The 3-Ball Cascade

So you want to learn to juggle, huh? This is the coolest trick that is easy to learn. The great thing about this is that it can be done with almost anything once you get good at juggling - telephones, beanie babies, Rubik's Cubes, books... So let's get started.

The first thing you'll need is something to juggle. Basically anything roughly spherical with a weight between two ounces and a pound will be pretty good. Hacky sacks and tennis balls are great to start off with. There's more specific information on the juggling stuff page - you'll need better juggling balls if you want to get into juggling seriously.

We don't have to be concerned with where to juggle for now, just go outside on your yard, or over your bed or something. The first thing to learn is how to hold two in one hand and throw one. Lay your right (if you're left-handed, switch all of the hand instructions) hand out with your fingers facing away from you. Lay one ball in the center of your right palm and put the other near the fingers, then try to grab onto them both. If you can't fit them both in your hand, you really need smaller juggling balls. Anyway, you should practice trying to let go of and throw the one at your fingers while keeping a grip on the one at your palm. You only really need to do this with one hand, but later you may want to learn it with the other too.

Siteswap: 3002020 This is the first thing to learn. You want to take only one of your three balls and throw it at about head height over to your other hand. Notice that you throw from near the center of your body but catch at the outside. Practice this with both hands. You should make sure you're very used to doing this before you go onto the next step.
Siteswap: 330222 Now, take one in each hand. Throw one ball and, as it's coming toward the other hand, throw the other one under it. This is an 'exchange'. You should practice this starting with both hands. The most important thing with the exchange is not to forget to throw from the center of your body and catch more outside. The positions of the throw and the catch are the most important thing to notice.
Siteswap: [32]322[22]2 The difference here is that you start with one ball extra in your hand. This is how you will start off the cascade in the future. You're only doing one exchange here, but make sure to get used to it.
Siteswap: [32]3322[22]2 This is when it finally starts looking like a real cascade. Here, you're doing two exchanges in a row. If you can't do this, practice one exchange more, but if you can then you're making great progress.
Siteswap: 3 This is the whole cascade. You're not going to get from the last step to this one immediately; it will definitely take some practice to do it correctly. If you watch the juggling animation closely, you can see that every time a ball comes to a hand the juggler throws the ball in that hand under the ball coming to the hand. It doesn't matter how high you throw the balls - you can keep doing exchanges even if there isn't any rhythm - but if you can throw them all about the same height you will have a nice rhythm and the pattern will look very nice. Congratulations! You can now do a basic 3-ball cascade!