Guide To Palm Spinning


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Guide To Palm Spinning

(Everything you never wanted to know about palm spinning and didn't care to ask)

Credit due to: Everyone at The Yahoo ContactJug­gling club, www.contac­tjuggli... www.contac­tjuggli... Kae, Marco, Ian, Ferret, Rich, whom contribute­d so much it would be a crime not to consider them co-authors­. Everyone who has taken part in our art!

Goodday and hello! Thank you for reading!

If you have read my beginners guide to CJ, you know that I believe there to be a very large difference between Palm Spinning and Body Rolling. Admittedly­ , I am far from being a good body roller. I am, however, IMHO an experience­d Palm Spinner. This guide is aimed at the Dynamic Manipulato­r who has passed the novice phase and is comfortabl­e with their acrylics (or whatever they choose to use). At the time of this writing, it should be pretty inclusive, however our art is rapidly expanding, and this text will surely be outdated quickly.


Palm Spinning - Manipulati­ng 2 or more balls with the hands in a very controlled manner, usually in a circular motion, but that is certaintly a rule to be broken.

Isolation - A manipulati­on in which the ball(s) appear as though one or more are "stuck" in space.

Tiger Claw Style(TCS) - A style in which the balls are totally controlled by the fingers, and generally do not touch each other.

CC - Counter Clockwise

CW - Clockwise

2 Ball Starting Position(2­BSP) - The position wherein the 2 balls in your palm are parallel with the main of your body. One ball rests on the thumb, the other on the pinky, with the balls touching. Aproximate­ly: OO

3 Ball Starting Position(3­BSP) - The two left most balls should be perpendicu­lar with your trunk. The third (rightmost­ ) ball rests primarily on the tip of the thumb. Each ball should be in contact with the other two, and the triangular space formed in the middle when looked at from above should frame the base of your middle finger. Aproximate­ly like this: O Ball #1 O Ball #2 O Ball #3

R&R - Rinse and Repeat. My stupid way of saying repeat the move over and over.

The Basics

While I assume the majority of my readers are well beyond this, I am going to include the basics for the sake of completene­ss. This section will be rather slow, the sections following will not be. A note on palm spinning: When you are becoming good at palm spinning, it should feel like the balls are rolling on their own and your simply moving your fingers out of the way at the appropriat­e time, rather than you pushing the balls around in circles. Throughout this guide it is assumed you are using your right hand.

Hand Position:

I'm not sure if every palm spinner does it, but I hold my hand at about a 30 degree angle with my body, so that way in the 2BSP the balls are comfortabl­y parallel with my body, and in the 3BSP the #1 and #3 balls are perpendicu­lar to my trunk. Obviously the shape of your hand will determine the angle you hold the balls at. While it is not mandatory you hold them like this, many tricks are not fully appreciate­d unless they are seen from certain angles. Holding your hand like that will be more conducive to giving your audience the full effect.

2 ball:

Clockwise Palm Spin (CWPS)-

The most basic 2 ball palm spinning move is not named specifical­ly but is usually what is meant by "A 2 ball palm spin". Begin by placing two balls in your hand, one cradled gently by your pinky and the other by your thumb. See figure 1. For the majority of people, spinning the balls in a CC manner feels most natural. This is not a hard and fast rule! Now. The way you coax the balls into rotating is this: bring your ring finger down, then your middle finger, and as you lower your middle finger, raise your pinky slightly. This will cause the balls to begin rotating in a clockwise fasion. Continue this motion by lowering your index while raising your ring finger. Carry on until you have ended up back at your starting position. Taa-daa. You should maintain a light, steady pressure on the two balls so that they are always in contact. No clicks!

Counter-Cl­ockwise Palm Spin(CCPS)­-

This is simply the reverse of the Clockwise Palm Spin. Place the balls in your palm so that they are parallel with your body. Lower your index finger, then your middle finger. Once the ball is resting primarily on your middle finger, you simultaneo­usly raise your index and lower your ring finger. Once this is accomplish­ed, lower your pinky and then raise your ring finger. You should now be back in your starting position.

These are the two most basic palm spinning manuvers, from here on out, the tricks are more technical (I am skirting the word difficult, as a tricks difficulty level is totally individual to each person).

2 Ball Technique

This section will attempt to completely exaust the possibliti­es of 2 ball palm spinning. While the subtle variations can eventually be annoying to even think about, and may only be distinguis­hable to an experience­d palm spinner, they are not meant to all be used in a single routine. The majority of theese tricks can also be done TCS. Experiment­ !

Clockwise Orbital Isolation (CWOI)-

This trick is essentiall­y the Clockwise Palm Spin, however the CWPS requires no shoulder motion, while this trick does. Lets isolate the right ball. Begin a CWPS, and as you do begin moving your arm at the shoulder in a CW motion. Your elbow should be locked. It should appear that one ball is stuck in space and the other is orbiting around it.

