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Glossary of juggling terms


  • cascade
  • fountain
  • half-shower
  • IJA
  • Juggler's World
  • multiplex
  • numbers juggling
  • reversing
  • shower
  • shower-box
  • In a more reasonable order,


    The cascade is the easiest juggling pattern with an odd number of balls; every throw is from one hand to the other, at the same height.


    The fountain is the even-number counterpart to the cascade; now every throw returns to the throwing hand. This separation into two halves is what leads disappointed onlookers to complain that it isn't "really juggling four". (What is it, then?) Note that this pattern has two variants, the synchronous and asynchronous fountain. ("The fountain," without adorning adjective, is taken to mean the asynchronous version.)


    The shower is the pattern most often learned by those who are unfortunate enough to learn in isolation from other jugglers. The dominant hand makes a high throw to the weak hand, which claps the ball back into the dominant hand. Since one hand does almost all the work, it is much more difficult than the corresponding cascade or fountain.

    It is extremely regrettable that "shower" is also the fairly standard name of the most common passing pattern (which these authors prefer to call a "2-count"). Not only is the 2-count more precisely described thus, and wholly unlike one person showering, there is needless confusion introduced when trying to describe the perfectly natural passing pattern that mixes the two.

    a reversed [whatever]

    A reversed pattern is the "same" pattern (in particular, has the same siteswap) but with the balls caught in front of the body and thrown from the outside. This is a bit more difficult, because the most dangerous point in the arc - the place where the balls might collide - occurs longer after the juggler lets go of the ball.

    (Unfortunately "reverse" is also often used to refer to left-right reflection of an asymmetric pattern, such as a shower. We have tried to call this "backwards" the few times that it is relevant in this tutorial, as in "to shower 4 backwards".)


    A half-shower is a pattern in which each hand throws at its own fixed height, but the lower throw is not so low as to be actually handed off. This pattern is usually done half-reversed, that is to say, with the high throws caught inside and thrown outside. (Otherwise it is called an inside half-shower.)


    To multiplex is to throw several balls at once from the same hand, not necessarily all to the same height. It is much easier to juggle many balls through multiplexing (enough so that the IJA does not count multiplexing records in the same category as non-multiplexing records). One hears the phrases "a multiplex," "a multiplex throw," and "a multiplex pattern" (one containing a multiplex). The picture at right is the earliest known depiction of a left-handed multiplex by a Cyclops.


    The shower-box (or simply box; in German it is known as the viper) is a very common three-ball trick, in which one ball is never thrown up, the defining characteristic of a baby-juggling pattern.

    numbers juggling

    Numbers jugglers are not (necessarily) siteswap aficionados, but those hardy souls pressing the limits of human capabilities to track many objects at once. There is one living 10-ball juggler, a few 11-ring jugglers, and a couple dozen 7-club jugglers.

    The IJA and Juggler's World

    The International Jugglers Association was founded in 1947, and publishes the magazine Juggler's World quarterly.

    A sample batch of cool patterns

    Return to "Juggling By The Numbers" Main Page