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Workshop page 2 (of 3)
Extend page 1 into your first trick; the windshieldwiper


Well, since you are now reading section two of this workshop, I must conclude that you can successfully hold and toss the ball from the back of both your hands. In chapter 1 you were teached to balance the ball on the back of your hand, near your finger tips. From now on I would like you to hold the ball in a similar way but now you support the ball positioned more towards the back of your hand (the picture shows where).

The two middle joints of the index- and ring finger will prevent the ball from rolling off to your finger tips and the base joint of your middle finger stops it from rolling onto the back of your hand. This position is called 'the cradle'. Holding the ball here will accomplish a nice long roll (first onto your finger tips then over the tips onto the palm of your hand) in the move you're about to learn.

Try the balancing and throwing as you did in chapter 1 (holding your arm horizontal in front of your chest) in this new 'cradle' position. You probably won't have any trouble doing so.


click here for a larger image


click here for a larger image

The next small step is holding the ball in the palm of your hand on shoulder height, outside of your body.

Same things again, roll the ball around a bit in this position. Throw and catch, first low, then higher. Practice the other hand in the same manner.
And try throwing it in a nice arc from one hand into the other, make sure you don't close your hand around the ball while catching it !
Closing the hand around the ball is the biggest no-no in Contact Juggling [next to throwing the ball   :-)  for now that's permitted since your learning] . Why is grabbing the ball 'not done' in CJ? Well, the audience can't see the ball when you hide it in your hand.


Now comes the difficult part in this chapter !

Start with the ball in the cradle and throw the ball up, not more as 1/2 a meter (1.5 foot), but instead of throwing it straight up you throw it slightly out to the side. As the ball is in the air you move your arm to the palm up outside position and catch the ball there. And back again, from the outside to the inside position.
Since it is easier to roll the ball from the cradle into the throw than it is to throw from a halt you'll soon use that method, which is good! You're one step closer towards the end product.

This rolling throw is done as followed; As you move your hand upwards to throw the ball you also tilt your hand upwards (or the hand stays in one straight line with your arm). The ball will then roll from the cradle into the fingertip cradle (see chapter 1) and will leave the hand from that position. Now follow the ball with your hand as it is airborne, keeping the wrist straight (this looks like the movement of the windshield wiper of a car). And catch the ball in a similar rolling way; the ball first touches your finger tips. At that moment you bend your wrist so that the hand moves from a position straight in one line with your arm to the horizontal outside hold. While the ball slows to a stop in the palm of your hand.
Going back is done in the same manner, roll the ball from the palm to the finger tips while moving the hand upwards, the ball leaves the hand, you follow with your arm in the windshield manner and catch the ball first in the fingertip cradle and then let it roll out into the normal cradle to a stop.


Click here for an Animated GIF video

While doing all this you must have wondered: "Why do I throw the ball? I thought the art of Contact Juggling was to not let the ball leave my body."
You are absolutely right!
So stop throwing the ball.

click here for an Animated GIF video


Apply less force to the ball as it leaves your finger tips and the ball will not get high into the air. You can now simply make the windshield movement right under the ball so that (-it seems that?-) the ball is still in contact with the tip of your middle finger as the ball is at the top of the arc.
Repeat this movement, from the cradle to the outside palm up position and back again.


Yeah! You've got your first trick! Go and impress you relatives with this great feat!
And as you might have guessed, it is called 'the windshield wiper'.


Of course you have also practiced all the above in your -not so good- hand haven't you? So now you are just as fluent with your right hand as you are with your left with the windshield wiper move.
You say, your still not so good with the other hand?
Okay, I'm not supposed to tell you this but eventually you would have found out yourself I suppose. You can mask this by not using your bad hand in such an 'open' and rigid move as the windshield wiper ;-)


click here for an Animated GIF video

You could start your mini-performance with the windshield wiper in your good hand and then go into the following move:
As your hand comes down out of the windshield wiper into the cradle you place your other hand palm up with its wrist against the finger tips of the hand which holds the ball. You can now roll the ball into the palm of that hand, move that hand sideways a bit. Now you only have to make the windshield motion from outside to inside which is somewhat easier. As your hand comes down with the ball in the cradle, move your good hand towards the finger tips (palm up) and roll the ball into the palm of your good hand.

As you might have noticed I don't really make the 'rigid' windshieldwiper movement. Instead the ball is making a nice figure eight (on its side) between the two arms.

Why don't you also try that; make a couple of continuous back2palm, palm2back rolls in one hand (like in the windshieldwiper). But now try to get that figure eight pattern into it. You should get to know this in both hands before continuing with the third chapter of this workshop.


I would like to end this second chapter with these two somewhat more difficult moves. They are both only a little 'extension' to the windshield wiper, they require a little 'getting used to', but they give the move a totally other appearance.
Start with the ball in either the cradle or palm-up-position and with the finger tips of the other hand touch the wrist of the hand with the ball.
Now do the windshield wiper but keep touching the wrist with your free hand. You can now do this move in front of the arm of your free hand or as I do in the animation, go underneath the free arm and out to the palm-up-outside-hold.
You can switch the ball into the other hand with a palm to palm transfer as you reach the outside-hold position.

click here for an Animated GIF video

( NOTE: while reading this chapter back to myself I noticed that I had not explained the term 'transfer'. Although it is quite self explanatory I still feel I have to give it a definition; A transfer is a move in which you 'give' the ball over from one hand/arm, into or onto the other.
Some also call this a 'pass')


The second move I wanted to show is almost the same as the wrist-move, but now you touch the elbow with your free hand.

click here for an Animated GIF video

You can follow this link to the third (and final) workshop page.

Or press here to go back to the first workshop page.

writen by Marco, marco@contactjuggling.org