Siggys Guide To Getting the most out of your Practice Sessions.
Found in the old Yahoo Forum Archives, Since Rich asked about it, I found it for him, Siggys Essay on warming up, and maximizing your practice time.
Warming up: take a few minutes to stretch your hands, go through the hand motions of the butterfly a few times, stretch your shoulders. You will be surprised at what a difference this will make. While stretching think over exactly what you want to accomplish this session. Do I want to learn an armroll? Smooth out a butterfly? Get a game plan and stick to it.
1. Break tricks into component parts. Mr Ernest covers this in his book, but its common sense. Break everything down into easy-to-learn parts. The butterfly breaks down to the toss-catch parts. Arm rolls break down to simple placing and rolling exercises.
2. Learn two or more tricks at a time circularly. So your butterfly is a little wobbly on one hand or both? Its getting frustrating? Try an easy trick like the palm to palm transfer. If you butterfly left, palm to palm, butterfly right, palm to palm you can continue on forever. Your practicing 3 tricks at a time and you can work on smoothing things out. You can do this with any combination of tricks as long as you end up in the same start position. It saves time and you learn to get into and out of tricks easily, it becomes second nature.
3. Learn tricks 'reversibly'. Much the same, but every trick is mirrored with the other hand (like the above example is circular and reversable') This way you learn both hands at once, and seeing how one hand will always be better, you can get through 3/4 of the trick without a drop Razz. Learning both hands is tedious but nescessary or your routine quickly becomes lopsided (A mistake I personally made and have unlearnt).
4. Watch TV or read a book Razz This is great with palm spins, or any trick that requires little watching.. put 2 or three balls in one hand and start the spin, no matter how clumsy you are, then start reading/watching, check during commercials how smooth your getting or change hands.. This helps develop a feel for what your doing without getting really bored watching the balls go round and round.
5. Upsize your tricks. I found the best way to get two ball palm spins smooth was to work on 3 balls. Try doing all your spins (including isolations ) with that extra ball for about a half hour on both hands.. then go back to 2 balls.. you will be surprised at the improvement. To improve on 3 balls, try doing 4. Your three will be tighter when you go back to it. For 4 balls I try do a four ball orbital isolation, and try and make a smooth figure 8. Swap hands when your forearms get tired Razz
If you get tired or frustrated STOP. Have a coke coffee / cigarette, whatever relaxes you. Sit back and think over where your problem spots are.. Try and picture EXACTLY where your tricks are messing up and develop exercises to strengthen that part..
Finish up a session by putting on some music and going over any and all tricks you know well.. try and freestyle and get them to run together. Just do the stuff you are really comfortable with and have fun with it. You will walk away feeling you are pretty good, and ends the otherwise ego-destroying hours spent trying to learn a good trick on a positive note.
Contact Juggling is an arduous undertaking. It can take a long time to get the initial tricks down, there is hardly anyone you can go to for help (in my case anyway) And it will seem that everyone you meet will be better than you (this is definately the case for me) Rather than let this get you down, ask the person how long they've been juggling.. ask for advice. Every contact juggler Ive met without exception has been more than helpful, and very enthusiastic to have another practitioner join the fold..
The bottom line here I guess is 'Don't train harder, just train smarter'