Juggling ice-breaker for meetings, training and teambuilding.Tags: Gaming, ice-breaker, juggling, meetings, team building, teambuilding, training
I’ve done this with great effect in the past – both with small groups as part of Managment Training, but also at conferences with groups of a couple of hundred people!! The beauty of juggling lies in the fact that we’ve all marvelled at the skill of jugglers since we were little, but few of us have ever managed to acquire the skills.
We’ve tried – and I’m guessing we all got up to two balls – using the circular technique. This is our downfall when trying to go up to three balls or more. Here are the basics of Juggling and it should get you off to a good start. Remember that Practice makes Permanent – NOT PERFECT!!
Note: The longer and better you practice the basic throwing and catching movement, the easier you’ll progress to two balls and then 3. Try to remember to keep an open mind, relax and don’t worry about making mistakes. Only by making mistakes do we learn. In the early stages you should not practice for more than 10 to 15 minutes at a time.
Stand straight and comfortably balanced with one ball only in your dominant hand. Tuck your elbows into your waist and gently throw the ball to your other hand, peaking at eye-level. Throw it back and forth from hand to hand. Make sure you throw it from waist-height and catch it there again. Get the ball moving sideways in a figure-of-8 pattern, catching on the outside and throwing on the inside in a kind of scooping motion.
This is the essential pattern that your brain and body must learn. If you have a tendency to throw the ball forwards, you can stand closer to a wall so it stays close. When you have practiced this so you can almost do it with your eyes closed, clap your hands once between throwing and catching. Then try clapping twice!! You can try other actions like touching your nose, before moving to two balls.
With a ball in each hand, throw the first one and then the other one as the first one peaks at your eye-level. If you’re throwing properly in the figure 8 pattern, the balls shouldn’t collide. At first don’t worry about catching the balls. Do not pass the balls in a circular motion. If you learn this (or did as a youngster) you’ll have to unlearn it first. Learn to catch the first ball before you try catching both. Say as you progress, “throw, throw, drop, drop” and as you get better, “throw, throw, catch, catch”. Practice starting with your dominant hand and then starting with the other hand, and then alternating.
You must practice this until it feels comfortable and is reasonably reliable before attempting 3 balls.
The three-ball cascade is tough and is a real pinnacle of achievement – unless you’re aspiring to the circus!
Hold two balls in the hand you wish to start with (hand 1), and one ball in the other hand (hand 2). [Duh]. Do as you practiced with two balls, but after catching the first ball in hand 2, throw the third ball from hand two. Hand 1 catches the second ball and split second after throwing the third ball. Apart from that split second between throwing and catching there is only ever 1 ball in the air. Your verbal command now becomes “throw, throw, throw, throw”.