the Edge.

What are the absolute limits of technical juggling ability? Or are there possibly none? Is there a maximum amount of objects that a human being can possibly flash, or qualify?

A member of the juggling club I go to told me that the human brain can only perceive 7 (plus or minus two) objects in motion at a time. He went on to say that while jugglers may currently qualify 10 or even 11 balls, their brains can't fully understand what's going on, and juggling ability actually can't go much farther than it currently has. I found that exceedingly interesting, even though I - if only out of hope and love of juggling - disagree with it.

What do you think?

peterbone - - Parent

It's probably true that the brain can only perceive 7 objects *consciously*, but with training most of what you're doing when juggling becomes subconscious. Even when just walking in a crowded street your brain is subconsciously perceiving and processing probably hundreds or thousands of things at once. The limits don't come from the brain, but the physical limits of the body. Some work has been done on this by Jack Kalvan, although I don't fully agree with the methods or the results.

From experience I can say that the physical difficulty increases exponentially. The next number always requires greater height and speed, but at the same time more accuracy and more weight in the hands at the start. I believe a 14 ball flash is doable, but I don't think we'll see anyone doing 15. I think that long runs of 11 is doable also.

Daniel Simu - - Parent

Why not 15? Alex is young, so he must have reached 13 in a relatively short time. With 10 years more training at this pace, he could be at a level that makes 15 within reach? Or do you think the best age to flash high numbers is early 20s?

Also, I don't know so many people who work dedicated on their numbers. Out of so many jugglers, so few seem to care after 7 balls. If there would ever be a culture shift where more jugglers decided to dedicate all their time to flashing 15 balls, or even if we just wait another 100 years which gives time for plenty of other jugglers to rise, would there not inevitably be a lucky shot at some point?

All that being said, my experience with numbers juggling does not even come close to yours...

peterbone - - Parent

Alex was juggling for several years before he became more involved with the juggling community. I don't think that numbers juggling is something that only people in their early 20s can push the limits of (or I hope not). I think you underestimate the difficulty of increasing the number. It would be like asking if a sprinter can run the 100m in under 9 seconds. The difference is just over half a second, but to achieve that would require much more power. I think that a 15 ball flash would be even less likely.

ejwysz - - Parent

Peter, your 11 ball flash with a pirouette is one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. After seeing you push forward the "edge" of juggling, I have to say I'm surprised at your cynicism.

What if Gatto had shifted gears, and for years dedicated his practice to high numbers with beanbags? Do you think he never would have nailed 15?

peterbone - - Parent

The 11 ball flash with a pirouette is not much harder than an 11 ball flash. I collect 10 and then just spin under the last one. I'd say that it's easier than 13 catches with 11. I do believe that we're still a long way off the limits of numbers juggling, but I also believe that 15 beanbags will never be flashed no matter who it is. Gatto would have the same chance as anyone else under the same conditions in my opinion.

Hearing you mention Albert Lucas has made me want to clarify something. I don't think that 15 beanbags will ever be flashed from the hands. Juggling records set using a holster for the launch don't count in my opinion, but the official rules do say that you can use them currently. I'm almost certain that Albert has flashed 14 rings with a holster. My statement doesn't apply to rings either, which seem to become easier than balls at the higher numbers.

Daniel Simu - - Parent

Ah, yeah, that changes the game too...

Are you even able to launch 8 balls with decent height and accuracy from one hand? The grip must be terrible....

peterbone - - Parent

Yes, a have an 8 ball grip, but never really tested it with high throws at speed. I hold 6 in zig-zag and 2 on top, holding the back top one down with my thumb.

lukeburrage - - Parent

I watched Anthony Gatto in 2000 breaking records and such (and later on video). 12 rings looked trivial.

However, as soon as he tried 7 rings in one hand, it looked waaaaay beyond his abilities. It wasn't just the grip, or not having holsters, as he would pass the last few rings over to the launching hand from the other hand. The height and speed needed for the 7 rings in one hand is right at the very limits of human capabilities. From my own (limited) experience, and from watching others, the extra pattern height needed for higher numbers increases way more quickly with rings than with beanbags.

So with holsters, 7 rings from one hand seems more than possible. 8 seems less probable. I'd put the cap there at 14 rings.

Next consideration:

Balls don't have handles, so if they are in a holster, or stuck with velcro, they have to be big enough to grab cleanly without looking. This is super easy with rings, as the whole thing is a handle, and also easier with clubs, as it is half handle.

BUT when you catch, balls also don't have handles, nor do they have holes. Rings can easily fall down over your arms, leaving the hand to catch the next ring unimpeded. Clubs can also be tucked under arms, or generally clamped against the body (see latest Willy Colombaino 9 club video). But once a ball is caught, it's just taking up space in the hand.

So no matter if you can launch 8 balls from a hand (for 15) you have to also catch 8 balls in one hand, or at least 7.5 balls per hand. David Ferman is already struggling to catch all 10 balls at the end of his world record run, and even using his arms and leaning back, only gathers 9.

If you have a ball big enough to be suitable for a holster, it's then too big to catch at the end. The way to get a record is to do more throws, and get the record without a clean finish (like David did with 10 balls). But for 15 balls, with balls you can launch and catch 5 in per hand, that means 5 more balls in a holster, which then means you have to do 20 throws in a clean enough pattern, then catch the next 10 balls clean, and let the last 5 hit the floor AFTER you've already caught those first 10 balls clean.

