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12 Types of Juggling that Make You the Life of the Party

Since this blog attracts both runners and jugglers we like to include basic information about both subjects. So for today’s post, here’s a basic rundown for runners about juggling. Learn some of these forms and you too can be the life of every party, or at least be considered eccentric.

Recently, there was a list on the web of the different types of juggling. This list seemed wholly inadequate and there needed to be a better resource.

So, today on JYAJ we present…

A complete list of the different types of juggling

Juggling is the art of object manipulation. The type of object defines the type of juggling.

1. Ball juggling. Everyone is familiar with this type of juggling. Jugglers keep numerous balls in the air in an entertaining pattern. The objects can be balls, bean bags, or any other roundish object. This is the primary type of juggling done by jogglers. You can get an excellent set of balls for juggling from our sponsor Gballz.

2. Club juggling. Almost everyone has seen this type of juggling too. Although you often heard it referred to as juggling “bowling pins”. They aren’t bowling pins! They resemble bowling pins but are much lighter and have a thinner shape. On occasion jogglers have been known to juggle clubs during a race. It does look a bit flashier than balls, and it’s also a bit harder. You have to worry about the extra spinning motion in addition to the up and down motion. The techniques of club juggling are the same ones used to juggle torches, knives and chainsaws.

3. Ring Juggling. These are flat circular discs with the middles removed (like giant rings). The methods of ring juggling are most like ball juggling as similar patterns are followed. However, ring juggling provides opportunities for unique tricks. It also looks best when viewing the juggler from the side.

4. Cigar Boxes. For this type of juggling the performer uses props that look like cigar boxes (usually 3 or more). They are thrown and stacked in various patterns. This juggling features more starts and stops than any other type of “toss” juggling. Ed posted a great video of cigar box tricks on his I Can’t Stop Juggling blog. This really wouldn’t be a practical way to joggle a marathon.

5. Diabolo. This fun juggling device is like a yo-yo unattached to a string. The diabolo has an hour-glass shape and is manipulated along a string controlled by two sticks. For a good demonstration you can see this great diabolo video. Yo-Yos themselves would fall under this type of juggling. There are some really great yo-yo artists out ther.

6. Devil Sticks. Another “toy” type of juggling. Devil sticks consist of two manipulation sticks and a larger stick (baton) on which the tricks are done. The basic move involves knocking the baton with the manipulation sticks in a pendulum-type fashion. Great for doing tricks but not much for joggling. Here’s a great video demonstration of the devil sticks.

7. Contact Juggling. Here’s a fascinating type of juggling that involves no throwing at all. Typically, the performer takes a single ball and moves it fluidly along her body. The object stays in contact with the juggler the entire time. Here’s an interesting contact juggling routine. Again, this is one that just wouldn’t work for joggling.

8. Plate spinning. This type of juggling involves spinning plates or bowls on sticks and balancing them such that they don’t fall over. It’s like spinning a top. The challenge in this juggling is to keep multiple plates spinning without allowing them to drop. Then you can do some fancy balancing, movements, etc. I couldn’t find a great plate spinning video but this plate spinning one is pretty good.

9. Hat Manipulation. This one is just like it sounds. You do tricks with hats. Throwing it up in the air, spinning it, twisting, balancing, etc. You can even catch it on your foot and juggle three at once. I like to do a trick where I balance a baseball cap on my nose. Great fun. It’s classic vaudeville, just like this amusing two-man hat routine.

10. Ball Spinning. This form of juggling was made famous by the Harlem Globe Trotters but it was done long before the 1970’s. Essentially, the performer spins a ball on her finger and strikes a variety of complicated poses. It’s like a combination of contact juggling and plate spinning. I’m always amazed when I see people spinning balls on top of balls like this ball spinning video shows.

11. Footbag. Here’s a type of juggling that requires no hands but incredibly active feet. Using a “Hacky Sack” or other small, bean-filled mesh bag, the performer kicks it in the air while twisting, twirling, and bending all around it. It would take a really long time to joggle a foot bag for an entire race. And the guy in this video has my vote as King of the Footbag. This type of juggling is also deftly done with other balls, most notably a soccer ball.

12. Balancing. This is a bit like contact juggling except nothing really moves. Objects are balanced on sticks or directly on the juggler’s body. Then the juggler attempts to move around just tempting the balanced object to fall over. For some reason people love to do this with teapots. Personally, I like to balance things on my nose like golf clubs, hats, and pool sticks. One secret is that the smaller an object is, the harder it is to balance. So a pool stick is much easier than a pencil.

13. Combination Juggling. Of course, there are some acts that are combinations of the first 12 categories of juggling. People balance on stilts or ladders while juggling torches and spinning balls on their fingers. But then there are jugglers who do things that are really unique like conic juggling.

Now hopefully you’ll be inspired to learn some of these juggling activities. We’ve seen how juggling can improve your health so you know it’s good for you. The book that I learned from is The Complete Juggler by Dave Finnigan.

And for anything you can’t get from Gballz.com, check out all the other types of juggling equipment you can get from Higgins Brothers.

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. hello joggling people –

    for a few years me and my friends have been playing this game that
    involves balancing a ball on a
    stick, similar to rastelli,brunn etc ./ we stand around in a circle and
    pass the ball around balancing it
    and doing tricks..
    we call it stykball and it’s heaps of fun – apparently it’s a form of
    juggling?

    check it out – i would love to know what people think about it and any
    info on the history of this type
    of stick/ball contact? juggling style would be most welcome.. any
    questions too.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZpSUf3zv2M

  2. I love watching people juggle. It is so fun! I didn’t realize how many types of juggling there is. I would love to get good at juggling to impress my friends and kids.

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