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Through popular request, here're answers to some questions frequently asked about Contact Juggling, and

Where do I begin?

First off, you should read some of the essays on the site. Then, have a look at the moves page, which can be viewed in approximate order of difficulty. The videos section is essential for those moments when you just don't know what you want to learn. Watch someone else's routine to see what parts you like, then learn the parts of it, or discuss the video in the forum.

It is also very advisable that you have some offline material to learn from. James Ernest's book Contact Juggling, is currently the only one (until my own is published), and is amazingly easy to follow.

How are those animations created?

Where can I find videos of contact juggling?

You will only find short clips online - most of them on this site, or linked on this site. The exceptions that I know of being Rich's promotional lesson at, Bower's video clips at, some very good videos at Lance's site, and parts of some professional jugglers' promo videos - Viktor Kee, for example.

If you are looking for a video-tape to add to your collection, there are several currently available - Michael Moschen: In Motion is a PBS documentary about MM, which is recommended for all CJers. David Pennington's "The Art of Contact Juggling" was available at Serious Juggling, but seems to be out of print now. Contact Juggling: Part One, by Greg Maldonado and Owen Edson (available at Infinite Illusions), is a very good tutorial which will show you quite a few basic, and some intermediate moves. Sphere Play is another video tutorial (also available at Infinite Illusions), which teaches a complete 1-ball routine move-by-move.

I've made a video - how do I submit it

If the video is in .gif format, you can upload it through the moves page - this should only be done with short videos. If it is in any other format, upload the file to somewhere on the Internet, and enter the video's URL in the videos page. If you wish for to host the video, then please get in contact with one of the site's administrators.

Please note that may in future require an agreement that the site is allowed to distribute your videos on CD. This does not mean wants to own your soul, or even that we want sole rights to your material, but if we decide to publish the site in CD format, it would be nice not to be sued for copyright infringement.

How do I do the "cradle"?

The Cradle is the way that people hold a ball on the back of their hand. This is usually done in one of two ways. The Two-Finger cradle is done by balancing the ball between the index and middle fingers. The Three-Finger cradle is done by lowering the middle finger a bit and balancing the ball above it so it is held by the index, middle, and ring fingers. Another cradle which is in use is called the "Vulcan" cradle - the ball is balanced between the middle and ring fingers.

Which cradle you choose is up to you, but there are advantages to both the Two and Three finger holds. The Two-Finger cradle is very simple to use in fast moves, and it gives a definite path for the ball to follow. A detriment to it is that a bad habit can be developed where the fingers are seperated too far, and the audience is not as amazed. The Three-Finger cradle has the advantage of being simple to use with the fingers held together. It's detriments are that sometimes people push the middle finger down too low - ruining the illusion, it is tricky to use in very fast moves, and the middle finger tends to confuse beginners while learning the basic butterflies.

What's the difference between a Butterfly and a Windshieldwiper?


A lot of people use the words interchangeably, but there is a definite difference. A Windshieldwiper is a roll from the cradle, over the fingertips, and to the palm of the hand - all in a large arc, with two points where the ball stops. A Butterfly is almost the same, but the end points are made into loops so the whole movement looks like a figure eight. If you look at the two images presented, it is obvious what the difference is. In the Windshieldwiper (left), the ball has two endpoints. In the Butterfly (right), the ball continues moving at all times. To add to the difficulty, though, there is the use of the word Butterfly - a lot of people use it as a verb ("He butterflied the ball from there to here"), and apply it to things which would better be described as Windshieldwipers (Twirling Butterflies, for example). So, really, the only major difference is when you are talking specifically about the Butterfly and Windshieldwiper moves.

What kind of ball is best for Contact Juggling?

Start with a wooden one

This is really a personal matter, but most people agree that acrylic balls ("acrylics", for short) are the best on average. Rich Shumaker advocates the use of lacrosse balls for the beginner. I think that's possibly equivalent to cricket balls (for those of us who aren't in the US). The ideal balls slight smoothly against each other, have a good heft to them, and are large enough that you can fit three in a hand comfortably, and four with a bit of effort. For most people, the ideal size is between 2.25 and 2.75 inches. This changes according to what you plan on doing. If you are a body-roller, you may like larger balls - 3 inch, for example. If you are a palm-spinner, you may want smaller balls - 2.25 or 2.5 for example. For palmspinning, it is best that your balls slide against each other, but the advanced CJer may choose to go the difficult route of palmspinning with non-slip balls - silicones, for example.

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