Anyway, this is a long way of saying I don't think any new high numbers record with balls will be set with holsters of any kind, and also kinda why I don't think 15 balls will ever be flashed by baseline humans we have in the world today. Not unless juggling becomes as prestigious as the 100m sprint, or some other crazy hypothetical.

emilyw - - Parent

The obvious conclusion is that eventually all the juggling records will be set by people with high end prosthetic arms and a dedicated pair of juggling hands. With the appropriate gear they could even read a book while doing it.

That would be an act I'd watch.

Daniel Simu - - Parent

Perhaps not holsters, but a ball launcher, that allows you to catch the ball first and then throw it up into the pattern.. Can be done with tiny balls, allows for a clean start, who knows what the future might bring us!

Thanks for pointing out the Willy vid, I hadn't seen it yet! Interesting catch indeed ;)

ejwysz - - Parent

I saw some videos of Ty Tojo working on 9 and Dick Franco would throw one high for him to start the pattern.

Orinoco - - Parent

Assuming the launch is not a problem, what would you think about finishing a flash not by gathering balls in your hands but catching & placing them in a kangaroo pouch similar to doing a pull down with rings?

lukeburrage - - Parent


peterbone - - Parent

I'd think the same that I think about using a holster for the launch. It shouldn't count as a pure flash.

mike.armstrong - - Parent

IANANJ, but pull downs require more control than a simple catch. Letting balls bounce off your hands into a sack requires less control so Luke is spot on with his answer.

Orinoco - - Parent

For "Letting balls bounce off your hands" I would certainly agree, but that's not what I said.

I tried this for a few minutes last night at TWJC & found it considerably harder than just catching the balls normally. I had a waist height table in front of me, I considered a successful 'putdown' to have occurred if I felt the table with my fingertips when placing each individual ball, & all the balls remained on the table where I put them, ie if I had dropped or thrown the balls at the table they would have rolled off or to the edge. It took me several attempts to complete a successful putdown with 5 but didn't take me long to be able to do it regularly. The urge to throw the ball down early to make the next catch is really high & difficult to overcome. I found I had to juggle considerably higher than I normally do to give myself time to make the placement. 6 took much longer, usually my 6 ball fountain is only marginally higher than my 5 ball cascade, so the adjustment needed was even greater. I lost interest before I could solidify a 6 ball putdown or try 7.

It won't catch on because it looks crap (unless you can build a stacked pyramid or something), is harder to do & because only the juggler can feel if they've done it right cannot be independently verified.

ejwysz - - Parent

I never knew Anthony worked on that. He never got a 7 in one hand flash when you watched? To play devil's advocate, I'd say working with smaller diameter rings for a shorter pattern height might help... And that Anthony juggled for many years after that, who knows if that was something he was just first trying.

Ferman is using relatively huge balls for that number, and I applaud him for it. But I don't think they'd HAVE to be big if you designed the perfect holster.

So 15 balls... What if someone grabs and launches the last two balls of the 15 from holsters, and to collect places the first two caught back in the holsters before catching the rest? Would this officially be a valid 15 ball flash? The time and accuracy required to put them back in place in my opinion would make it real to me.

Also, I've been thinking a lot about the 14 ball flash... Would flashing 12 synchronous and then exchanging 2 balls in (2x,2x) below it be easier than the standard flash of 14? I feel like if someone did this they might get criticism, but I would personally count it.

lukeburrage - - Parent

"Also, I've been thinking a lot about the 14 ball flash... Would flashing 12 synchronous and then exchanging 2 balls in (2x,2x) below it be easier than the standard flash of 14? I feel like if someone did this they might get criticism, but I would personally count it."

I've read and heard soooo many ideas like this about flashing high numbers. I don't think anyone who hasn't tried 11 or more balls really understands just how fast and physical it is. You have NO TIME to do any of these things. Also your brain and hands only have the capability of doing ONE thing. As in, you can't do up and down motions, then side to side motions, then catch with your hands facing inwards, then turn them all upwards again to catch the rest of the balls. If this was in any way easier than a 14 ball fountain/wimpy pattern, it would also be a standard way for jugglers to flash 8, 10 and 12 balls for the first time. But it isn't, for good reasons.

As an experiment, try your above idea, or any other idea but with 6 balls. But do it sitting under a table. Suddenly how much faster is your flash? How much less time do you have for any of these tricks?

When you get to 12, 13 and 14 balls, the underside of the table is now built out of physical laws and concepts such as gravity, inertia, time and total possible energy expenditure of a closed system.

Orinoco - - Parent

Another way of looking at it is to use siteswaps, the 12 ball pattern you suggest is (e,e)(e,e)(e,e)(e,e)(e,e)(2x,2x). So to start with you've got to learn to do 10 throws of 14 balls.

Scott Seltzer - - Parent

Here's an interesting video of 9 large balls with 4 starting and ending in a holster:

Here's a longer run of 9 starting with 4 in the holster and ending with 7 on the ground:

lukeburrage - - Parent

That second video isn't a longer run. After he throws the second to last ball, he only makes 8 clean catches. The first video is more successful.

ejwysz - - Parent

I really do think they count. It just seems like the logical progression when you reach that technical level.

Like: "I only have 5 fingers, but I have gotten so good at juggling that now I require apparati just to allow my physical body to do this."

