Learning tricks

Let us take Under the Leg as an example trick. To learn this the sensible thing to do is to take one club and practice just the throw and catch. With no other objects to worry about it gives you the chance to think about things like where to hold the club, where to look, how your hands move and so on. Also try both hands and both legs and see which is the easiest combination (it's right hand under right leg for most right handers, left under left for left handers). Next, take all 3 clubs and try to make the same throw while juggling, just replace a normal throw with an under the leg throw, your hands keep the left, right, left, right rhythm the whole way through.

When practising any move like this, involving a single trick throw from a normal cascade, it is important not to concentrate too much on the trick itself, but rather to try and keep watching the whole pattern even as you do the trick. I have seen many people practising single trick throws, such as one under the leg for example, and consistently dropping not the club that went under the leg, but the one after it. There is no point in doing a trick well if you are going to drop as soon as you have finished it. Once the throwing action for the trick has become familiar to you, try deliberately focusing your attention on the throws which follow and precede it. Doing this has two benefits, firstly the trick throw which you have made probably will not be as accurate as your cascade throws, especially when you first start trying it, and if you have to stretch out your hand a little to make the catch, then the following throw will come from an awkward position and this is the point at which errors start to become magnified and your pattern can disintegrate. Concentrating on this throw enables you to compensate more easily for any errors that have crept in. Secondly it is very tempting to relax once the hard part (actually doing the trick) is over, and you go back into a cascade. If you concentrate too much on the trick itself, you may find that you 'switch off' the moment it has been thrown and don't pay enough attention to continuing the pattern.

However this is only the first rung on the ladder, there are many more challenging versions of this trick to try, whenever you have learnt one move onto the next. Try throwing under your leg with your weaker hand. Now try doing 2 under the leg throws with your strong hand, one straight after the other. Next try throwing under your leg on every throw from your stronger hand. Do this all with your weaker hand too. Next try a right hand throw and a left straight after it. Finally throw every club under a leg, to do this you will have to sort of jog on the spot and throw very accurately.

Many tricks can be learnt in this way including Under the Arm, Behind the Back, Albert Throws, Reverse Alberts, Flourishes and others. So, in summary:

  1. Learn the move with just one club
  2. Do the trick once with your strong hand whilst juggling
  3. Do the trick once with your weaker hand whilst juggling
  4. Do the trick continuously with your strong hand
  5. Do the trick continuously with your weaker hand
  6. Do the trick from one side and then straight after from the other
  7. Do the trick on every throw

Some tricks however you may find easier to do continuously straight away, I found Chops to be one of these, the only thing to do is experiment.