Learning Five & Getting It!

So it wasn’t a fluke the other day that I was doing a lot better at juggling five balls than I was last year.  I’ve been practicing every day and it’s feeling relaxed, comfortable and easier than ever before. It’s so crazy how much slower and more controlled it feels, but I’m sure that’s the way it was when learning three.

I’m excited that I can use this experience to relate even better to my juggling students and assure them that the initial chaos of learning to juggle will subside! Sometimes in my classes I attempt five so they can see me struggle; it helps them realize that learning to juggle is difficult for everyone at first. And just because my 3-ball juggling looks automatic doesn’t mean I wasn’t where they are at one point. I think it actually took me a lot longer than many of my students to get it.

Focusing on “launching” and following through on each throw is really helping me. I had a tendency to throw lower or possibly hesitate on later throws for fear of throwing too high and losing control of the pattern. Each fearless high throw proves to be a success and lessens my fear of “launching” every throw.

So at this point, it seems to be a mental game. In order to get more throws and catches, I need to do what I tell my students – accept that I know how to juggle (five balls) and press on. If I can get 13 throws and catches cleanly, there is no reason I can’t get 20, 50, etc.

I’m thinking the book The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey might help me at this point. It emphasizes the importance of mental approach when learning tennis or any sport, and I’ve heard great things about it. If anyone has used this book to improve their juggling, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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