There is no shame in that. Yes, you can put 1 between your legs for 11, and I've even seen Junming Lin hold two in his teeth, but where does it end? I would never say anyone's 11 or 12 ring flash didn't count because of a holster. In fact, I find the need for a holster amazing.

peterbone - - Parent

A holster undoubtedly makes it easier. Apart from avoiding the problem of grip, it also greatly reduces weight in the hands for the first throws. A flash consists or the launch and the collect. Anything that aids in either of those phases and is not part of the body or the props should not be counted as a pure flash in my opinion. Working out how to launch and collect high numbers is part of the challenge. It would be like a high jumper deciding that he's reached his limit and saying that he now needs some kind of spring to take it to the next level.

ejwysz - - Parent

I see where you're coming from, but is there anywhere you draw the line in that respect? Catching them with the feet, cradling them in the arms, catching one in the mouth?

In the end, I still think that if you release all of them from your hands, and catch all of them with your hands(provided none drop) it is valid. I would rather see that than someone trying to make a net with their arms and knees to catch balls.

lukeburrage - - Parent

If you can do it naked.

peterbone - - Parent

Uncomfortable memories of your first "11 ball flash" video.

lukeburrage - - Parent

That wasn't me.

peterbone - - Parent

Sorry, I was sure it was you for some reason. There can't be too many numbers jugglers who don't mind getting naked in public (thinking of the Finland EJC games now).

lukeburrage - - Parent

Lots of people remember me doing things that no longer exist in my brain, so it wouldn't have surprised me if you'd found evidence (though most of those forgotten things happened in Renegade shows twelve to fifteen years ago).

barnesy - - Parent

Unfortunate wording perhaps. My first thought was 'there certainly can!'.

ejwysz - - Parent

Whoa, I was almost sure that was you too!

Daniel Simu - - Parent

hahaha! The one thing better than an 11 ball flash is a naked 11 ball flash!

Yes Luke, I also have the Finland EJC memory though. If you ever attempt 12 on camera again, consider doing it naked ;)

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

> It would be like a high jumper deciding that he's reached his limit and saying that he now needs some kind of spring to take it to the next level.

That would be a pole vaulter would it not?

peterbone - - Parent

Exactly. As long as they make it a separate discipline with it's own rules then it's fine. If it wasn't separate then it would be unfair on the athletes not using poles and pure high jump would eventually no longer exist.

lukeburrage - - Parent

I think this is something that could easily be added to the Juggling World Records page on Wikipedia. Most records have videos, so you could just look at the top end records for rings and clubs to see if holsters or other non-juggler's-own-body assistance is used for launching. There is already a clubs/sticks distinction in place for 9 clubs.

And there shouldn't be a category for any records with holsters or nets for catching and holding props at the end. I still think the Tim Nolan 11 ball bounce record is completely farcical, due to each "catch" being a mere touch to each ball before they all went fucking everywhere. By every definition of juggling records I'd ever write, that wouldn't count at all. But when I set up that page on Wikipedia I just went with the sources and rules already in place, and the bounce page seemed like the authority on the matter, so yeah.

I'm just saying that if holsters attached to the body are allowed for catching balls after they have touched the hands, why not something attached to the floor? Like, you know, a carpet? If this was the case, I've flashed 12 balls LOADS of times.

Little Paul - - Parent

I think I'd only allow the carpet if your feet were attached to the floor.

ejwysz - - Parent

I do think 15 balls will one day be done. After 14 is done (Albert Lucas is lying IMO), 15 will be the next new frontier. Pressure will be on! I think this would be easier with rings, but I am only speculating.

And I agree with you, Daniel. I feel like the reason for people not caring after 7 is because most people able to do such things are professional jugglers, most of whom probably find really high numbers a waste of practical practice time. Would they ever put 11+ objects in a performance? I've never seen it.

But yes. This is one of the things that makes me wish juggling was "bi". Then maybe we would have already seen 15 or 16 objects.

ejwysz - - Parent


Brook Roberts - - Parent

Both Gatto and Ignatov (oh, and Gerasimov, without holsters!) all have performed 11 ring flashes.

And it's not so many, but Gerasimov and Columbaioni perform 8 club flashes. So performers are interested!

I believe Albert Lucas showed a video of a 14 ring flash at this years JJF. He also tried to do it publicly for a TV show, which he probably would not do if he hasn't done it before!

Daniel Simu - - Parent

Yeah, I've been thinking about that too... But than again, hardly any pro ball jugglers perform with their tiny saggy bags which would be recommended for flashing 11, while every pro ring juggler (and club juggler) practises and performs with the same kind of ring that would be required to break a record..

Little Paul - - Parent

I seem to remember Albert Lucas was using specially made titanium rings for his record attempts because they're lighter and more stable than standard rings.

Of course, that memory is from ejc 2000 so shouldn't be trusted...

ejwysz - - Parent

I remember hearing that too.

Mïark - - Parent

I was also at Abert Lucas's pre non-record attempt presentation at EJC 2000 and agree anything said there shouldn't be trusted. The worst abuse of science was the statement that by giving the juggling rings an aerofoil profile gave them more lift.

But for titanium juggling rings to be as light as plastic ones they would need to be 0.3mm thick* (about as thick as 3 pieces of paper) which would slice your fingers off (also titanium isn't very elastic and would deform from being dropped (like an aluminium spinning plate)).

[assuming density of titanium 4.5g/cc, ring dia 32cm, plastic ring weight 130g]

^Tom_ - - Parent

I think that's a bit exaggerated - although I don't have the exact density of the plastic used for rings, nor do I have the exact dimensions of a ring handy to calculate it.

Density of titanium ~4.5g/cc
Density of plastic ~1 g/cc

Therefore thickness of a solid ring would be about 1/4.5 the thickness.

Solid plastic rings tend to be between 3mm and 5mm thick, therefore our titanium ring is now going to be about 1mm thick.
Of course this can easily be made thicker by:
1) making the ring thinner cut out a larger diameter circle.
2) making the ring hollow
3) making the ring heavier
4) thickening the edges (think I-girder, such that the bits which make contact with hands are thicker than those that don't).

