I recently had a pretty huge breakthrough in my own juggling. I was working on balls, and noticed a pretty noisy slapping sound when I was catching, particularly on high throws. I’ve heard this noise before, and it usually means I’m catching right in the center of my palm. This isn’t really what you want. If you catch a bit further towards your fingertips, more or less where your fingers meet your hand, then your fingers can more easily get involved in both throwing and catching. As soon as I started trying to focus on moving my catching position towards my fingers, a few things happened.
- All my catches got a lot more quiet
- I started having a lot fewer catches bounce out of my hands. It was easier to wrap my fingers around a ball as it arrived in my hand.
- My throws started becoming far more accurate. You have more fine grained control over your fingers. Throwing from your palm is just sort of like flinging a boulder with a catapult.
- I found my patterns all appeared to “slow down”. It seems like such a tiny adjustment, but it really does matter. Imagine if you were throwing each ball from your elbow. How far would you have to swing your arm to accomplish a straight up-and-down throw? The more you move the throw towards your fingers, the more leverage you get, and the earlier you can release your throws.
Once I figured this out, I was able to make similar adjustments with rings and clubs, and it helped with every prop. Your fingers are really important. Get them involved.
Do: catch near where your fingers meet your palm so your fingers can play a bigger role in controlling your catches and your throws.
Don’t: catch in the center of your palm. It seems like the “safest” big open space to catch in, but you lose a lot of control.