Juggling has been around for centuries. In fact, the oldest known reference to juggling was found in the tomb of an Egyptian prince! The tomb had a wall painting depicting several women juggling three balls – one even performing what is known today as a cross-arm cascade. The artwork dates back to about 1994-1781 BC.1
Jugglers can use different props to juggle: Juggling rings, clubs and balls are some of the most popular types. Anyone who has ever witnessed the art of juggling knows how extraordinary it looks! It is exciting, entertaining and enjoyable.
Benefits of Juggling
- It’s good for the brain!
Several studies have suggested juggling can be very beneficial for the mind. Most notably, an Oxford University study2 concluded that juggling enhances brain connections.
A group of adults, with no prior juggling experience, were divided into two equal groups. Over the course of six weeks, the first group received weekly juggling training sessions and was asked to practice for 30 minutes a day. The second group received no training and was not asked to practice.
Diffusion MRI scans were conducted on both groups before and after the six-week testing period. The results detected changes in the first group, specifically in “regions of the brain which are involved in reaching and grasping in the periphery of vision.”
- A great tool for mindfulness and stress management
Juggling may help with providing a momentary escape from stress. Be it professional or personal, there are days when we encounter some kind of stress. And we all know that in general, when we are stressed, it becomes much harder to perform at our best. On such days, juggling can come to your rescue! Juggling might provide that complete solution to eradicate stress, or perhaps just provide a momentary escape from it.
So, if you try to seek a momentary escape from stress, grab hold of your favourite props and juggle!
- Juggling is really good exercise!
The benefits of juggling are not just limited to the mind but include our physical health as well. A one-hour juggling session can burn up to 280 calories!3 Plus, it’s also an excellent way of exercising our arms. With consistent practice, all that throwing and catching is sure to make your arms stronger.
- Inexpensive props make it great value for money
Above all, it doesn’t require hefty-priced items or high ongoing expenses! The benefits juggling can offer you compared to the costs to start out are fantastic. Isn’t that amazing?!
We have also put together a list of 16 Reasons Why You Should Learn To Juggle.
Best Juggling Balls for Beginners
So, if you’re a newbie just starting out it is really important to start with the right kind of props or balls suitable for beginners. The last thing you want to do is start off with the type of ball that is not beginner-friendly and may make things more challenging and at worst demotivate you.
Bean bags are made up of several pieces of genuine or imitation leather that are sewn together and filled with millet or plastic beads. Bean bags tick multiple boxes for a beginner juggler.
Why bean bags are best for beginner jugglers
- One of the qualities of bean bag balls is that they are manageable. Bean bag balls can be gripped with ease when you juggle them.
- Bean bag balls don’t get scattered everywhere when they fall. It is pretty obvious that when you are in the starting phase the balls are going to fall, a lot. Nobody starts being perfect! So, it is highly recommended to go for the kind of juggling balls that don’t roll off here and there when dropped. This helps you better utilize your practice time so you don’t spend it being on the lookout for the lost ball!
Juggle with balls of the right size
It is important to consider the size of the balls when you are just starting out. When learning to juggle it is preferable to avoid larger size balls. Preferably go for somewhere between 5.5 and 8 centimeters in diameter (about the same size as an orange).
Of course, another factor comes into consideration: the size of your hand. If you have small hands, then go with smaller size juggling balls and likewise larger hand size means a bigger ball. However, when you are starting out it is recommended to stick to the beginner size range mentioned above.
Professional Juggling Balls
There are multiple options of balls available for professional-level jugglers. And sometimes it gets confusing to choose from as there are so many available. Some of the most popular types of professional balls are:
- Premium-grade Bean Bag Balls
Bean bags are one of the most popular types. It is loved by beginners and professionals alike! However, for professionals, go for premium-grade juggling bean bag balls that are more durable. They come in a multitude of different sizes and colours to choose from.
- Stage Balls
Stage balls are hollow which means the bigger balls are not actually that much heavier than the smaller ones. This characteristic makes them an absolute pick for someone at the professional level. Stage balls come in a variety of sizes and colours. When used in a performance under UV-light, their eye-catching fluorescent colours can make them look super cool. Whether the requirement is for the traditional toss juggle or contact juggle (a form of juggling where balls/objects are moved while staying in contact with the body), stage balls are one of the best picks to go for.