The aerofoil story does sound a little suspect, but I'm not going to rule it out entirely. While rings are affected by aerodynamics such that the top of a fountain pattern can be much wider than the base, I can't think of any way in which a wing shape can help... anyone else got any ideas?

peterbone - - Parent

Albert's titanium rings have holes cut out all the way around to reduce weight. He also wears gloves while using them. Remember also that he's using a holster, which I think holds 6 rings, so there's not much weight in the hands at the start. Increasing the weight of the rings slightly could enable you to throw them higher since the inertia can overcome air resistance more (think about throwing a table tennis ball vs a golf ball).

ejwysz - - Parent

Ah, there's the answer.

ejwysz - - Parent

Yep. I've definitely thought about this. Which made me think they might be some sort of alloy, or even be hollow. But then again, who would have the money to design that, especially for what would be likely such a tiny performance increase.

lukeburrage - - Parent

I don't believe Lucas is lying about flashing 14 rings, only that he got it on video. Now he's stuck trying to get it on video again, and can't, so it's going to come back and bite him. I managed just one 12 ball flash in my life, so I know the frustrating feeling of not having recorded your best.

Chris - - Parent

I've considered this before. I'm procrastinating, so time for some wildly inaccurate number crunching.

Throw height will be a limitation, which would be determined by force on a ball. This paper found that the highest force of an underarm throw of the Aligarh University cricket team was 4936 N. This is likely to be a huge overestimation for juggling, but as we are going for an absolute upper limit for numbers juggling, this will do.

Mass of the prop will be a limit, and a lighter ball will be able to go higher. The lightest ball that The Bag Lady makes is 58 g. A force of 4936 N on 58 g leads to an acceleration of 85 km/s^2. If accelerated through 30 cm, this leads to a launch velocity of 160 m/s (which leads to the ball being airborne for 32.6 s (holy shit)).

With an acceleration of 160 m/s, you could throw a ball 133 times per second (heh), meaning that the upper limit for ball juggling would be 4330 balls.

I reckon that might be a slight overestimation though...

peterbone - - Parent

I think you're failing to take several things into account. The weight of the arm is the main one, which is many times heavier than a ball. This is why simply reducing ball weight will only help to a point. It will also greatly reduce throw accuracy. Air resistance also has a greater affect on a lighter ball.

Chris - - Parent

*pssst* none of that is supposed to be taken seriously

peterbone - - Parent

Also, I don't see how you get 133 throws per second? You refer to 160 m/s as acceleration when you said previously that it's the launch velocity.

Mïark - - Parent

I think there is a difference between a cricket throw where you have several seconds to contemplate and build up to the throw,and juggling where you have a split second to decelerate the ball from almost the speed you launched it with and then throw it again.

Orinoco - - Parent

Regarding a limit to perceiving objects I don't think this needs to be considered, partly because of the reasons Peter states but also because I don't think you need to. When I juggle 7 balls I just try to line the balls up so the next ball follows (or improves upon) the trajectory of the one before, so I'm only ever thinking about two lines (one coming into each hand) rather than x number of props.

7b_wizard - - Parent

#numbers #limitsOfJuggling #holsters #multiplexing #FutureOfJuggling
answering the thread and recent peterbone's: " talking about pure numbers, then I think that the skill has now become pretty much limited by strength and physics rather than being limited by the mindset required to learn it. I don't think we'll be seeing a significantly higher level at the top in 20 years, but the average level may increase."
As little I know of >=9b-numbers, but by only figuring out how numbers juggling could be optimized, I believe, that some things haven't been tried yet:
a) let go of any sort of holsters, then someone who feels comfortable at passing might have an advantage, when they get the props fed - be it by a passing machine - or given into the hand in the precise way needed by an assistant?
b) dwell-time can be reduced by using rackets (which is uncommon way to juggle), e.g. squashballs with pingpong rackets, allowing for lower pattern with smaller distances between balls and small scoop?
c) I believe, a 12b-[9ab][22]2 can be done continously at the speed, height and feel of a 5b cascade?
.. all provided this is someone's speciality andor starts at young age ..
.. but maybe that's wishful thinking a lot :o)
I'm thinking of a level of juggling like in other top-sports where like Federer puts little weights to his racket, or swimmers wear sharkskin, .. lukeburrage uses wristweights(? -bands?), Gatto - I'm sure - is on perfection aswell with any util he uses, Ty Tojo has own grippy (sort of golfball-)design balls, stuff like that .. such things are maybe exotic and still rare and individually thought out .. and I don't know how many jugglers in the world are on such highest level, but I believe it is becoming more and there will be surprises.
Finally, I believe or that's the way I look upon it .. Juggling will always be 'open to the top' .. due to its complexity of possible combinations of skills ( + props + movements + gimmicks + new ideas + techniques + + + ) where not the mere number or difficulty of a siteswap only will determine the 'value' of juggling acts & performances. Thk 4 Ur attention! :o])

peterbone - - Parent

a) I personally don't count pure juggling records using holsters, so I definitely wouldn't count records using additional people or machines. If we're talking about using them simply as a training technique then maybe, but the launch is really the hard bit with numbers so I'm not sure you'd see much benefit.
b) That would be much harder. With no hold time you're unable to scoop to avoid collisions and are less able to make corrections. Aiming would be much harder. Also consider that with reduced dwell time there are more balls in the air at any one time and so more chances of collisions. You also have to solve the problem of how to start. The only benefit would be height with less effort, but with that comes more accuracy problems. Having said all that, I wouldn't count it anyway as an official record because I'd count it as an artificial aid.
c) 12b Multiplexing can't be compared to 12b non-multiplexing. They're completely different things. I don't consider multiplexing as a part of pure numbers juggling.

