3 Lessons Learned From My Five Club Breakthrough

Here are three things I learned through practicing for and achieving my five club goal:

1.Step back to move forward. My usual five club practice routine would go something like this: Get clubs out, psyche myself up, throw five clubs in the air, catch a few, drop all of them, get frustrated, go in and watch TV. But recently I decided to take a step back and work on my 4 club juggling. I’ve had a decent triple, single pattern with four but have not been able to keep a steady 2 in each hand, double flip, off sync pattern. This proved more difficult than I would have thought, but practicing in the land of double flips trained my arms nicely for the flips I’d need to nail 5 clubs.

2.Don’t forget to breathe! I think Mr. Miyagi said it best when teaching Daniel how to paint the fence. “Don’t forget to breathe; breathing very important.” Do you ever hold your breath while learning a strenuous new trick? I do. All the time! I don’t know why, but I do. I realized though, that when I was really in my groove, my best, steadiest, 5 club patterns came when I was taking calm steady breaths.

3.No pain; no gain. Maybe I’m just not hard core enough but I rarely get injuries from juggling. When I practiced for a couple of hours and finally achieved my goal, however, I got a pretty nasty blister. We’re talking an, oozing, bleeding, make my wife screech in horror, kind of blister. I guess if you really want something, you have to be willing to go through pain to get it.

5 Clubs, 50 Catches

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A couple weeks ago, when I turned 25, I made a goal: In my 25th year on this planet I would achieve 50 catches with 5 clubs.

“Enough monkey-ing around,” I said to myself. “Stop being a wuss. If you’re a real juggler, prove it!”

I’ve been able to flash 5 clubs for about four years now, but for some reason I haven’t been able to get past a lucky 20 catches. Sure, I had to join the workforce and give up practicing every day. Sure, I got married which stole time away from juggling. Sure, I have plenty of excuses, but the fact is that I felt like I had plateaued as a juggler, that I had lost the ability to learn new things. That’s why, on my 25th birthday I put a stake in the ground and declared that I would achieve something–or else.

The following few days I put some good practice time in but didn’t see a ton of progress. I soon wondered if I would ever achieve this goal and what would happen if I couldn’t. Would it be time to put my juggling stuff away in an old trunk in the garage and reminisce for the rest of my life about the old days when I dabbled in juggling?

Then, last night, a breakthrough!

I was at my parents house for a Chargers/Patriots game and for some reason my dad had hooked up a TV outside in his backyard. I took advantage of being outside and started practicing with my clubs. I warmed up for a while and then out of nowhere it came: 50 perfect throws and 50 steady catches. What I thought wouldn’t happen for months and months, what I’ve tried to do for five years–happened.

I did it.

The odd but cool thing was that it felt just like the first time I did a successful under-the-leg catch with three balls when I was 12. It felt just like it did when I performed in front of an audience for the first time. It felt good. And it helped me remember why I juggle.

Juggling + the Internet = True Love

Juggling and the Internet go together like Jim and Pam; like Anthony Gatto and world records. It’s like they were made for each other.

Juggling is a collaborative endeavor. And now–with sites like YouTube, MySpace, Flicker, etc–it’s easier than ever to share. Any 12-year-old kid with a Macbook and a decent three ball cascade can make a video of himself/herself doing the “most awesome juggling routing ever”, ad a groovey soundtrack, and post it up for the world to see. (Here are a few of examples: 1, 2, 3)

We need to use these tools more. We should be all over YouTube. We should have forums and discussion sites about every piece of juggling equipment, every style of performance, and about all the great jugglers that we admire.

And we should blog.

I couldn’t believe that when I googled “juggling blog”, I only really found 1 or 2 blogs that talked about juggling. In a world where there are hundreds of blogs about things like scrapbooking, gardening, and using Apple products, our subculture is grossly under represented.

We as a subculture need to be sharing ideas, insights, and inspirations, discussing our excitements and frustrations, sharing our reactions about what happens in the world of juggling. The internet makes it so easy! That’s why I started this blog. I hope that hundreds of my juggling brothers and sisters start similar sites.  I’ll see you out there.

I Juggle

Do you juggle? I do. I love it. I can’t get enough. I started in 4th grade and I haven’t stopped. It’s my hobby, my pass-time, my sport, for a few months it was my job, and it’s my passion.

This is a blog for everyone who shares my passion.

Whether you just learned how to juggle three scarves or you’ve been throwing five clubs for 15 years, this is a place for you. Together we’ll explore the news, the events, the theory and practice, and the people that define this subculture that exists between us jugglers.

I juggle. You juggle. We juggle.

Welcome to jugglingsubculture.com.