# How do you count the number of catches?

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trebuchet -

How do you count the number of catches?

I personally find it highly distracting, but looking at the records on the website (reaching up to 5 digits) makes me wonder and hope that everybody isn't watching themselves on video.

When counting while juggling, do you follow a single ball in cascades/fountains, for example adding 5 every time you catch the tracked ball in a 5 ball cascade?

Keeping track of cycles when doing siteswaps, and converting to catches later, seems simplest. Is that the practice?

loganstafman - - Parent

For my 5-ball cascade, I have a song that I sing in my head that takes 40 catches to complete. I count how many times I make it through the song. I actually lose concentration on long runs and can't get very far if I DON'T count. I guess it's a personal thing.

varkor - - Parent

Like with most things, different people will use different methods. For patterns with a higher period, counting cycles is definitely one method, and probably the easiest for those kinds of patterns. For regular patterns (e.g. cascade and fountain), however, it's very possible to count each catch, as long as you do it modulo some relatively low number. I count in 20s, and keep track of how many times I've got a set of 20. Actually remembering how many sets you've achieved is the hardest part, but it becomes second-nature after a little practice.

^Tom_ - - Parent

I fully concur.
I've counted in 20s since I used to do a lot of outdoor walking on featureless foggy bogs.
Compass bearing + step counting was the only way to end up where we needed to be, but counting in sets of 100m (63 left feet for me at the time) could take too much breath and energy to count accurately.

20 worked out as a nice compromise between a large base, such that the count of sets wasn't hard to remember (or could be held on a hand), whilst avoiding all the excess syllables of having to think out the numbers 21+.

If it works well when you're cold, wet, exhausted, and dehydrated - then it's a good choice for me for counting when juggling.

For cascades and fountains, I typically count in 2s. Some years ago my 5b cascade record was arbitrarily stuck at about 60 for a long time - I'd been counting in 1s or 5s (or 10s). I switched to counting in 2s, and in 2 runs my record had gone ~100,~200.
Now I'm getting used to counting in 4s for 5c and it seems to be helping.

If you're going to count in 2s (or another even number), then think about which hand you want to be counting.
I reverted to starting both cascades and fountains with my right hand, as now all of the even numbered catches are throws which came from my left hand. I find this helps me to pay better attention to the throws from my weaker hand.

trebuchet - - Parent

I tried counting throws for the last few days and the results are good!

Being forced to constantly pay attention to what I'm doing, it's much harder for my mind to wander off. I barely perceive the songs in the background.

It is much easier to distinguish good from bad runs, and gradually increasing the goal for each run results in a more perceptible progress.

Cascades are still giving me trouble though, my usual tempo is too fast to use numbers above 10 (in Croatian), which makes me get lost on the sets count. By the time I remember where I left off, I already make another 10 throws.
Counting every second throw, affects the symmetry of the pattern, regardless of which hand I'm tracking. I guess I need some more practice.

IsaacDraper - - Parent

I have the last ball I throw (in a cascade) a different colour. If I'm doing five then every time I see the odd ball I've done five throws. It's fairly rough as sometimes but I find it much easier to count it in fives.

^Tom_ - - Parent

I'm not fluent in Croatian unfortunately, but the main reason that I chose 20 as my counting length is that in English, the names of the numbers up to 20 are shorter than those over 20. And beyond that, I've developed a way of shortening the numbers as I say them - Seventeen, for example, has 3 syllables when I say it out loud, but approximately 1 syllable when I count in my head.

As for the comment about asymmetry - given that one of my hands is stronger than the other and can somewhat run on autopilot anyway, I've never found much problem with only counting one hand's catches.
However, the amount of time you can save by not counting every catch, but every 2, 4, 5 or 10, is pretty big, and, at least for me, helps to keep relaxed, helps with breathing, and gives me more mental effort to focus on the pattern.

trebuchet - - Parent

I feel like giving some feedback now that I've been counting for a few weeks. I've also got a couple of questions.

I got used to tracking each throw in cascades and fountains. Using a base of 20s works good, I don't really pronounce any number anymore, it's more like thinking of them.

Knowing the exact count won't provide much more benefit than knowing a rough estimate, at least to me. I'm often not sure of the number of sets I've done anyway, and always go for the lower number, which probably leads to a significant set loss.