Using aids in tennis is different because the raquette is already an integral part of the game. I think of pure juggling as consisting of only the juggler and the props being juggled. Changes to the prop design is fine, but that can only take you so far and I think it's already close to optimal.

Regarding juggling as a performance, I do expect to see surprising innovations in the future.

EricS -

7 Balls after 40?

I'm 47 years old, and now working on 7 balls. i learned to do 5 balls in my late 20's in grad school, and I kept on juggling, but never worked on numbers very seriously. i kinda/sorta flashed 7 beanbags (dropped the last one out of my hands) twice in my late 20's, but did nothing after that.

Flash forward 20-some years, and I'm juggling with other folks again, and this has led to some renewed motivation. My buddy made me 7 Russians, and a few months ago, I flashed 7 balls, catching them all clean. I've done it once more since then, and a few near misses with a clear pattern going up.

So here's my question: While I know some jugglers juggle 7 balls after the age of 40, I know of no one that *learned* to juggle 7 *after* the age of 40. I don't know if I'm running up against some physical limit here, atrophied nerve/"quick twitch" synapses (I think I got that term from Boppo, way back when). So, any of our juggling historians (or anyone else) know of anyone who got 7 after 40?

Anonymous - - Parent

I know someone who first flashed seven over age 40.  I do remember reading of someone over the age of 30 learning a minute of it, but he said it nearly consumed his life.

ejwysz - - Parent

This is something I've been thinking about a TON. I'm 24, and even I fear that my juggling prime may come soon/might be already gone. But then I remember one article I read about... (it was so long ago that I can't remember)... some old-time female juggler who got interviewed and threw up 8 objects at a very old (70-80) age with no problem, juggling them like it was nothing.

Now, that is just redoing a skill already learned at a younger age, I know, but I think it speaks volumes. In my opinion, someone could pick up 3 for his very first time at 60, and still learn to juggle 7 before he was 70.

To me it looks like you're doing much better with 7 than you did in your twenties. Doesn't that progress speak for itself? You've got this. The question I feel like you need to be asking yourself is if you'll be too old to juggle 9 when the time comes.

emilyw - - Parent

I suspect the physical limit might be known as "having children".

lukeburrage - - Parent

At 34 I'm waaaaaaay better at juggling than I was at 24. Fucked up human memory still catches me out though, and I think I used to be better, and now I'm not so good. Until I try tricks I couldn't do 10 years ago, and get them pretty easily. Or try to break a record, and get it after just a few days. This happens time and time again, and yet I never seem to learn.

7 balls isn't outside of your physical limits. It's hard, but you won't inure yourself (not like I keep doing trying 10 and 12 balls). Everything you've learned over the last 20 years will feed back in and it will be easier to progress to your natural plateau with your current history of improvement experience.

EricS - - Parent

Yes, thanks, Luke, for this. I think I practice *smarter* now (partly because I have to with other life commitments, but more importantly because it *is* smarter), and I think I certainly see that improvement in other areas of juggling, if not (so clearly yet) in my numbers work.

Orinoco - - Parent

Learning when you are older can also have its advantages. How is your patience & attention span compared to the you of 20 years ago?

EricS - - Parent

To combine some responses here, I thank everyone for the insights and encouragement. Too old for 9? Yes, I think I'll "stop" at 7, please :)

Attention span? Probably lower, I have kids :)

Okay, really, I think my focus is better, so my practices are probably better. And having kids and other commitments means I have to (at least try) to make my practice time more efficient. I learned 5 like most of us probably did in our 20's, lots of time and brute force practicing. And while I'd love a solid hour every day to just juggle (I take my seven ball runs in about 15 minute increments, then go and do something else for a while), I know that's not realistic with my life.

Thanks all for the encouragement, I'm actually heading off to juggling club now!

EricS - - Parent

Well, all-righty then.... Back from juggling club:

While I wish I could say I picked up my 7 Russians and ran 20+ catches today...I cannot. Best was 6 catches, dropping one out of my hand as I caught the last ball. The patterns were tight and crisp in the air, mostly, though.

The big news is that for the heck of it I started tossing 6 balls up in a sync pattern. Previous best had been 8 catches, but this was starting to come in nice and clean. Inside of 10 minutes I counted out 17 throws (dropped one before I could throw it). Realizing I clearly had a qualifying run, but no idea how many catches, I tried again.

14 catches, the first time I've ever qualified 6 balls, ever. Yay! :)

The Void - - Parent

And I add my voice to the chorus of encouragement: You can clearly run 7, with some work. Go for it!

MikeBanks - - Parent

Just a quick tip:

If your goal is to run 7 balls work on 8 and 9 throws more than you work on flashes. This way you start practicing *exchanges* in the pattern rather than only launching and collecting.

(You could argue that the last two throws of a flash are exchanges already, but it is possible to rush them. The next throws after the flash are not possible to rush since they are the first balls you threw - and you have to wait for them to fall before you can throw them again. Because of this, practicing 8 and 9 throws helps to achieve a seamless join between your flash and your pattern.)

EricS - - Parent

Interesting idea, I've never seen that before, but I see the concept. Thanks for the tip!