- Acrylic Balls
When it comes to contact juggling, acrylic balls are considered to be the best because of their smooth and seamless surface. As the name suggests they are made from acrylic plastic. One of the most popular types is clear acrylic balls. However, they come in different sizes and colours to choose from based on one’s preferences.
- Hybrid Balls
Hybrid balls are the newest ball category for juggling. Their hard or soft outer shell combined with liquid or solid filling makes them well-liked for both intermediate to advanced level jugglers. Hybrids come in different sizes and colours. One of the most popular types is the Russian juggling ball which consists of a hard shell and is filled with salt or sand. Whether for toss or contact, hybrid balls are perfect for both.
Buy Juggling Balls Online in Australia
From bean bags, stage balls, hybrid balls to acrylic balls, all types are available online. Some of the best online options are mentioned below:
Global e-commerce websites
One of the best things about buying from major e-commerce websites is that they have a great variety to choose from. You can find many popular brands, too. The price range offers a number of juggling balls from low to mid-range of great variety! If you are looking for affordable pricing, then you may find it a good option.
Shop online from Australian stores
The best part of buying from Australian stores is that you have the option of checking out the products in-store before you buy. However, keep in mind that they generally have a limited range of products. If you are looking for affordable pricing, then these options might be good to check out. Also if you have a need to return a product, it can be a lot easier when you can physically visit the store.
Online specialty shops
What can be better than buying juggling balls from the experts or the specialists in the field? Well, the best part of buying from specialists’ online stores is that you are buying from the experts. Plus, they are likely to have a huge product range of top-notch quality. However, as expected from a specialty store, the pricing might be a little higher up the scale.
- Threeworlds – fun for life
Boutique juggling, music and meditation store headquartered in Burleigh Heads in the Gold Coast plus a shop in Melbourne. They started out by selling their own products at local markets.
- The Circus Shop
Founded by circus legend Dr Reg Bolton this Western Australia-based shop is now run by his daughter and her family. Besides selling a wide range of circus products, the circus shop is focussed on the promotion of circus skills for kids and circus education.
- Balls For Your Mind
Melbourne-based manufacturer, distributor and retailer for juggling equipment. You can inspect their juggling ball range on their website and you can even chat with the founders at selected markets.
The common notion regarding juggling is that it’s entertaining, no doubt about that. But it’s beyond entertainment. Consistent practice leads to doing so much good, both mentally and physically. So, what are you waiting for? Go out there, get yourself some juggling balls and get tossing.
If you are already a juggler, nice work, keep it up, refine your skills, maybe help teach a friend and accomplish more!
Is juggling hard to learn?
Learning to juggle certainly tests your patience. In the beginning, it can be difficult, but with time the difficulty decreases. All it requires is patience and persistence. With a bit of determination and a willingness to learn, anyone can learn to juggle.
How long does it take before I can juggle 3 balls?
It differs from person to person. Sometimes a person could learn within a matter of hours or maybe a day. Whereas, for someone else, it could take a week or a month. Basically, it can take hours, days, weeks, or even months to learn to juggle 3 balls.
Is juggling good for the brain?
Yes, it is considered good for the brain. It is believed to improve hand-eye coordination, and focus. According to an Oxford University study2, juggling enhances the connections in the brain. The study suggests that juggling increases white matter in the brain.
What are the health benefits of juggling?
Juggling has amazing health benefits both mentally and physically. Consistent practice improves hand-eye coordination and communication. Mainly, it is an excellent exercise for the mind. According to a study2, it increases the white matter in the brain. Apart from that, it is also considered to be a good physical exercise – especially for the arms. Plus, an hour of juggling can burn up to 280 calories.3
Which juggling balls are the best?
This depends on the form of juggling. Also, it depends on the juggler’s level. However, have a look at the some of the popular types mentioned below:
- Best for beginners: bean bag balls
A beginner can start with juggling bean bag balls for toss juggling. Bean bags are considered the best choice for a beginner.
- Best of immediate level jugglers and professional: stage balls
For someone who is at the intermediate level or is a pro, stage balls are the perfect choice. They are equally suitable for toss juggling as they are for contact juggling. However, when it comes to contact juggling it is best to go with larger size stage balls around 100 mm in diameter.
- Best for contact juggling: acrylic balls
For contact juggling, apart from stage balls, larger size acrylic juggling balls are also a popular choice.
- Best for bounce juggling: bouncing balls
For bounce juggling — one has to go with bouncing balls. Silicone bouncing balls can be a good pick to start with.
“Circus Kangoroo”: Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com