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Written by Catherine Davis   

As well as being an absorbing hobby in its own right, learning to juggle is a skill that is applicable in many walks of life.

Juggling is based on dexterity and hand-eye coordination, which is fundamental to any number of sports and physical activities. 'Keeping all your balls in the air' also develops mental agility, training the brain to focus fully and clearly on the tasks in hand.

Juggling is also a performance art and the basis of many prop based circus skills such as diablo, devil sticks and object manipulation.

The standard three ball cascade isn't as difficult as many novices imagine. Practice is the key to success, and there are plenty of juggling web sites that offer animated instruction.

Along with on line resources, juggling subculture revolves around local clubs and conventions, the culmination of which is World Juggling Day. Organised by the International Juggling Association, this annual event brings enthusiasts together to teach, socialise and celebrate juggling.

Lastly a word about 'joggling', which is quite simply juggling whilst jogging. According to 'jogglers', the act of juggling fits perfectly with the rhythm and pace of running, making it an effective full body workout. World championships are held every year.

Juggling News

Juggling boosts brain networks Learning to juggle has been found to increase the number of nerve cells in the brain (grey matter) and the number of connections between different areas of the brain (white matter). The effects were found after people practiced juggling for half an hour a day for six weeks and were not affected by how good they became. This suggests that it is the process of learning that is important for brain development and neuroplasticity, not the level of proficiency you achieve - i.e. it's more effective to learn something new and challenge your brain than to practice something you're good at.
Source: New Scientist 091009.

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