Brook Roberts - - Parent

I saw a post somewhere a long time ago from Wes, who at the time was often practising 7 club clean flashes and qualifies. He came to the conclusion that not only were the flashes not helping either his longer runs or his qualifies, but that they were actually making him worse, and mostly dropped them from his practice.

I imagine it varies, and this might be more approriate when you're getting runs of patterns, but I agree that once you get to the qualify stage they are massively more useful than practising flashes.

Mike Moore - - Parent

This is one of the many examples of things I've read and forgotten. Thank you for the reminder.

peterbone - - Parent

Yes, if you're not pushing yourself to failure each time then you won't improve. I'd recommend the book 'bounce, the myth of talent and the power of practice', which talks about this and several other training tips that can be applied to juggling.

This is especially true of doing flashes because a flash is very different to longer runs. It's possible to cheat the timing, which will have a negative effect on longer runs.

Little Paul - - Parent

I've always thought of it from the point of view that with a flash you're practising the launch, and the collect, but neither of those are all that helpful for the bit in the middle, as you say - due to the timing being less critical and because errors don't have a chance to compound themselves.

Would a better approach be a mixture of "run it to you drop" and "short-medium runs with a clean collect" so that you work all three aspects of the pattern?

peterbone - - Parent

Yes, I think that occasionally working on the collect is good as well. Especially for performers.

Brook Roberts - - Parent

I think the point I take is that if you do a flash, you do practice the launch, and the collect, but you can do a funny timing that won't be useful for launching longer runs. So not only are you not practising the exchanges, but you are practising bad launches, and actively making your job harder when you try for harder runs.

If you practise clean qualifies, it doesn't have to be pushing yourself (you may just be solidifying for performance) but you are drilling launches and collects, but ensuring they are suitable launches for runs. And you get the benefit of practising exchanges.

emilyw - - Parent

I always mixed in "aim for X catches with clean collect" (with increasing X) because I felt it focused my attention much more on what happens as things start to go wonky, and less on training myself to catch all kinds of wacky shit, which is a useful skill, but I feel like it's not a good thing to train at the same time as training to just throw that stuff properly in the first place.

Also running 20 catches (but half of them all over the place and then you fall on your head) is cheating yourself in some sense, in the same way as training the wrong timing in a flash.

7b_wizard - - Parent

answering "(cheating) timing" - Not only the timing, but also everything else needed to keep a pattern up for a few periods: the right height, apt (most `relaxed´ possible) posture, the needed (technique for) speedyness of the throw-time and its ratioes to the dwelltime and to beat-rhythm .. you get none of those with throwing 7 up far ahead of your body, spaced inconsistently and way too much on whatever height, with effort on these few throws of after all pretty light props, and with huge or tiny scoop, then catching them all somehow. That's why focussing on doing accurate throw 8.-th & 9.-th - even there has been a drop already - are so important to get over flashing and into qualifying as soon as one can.

7b_wizard - - Parent

Also, launching and collecting use up most effort and body tension and have a different focus .. like starting and braking a run, while the running itself is constant, easier, fluent, enduring.

pompboy - - Parent

Hi Eric,

My tale is similar to yours, except I am 48 and I didn't learn to juggle 5 until I was 44 years old(took 9 months of consistent 20 minutes a day on average practice, but, now I can pretty much pick up 5 cold and run for 100+ catches). You are not too old for 7, I have qualified 7 3 or 4 times now since I started in earnest trying to get better at 6 and tackle 7 about a year and a half ago. It is definitely slow going, but, us old geezer jugglers can indeed learn new tricks!!

Good Juggling and I look forward to hearing about your progress!!

cheers - Warren

EricS - - Parent

Warren, thanks for this post! This is an inspiring note.

friedbr - - Parent

Hi, Eric. I'm 45, have learned 3b cascade with 41, 5b cascade with 42, and wish to learn 7b cascade (and 5 club too) soon. Juggle has been like a life revolution. Children are not a problem: I have 13 - yes, a big family.

Orinoco - - Parent

Have you tried 14?

/obligatory joke

7b_wizard - - Parent

haha lol ( fountain, wimpy or sideswap? ;o]) °gg° )

answering EricS_@ : .. the crucial thing is to catch up in rhythm ( / stroke tact / pulse ) of the 7b pattern with two more balls' dwell-time ! i.e. - into some physicals - the  r a t i o  of height per tact - as well known and used to from 5 ball casc - is either higher for the same given tact-speed or vice versa a faster tact for a given height. And that is not yet accounting for varying lengths of the dwell-time: with a short dwell-time, you can juggle the pattern lower, yet faster .. AND still have more time between the throws for slightly correcting and mastering the pattern (the mere ratio being the same as the pattern done higher & slower).
U have to overcome the the 'instinct' of going for 5b height-speed-ratio. (lots of only a few minutes preliminairies e.g. varying 5b casc in any way can get U independent of such fixed, maybe unconscious, focusses)

Loosen Ur wrists. Don't throw from the palms, but from a basket of the fingers. That will give a lever to Ur throws, a stronger momentum to the balls, and U can throw higher with less effort ! Aiming & precision is then a little more difficult and feels different in the beginning and will take a week or two to fairly get used to, but the reward will soon be an easy, comfortable, fluent ('flowing' lol) & effortless juggling style.

At Ur level it's very important to go for the first balls juggled thoroughly i.e. continue with a caught ball (not thrown from starthand) i.e. go for 9, then 11 catches and focus on these throws aimed well at their height or slightly above (not into the clouds for the sake of having them done). U can even practise that trying to stay in a rhythm with already one or two balls dropped if these didn't make a gap into the remaining pattern.