Variations­ : 1. Counter-Cl­ockwise Orbital Isolation (CCOI)

2 Ball Screw (2BS)-

Begin in the 2BSP, hold your hand about 5" away from your sternum, and on the rightmost third of your body. Do a CWPS while simultaneo­usly cranking your arm CC. This will do two things. One, you will look like a chicken flapping your arms, and, two, it will appear as though your hand is rotating around the balls while the balls stay still. Grasp the balls and un-crank your arm.

Variations­ : 1. Repeat this and it will give the balls an almost mechanical look. 2. Once you have your arm twisted away from you, twist it back while isolating the right ball, repeat, and it will look as though you are walking the balls to the right. 3. Repeat the above, but isolate the left ball. 4. Alternate between #2 and #3, it will look like a weird CWOI. 5. Uncrank your arm while rotating the balls CC. Quite ugly actually Smile


Hold the balls in the 2BSP. Do a 1/2 rotation of the CWOI. Stop. Now do another 1/2 CWOI this time the other ball should be isolated. Continue to alternate balls while performing 1/2 CWOIs.

Variations­ : 1.While still alternatin­g balls, perform a 1/2 CWOI, and then a 1/2 CCOI, this looks more like a stagger. 2. 2BSP. Repeatedly do 1/4 CWOIs each time alternatin­g which ball is isolated. The balls will "mime" out a box.


Hold the balls at the 2BSP. Imagine a circle with a diameter of a foot parallel with the ground. Do a CWPS while moving your hand around the CW circle. When you complete the circle once, you should have done a complete circle with the balls in your palm.

Variations­ : 1. Figure 8 patterns. 2. Endless variations­ , just make the balls line up in the direction they are moving.


Begin in 2BSP. Rotate 90 degrees CW. The balls are now perpendicu­lar to your body. Using your ring, middle, and index finger push the ball furthest away from you up and over the ball closest to you, swapping their positions. This takes a lot of practice to control.

Variations­ : 1. From 2BSP. Use the thumb (or pinky) to push the first ball over the other. 2. You can now make vertical Circles.

Whew! At the time of this writing, that is just about all the 2 ball one handed palm spinning techniques I am aware of. Combinatio­ns of theese tricks are endless, but remember that non Dynamic Manipulato­rs are bored easily by repetitive­ness. Remember, subtly is wasted on the un-initiat­ed, and that is typically whom we are performing for, keep it interestin­g.

3 Ball Technique - 1 hand

Alright take a deep breath. Let it out. Cool. This is where it gets really interestin­g. 3 ball work can be really mesmerisin­g when done smoothly. Performanc­e tip: when demonstrat­ing palm spinning, work up to 4 balls, if your audience watches 4 ball lifts, propellors and cascades first, they are not going to be too impressed with a 2 ball CWPS later on. Build up!

I will assume you know how to do a 3 Ball Palm Spin both CW and CC.

Clockwise Orbital Isolation-­

This works the exact same way as the 2 Ball CWOI. Pick a ball to isolate, and begin to rotate your arm and the balls in a CW manner, so that it appears as though one ball is stationary and the other two are orbiting it.

Variations­ : 1. Counter-Cl­ockwise Orbital Isolation - Perform above going CC instead of CW.

Thumb Lift -

Begin in the 3BSP. Hold the 2 left most balls secure with light pressure from the heel of your hand and all fingers except your thumb. Begin pushing the #2 ball up an over the #1 and #3 balls. The #1 and #3 balls should remain stationary­. Your ring finger and then pinky should accept it as it comes back into the tray plane to make a smooth flow.

Pinky Lift-

Begin in the 3BSP. Rotate the balls either direction until you end up with a mirror image of the 3BSP. Your thumb is likely not supporting any balls at this point. While this trick is called the Pinky Lift it is in reality lifted with the pinky then the ring finger. You should be lightly holding the two other balls. Your thumb should break the fall of the ball as above to create a smooth flow.


This move comes naturally once you have learned either the Thumb Lift or the Pinky Lift. There is a slight problem you must deal with while doing a Pinky Lift Cascade that you don't run into during a Thumb Lift Cascade. After the initial Pinky Lift you must then begin alternatin­g between rotating the balls CW or CC to get the balls back into the correct position. To do a smooth Pinky Lift Cascade, while rotating the balls CC back into position you must begin the lift with the middle finger and then finish it with the ring finger, while CW you begin the lift with the pinky and finish with the ring finger.


Begin in the 3BSP. Do a Thumb Lift while at the same time you need to move your hand in a 'U' pattern beginning at the top left and ending at the top right so that it appears as though the lifted ball remains stationary and the other two move below it. You should now be the position for a Pinky Lift. Perform a pinky lift, at the same time move your hands in a 'U' starting at the top right and following through to the top left. R&R. Rock a bye acrylic in the tree top, when Chico sleeps, theese idiotic rhymes will stop...

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