Also, I fully concur that longer runs are impossible without counting. I get the feeling I've been running for ages when in fact I rarely reach hundreds.

Now for the questions:
1. Do you count 0s and 2s in siteswaps?
2. Do you count in pairs of throws when juggling synchronously? If so, it's more like a count of successful beats than catches (which leads to a positive answer to the first question).

JackJuggles - - Parent

For my four ball I just time myself, although for five balls I am not as good. And since I use different coloured hackey sacks, which actually work quite well, the best deal for your money, I just count every time the black ball reached one hand it is five catches, although this may not work with nicer balls

7b_wizard - - Parent

[off topic:] hacky sacks are pretty small .. you have better control with normal size balls (that's because like three fingers can do the aiming whereas with hacky sacks it's only one or two) Hacky sacks (small balls) do have the advantage of needing less space on their orbits and collide less. I believe you can improve your 5b by using normal size balls (aswell, as just part of your practise trying them out).

Mats1 - - Parent

For siteswaps I keep track of completed (all caught) cycles.

For runs of other patterns or pure numbers, I count right hand catches only and add one at the end if my right hand was the one that missed a catch.

7b_wizard - - Parent

strong (right) hand's throws after six start throws 7b cascade:
.. hop .. hop .. hop .. hep (one) .. hop .. hop .. hop .. hep (two) .. a.s.o. divided by 8 minus one lacking left at end (last throw always from right hand) plus six for the start :o] (wristband would be great here).
Or: oiyjoiyjoiyyeahyj(one) aso. (like that blind immobile priest-wizard in world of warcraft lol)
It's more a mantra than counting. I don't always count (7b), 5b only when doing endurance .. with or without mantra, which is partly unconscious: sometimes - with 7b forced(?) andor hurried(?), I (unwillingly) fall into a 6s-tact, then divide by six -1 + start. Then again, when really wanting to keep that pattern alive, I fall into rythm of a mantra with short sequences going with (doing / couting /mantra-ing) every throw (while actually counting 2s in sets of 8), I haven't fully found out yet, how to count these.
I thus agree with varkor, that counting those sets (of a mantra) is the unobvious part of counting.
Focussing on the aiming area to feed with balls, I don't think, it's a good idea to follow one ball on its orbit through the pattern .. that is nice when you master a pattern by heart, but I find distracting when having to keep the pattern up.
For siteswaps, I guess I'd (usually don't count these very much) just count how often it went to one side, i.e. in cycles.

Mike Moore - - Parent

I count in groups of eight for patterns I don't think I'll run long (20-40 catches) and 16 for patterns I think I'll run longer (40-200 catches). I don't count catches after ~200, I go by time then.

(Which is why it's frustrating that there's no time option in the records section. I don't want to count catches for minutes! But that conversation's been had.)

It's Him - - Parent

If you know how many catches you are doing per minute then you can give a pretty good estimate of the number of catches if you know the time. After all these records aren't in any way official so are are only as good as the honesty of the juggler.
Nigel

Mike Moore - - Parent

"If you know how many catches you are doing per minute then you can give a pretty good estimate of the number of catches if you know the time."

Sure, but that amount of effort creeps over my tolerance for keeping records on this site. It's just enough trouble to be not worth the benefit of being able to compare to others jugglers who post their records (to me).

Orinoco - - Parent

There is too a time option in the records section. A few examples:

01:01:01 5b = 1 hour 1 minute 1 second
03:20 5b = 3 minutes 20 seconds
0:25 5b = 25 seconds
2:15 5b = 2 minutes 15 seconds
0:5 5b = 5 seconds
1h10m5s 5b = 1 hour 10 minutes 5 seconds
5m 5b = 5 minutes
20s 5b = 20 seconds

Mike Moore - - Parent

Ah, useful! Could this be added to https://jugglingedge.com/help/tossformat.php (or is it somewhere else?)?

Orinoco - - Parent

It's lumped together with the note about custom measures in the small print under catches, which should probably be split into separate sections & listed under a more descriptive heading of 'measurements' or something similar. Will have a proper think about how best to present it after I've caught up with things a bit.

7b_wizard - - Parent

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