Good luck & wishing U a 7b qualify in .. say three or four weeks .. greets the 7b_wannabe_wizard

gantenbein - - Parent

Hi Eric,

I realize that I'm answering a somewhat dated thread, but I only (re-)discovered TheJugglingEdge today, realizing that apparently all the discussions that used to occur on rec.juggling are now happening here :-).

My history is also very similar to yours. Learned to juggle somewhere in my late teens/ early twenties, stopped juggling for 18 years and started again when I was ~36 years old.

My goal is also to learn 7 balls and as you can see from my 7 ball records log it's been going VERY SLOW for me. Nonetheless I believe that it's possible to learn 7 balls for old chaps like us with a lot of dedication and patience.

I personally also get encouragement exchanging my experiences with others in a similar situation, hence I was very happy to read your post.

I currently feel that I might be able to break the wall that I've banging my had against for the last few month, but it remains to be seen whether this feeling is correct :-).

Here's a link to a small clip I posted on YouTube hoping to get some advice on how to improve.

Maybe posting the link here will give me a few more responses :-).

Good luck with 7 - it's possible! :-)

gantenbein - - Parent

BTW: I'm 48 now :-)

7b_wizard - - Parent

before juggling:
Your stand is very straight. Maybe try and bend knees (but I don't think, that's crucial or even necessary, dunno)

You launch from slow well-placed throws, getting faster then, hurrying the last three throws. Your launch seems perfect, well-spaced and it mostly gets you into a well-shaped, good jugglable pattern. Yet ..

first thoroughly juggled throws 8.-th, 9.-th a.s.o. throws / transition into thoroughly juggled pattern / qualify:
.. yet few tries go fail by lack of time to correct in that few throws transition phase (your launch comes with the need to get the next throws to the point with no extra millliseconds for correcting). - Maybe `play´ a bit with speed andor height or with slightly different whole launch rhythms to provide for tiny extra time for a comfortable transition into qualify & endure-pattern?

juggled pattern after launch + transition:
You seem to keep up the well-shaped, well-spaced pattern at a good reasonable height pretty frequently, when launch & transition went well.
Your posture, arms & elbows look very good, relaxed, and you juggle near the body (sparing effort).
Your clearly scooping, circling with hands how i think it should be.
Your pattern is not too narrow, not too wide - it doesn't even seem to drift anywhere, neither in space towards or away from one hand, or ahead, nor in matters of asynch timing going synch or alike, nor into different heights going halfshower or so. Only a tendency to turn on place.
Your dwelltime seems to just fit and be right apt to the point melting with the succeeding pattern's rhythm. (but see below, "endure").
You lack accurracy throwing the constant height, which can be seen watching the highest area, the top of all your patterns.
Still, you're more reacting than acting - I have the impression - and you're somewhat hurrying after the pattern, lacking extra time to cope with outbreakers and corrections of flawly throws (?) .. maybe .. hard to tell.

You get longer runs of 20+, 25 .. when everything fits perfect.
After 20-25-30 throws maybe somewhat more effort, maybe finding into a steady solid rhythm, maybe keeping concentration and focus steadily up, come into account. This is where any extra time for correcting, controlling and mastering the pattern (and not vice versa) becomes very precious. Outbreakers and correcting flaws now cost a lot of effort and tear your pattern down with one throw. Trying to recover with only one high throw will only worsen the displaced shape (five, six or upto seven or more throws to greater height would be necessary to save the shape by throwing higher).

Your pattern, posture, juggling, rhythm, spacing all seem okay, except for accurracy of constant height.
What you need for recovering from outbreakers or flawful throws, is single speedy yet accurate correction throws that more or less instantly find back into pattern (desirably doing several consecutive speedy corrective throws like that).
You can train this e.g. with 5b at 7- or 9-height or more (for accurracy on the height) and 5b lower & faster (providing for speedy throwing and faster thinking), together these will provide for the capacity of doing speedy (AND) accurate correction throws, and also make you feel haimish at doing a constant height (and throwing distinct different heights up there) aswell.

[ #7balls #videoanalysis #analysis #cascade #endurance #numbers ]

7b_wizard - - Parent

I'm also not sure if you are not grasping the balls with the whole hand while juggling, using up lots of forearms' effort. With the balls merely touching the palm, juggled from a basket of the fingers, casually only sustained by the thumb, you get an unlike stronger lever .. = higher throws + with less effort + at a shorter dwell-time.

EricS - - Parent

Wow, a good day to check the Edge!

Thanks for the notes and encouragement, guys. That was an inspiring video, absolutely.

I like the "basket" idea, IIRC, Gatto's 7b tutorial seems to suggest that the catches aren't really "catches," but this kind of redirection. I do know my runs seem to be getting more consistent. I can really "see" the pattern. I do need to keep the pace and height up, though, that's been the trouble right now.

I haven't got past 9 throws, though I've been remiss with my 7 balls. I have been working on a 4 torch fountain this summer, but should get more 7 ball time when winter comes and I can no longer practice outside.

gantenbein - - Parent


also true. I come however from the opposite end of the spectrum. Before I started with 7 and was any good at 5 I grasped the balls with my fingertips, which as you can imagine is not working at all. The slightest inaccuracy will instantly lead to a drop. It took me a long time to retrain myself to catches closer to the palm. Maybe I've gone a bit too far now :-).


7b_wizard - - Parent

queer, and interesting .. I either tried that and rejected it as being - what you say - too hard, or else in need of having to throw an erroneous catch incidentally landed like that in my fingertips (or any fork or thumb to pinky or or).   But, .. anything "impossible" is always also a potential challenge and surely would look cool .. (yet for unlike more time and work to have to invest for the hard stuff).

gantenbein - - Parent


thanks a lot for this very comprehensive analysis!

And yes, I think you are spot on with the height/accuracy bit. I'm embarrassingly bad at maintaining a high five ball cascade. I will put more focus on this as you suggest.

Thanks again!


7b_wizard - - Parent

yw, glad you found it strike your concern with 7b!

.. this very moment - reading - it strikes me, that aiming throws in most (ball)sports (tennis, golf, darts, frisbee-golf, baseball, handball, boule, ..) is done  a t  a   t a r g e t ! Or a target area or else as far, as you can (disk, javelin, hammer, ..) . Hitting that target is the task, but rarely (billiards, pool, also boule, ..) also controlling the thrown ball  a f t e r  the hit. - So, no wonder throwing at a distinct height (empty air) is unlikely more .. erhh 'void'? lol .. more abstract an aim to throw at, thus more difficult by nature. - Maybe throwing at a low ceiling or hitting it only very slightly, or throwing through a vertically hung up ring is generally an idea to get used to dosing well the little power laid in a throw at empty target.

[ #aiming #heights ]

gantenbein - - Parent

Funny you mentioned that, because I very recently discovered that my throws get significantly better (nowhere near good though) if I try to aim at the receiving hand. Not directly of course, it's more like keeping the target (the receiving hand) in the back of my mind while throwing upwards towards the crossing point or the top of the pattern.

So in juggling we probably need to do both, throwing upwards to a point in empty air as you put it and hitting a target as well, albeit somewhat latter. In other words: We still need to throw the ball at a target, but in a way that gives us some time to do something else (like throwing more balls :-) ) before the ball arrives there.

emead - - Parent

Hey EricS! When I read your post, I felt like I was looking in the mirror.... I am also named Eric and juggling 7 balls at (almost) 47 years old.

I know your post is 2 years old, but I hope you reply to this as I'd like to hear how things are going now.

For myself, I can tell you, I had almost the EXACT same experience as you -- 5 balls at 20 with an attempted flash of 7... never serious until 5 years ago (2012 or so). Funny.. I look back and remember that I was CONVINCED that if I just had about 2 weeks of everyday juggling, that I'd be able to get it. This wishful thinking was based on how long it took to get from a 5-ball flash to a reasonable 30 catch run.

Wow... was I wrong. Again, like you, flash (no pun intended) forward 25 years, and I started getting serious. Moved somewhere warm, so I could practice year-round (no 30-foot ceilings in my apartment). Well.... 5 years later, I'm at a reasonable 30 catch with a personal record of a sloppy 60 catch twice. It has definitely turned out to be the hardest things I've ever tried.

So... in case you're still working on it... there's hope for sure! I feel like I've turned a corner in the past month, as I am going at it daily now, but I can tell you, the improvements come so much slower than they did when I was 20 working on 5 balls... SO much slower. Seems like it takes weeks to add just a couple more to my runs.

Anyway, love to hear your progress and anyone else interested to share their over-40 story (boy, I never thought I'd be saying that... )!!

(I started a post to the forum looking to gather together over-40 7-ball jugglers -- join that thread if you can since this one is kinda old and less specific.)

Yves Bolognini - - Parent

Hello over-40 jugglers,

I'm a newcomer here at the Edge... I found this thread via Google and that's because of it that I signed up.

I'm 43, I learned 5-ball cascade 20+ year ago, then I stopped training (why, oh why?!). I started again last year and now my 5-ball is pretty solid. Last week I took my first juggling class with a professional and I regularly juggle around one hour a day.

And yes, I dream of 7 balls.

Little Paul - - Parent

Oh god.

I've been reading these posts over the last couple of weeks, but only just this morning remembered I'm 40.

I don't know why it's taken this long for it to click tha you're not talking about "old people" you're talking about me, and all my juggling mates that I met through juggling 15-20 years ago, and who are still mates that I see at festivals throughout the year.

Well, almost. I don't really juggle much any more, but quite a lot of them do..,

Kelhoon - - Parent

I was 40 when I met Void and you and other Bristolians in person before (after ?) EJC 2006.

I need to do more work on my 5 to get decent runs, but I don't think I'll ever even start on 6 or 7.

So all you young blokes over 40 doing 7, good on ya, but I'll stay over here in the 5 over 50 club.

To be fair, I didn't even learn to juggle until my late 30s.

Little Paul - - Parent

Blimey, was that really over a decade ago?

Kelhoon - - Parent

'twas indeed

lukeburrage - - Parent

I noticed my previous reply started with "At 34 I'm waaaaaaay better at juggling than I was at 24" and I just turned 37. This is the first age I feel more "almost 40" than "mid 30's" and that's partly down to how much more effort I have to put in to feeling young and healthy. I'll join in this thread again in three years time and update you on my seven ball juggling.

Meanwhile, here's a (long) video I made to answer a question by Matthew Tiffany:

EricS - - Parent

Thanks all! I was back here looking some stuff up for the IJA (I am a new Board Member) and was pleasantly surprised to see this thread come up.

@emead: to answer your question, my 6 balls is coming in fairly well, with a consistent 8-10 catches and an occasional qualifying run.

7 still eludes me, though it doesn't take me long to get to 5-6 catches. The flash and more is still difficult, though that's more because I've been working on 5 ball tricks and 6 balls rather than working on 7 balls, but I got back into it last week really since a good practice space has opened up.

I'm inspired by your progress, though, Eric! I'm going to have to get back on the regimen!


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