Do it Yourself


by Craig Rusbult, Ph.D. 


Yes, it's fun to watch juggling (as in my juggling video) but it's more fun to DO IT !


Here is a description from a juggling course I taught, for a decade in the 1980s, for the University of Washington Experimental College in Seattle:

    Juggling is exciting, relaxing, and fun.  It's easy, too!   If you want to learn, I can help.  We'll start from the beginning and you'll develop skill in small, easy-to-do steps.  You'll move from basic patterns to simple yet impressive solo variations, passing between partners, and advanced tricks with 2, 3, 4 or more objects.  I'll show you principles for inventing your own new patterns, and for moving with fluency and style.  We'll juggle with balls and clubs, humor and enthusiasm.

If this sounds like fun, you can learn how to juggle by using my 12-page booklet* for Do-it-Yourself Juggling that begins:

    Most people like to watch juggling.  There is a natural fascination with seeing the balls carve their fluid, moving sculptures through the air, as the juggler makes sense of a situation that, on the surface, looks very confusing.  Balls are flying up and down, all around, but somehow they remain in the air and under control.
    Do you wonder how the juggler keeps it all going?  Well, it's easier than it looks, and doesn't require any special super-coordination.  Yes, it really is possible.  If you want to juggle, you can do it! And this book can help you learn.  How?  Consider this example:
    Imagine that we're standing at the bottom of a long stairway, and I ask you to jump all the way up to the top.  Unless you're bionic or kryptonic, you'll protest “I can't do it!”  But if I ask you to climb to the top one step at a time, you'll easily make it because what you're trying to do is something you're capable of doing.
    Similarly, the complex actions of juggling can be learned in simple, easy-to-do steps.  Each step you take will help prepare you for the next one, and soon you'll be doing amazing and wonderful things.  This method works remarkably well for learning everything from basic fundamentals to the most advanced tricks.

* I sold these, along with beanbags-for-juggling, at public markets (in Seattle, Portland, Eugene, Costa Mesa) after free 5-Minute Juggling Lessons, and at IJA Juggling Festivals in 1981-82-83 in OH-CA-NY.   This small booklet was the first part of a large book that unfortunately has been lost.



How long did it take me to learn?

12 years and 45 minutes.  Why so long?   In high school a friend was juggling 3 tennis balls, so I said “wow” and he said “if you want to do it, I can show you how” but without thinking much I thought “no, I can't do it” and didn't accept his offer to teach me.   12 years later another friend said “I can help you learn” but this time I decided “yes, I can” and with her help (thanks, Lynn!) in 45 minutes I was juggling.  With skill and enthusiasm.   But ...

In addition to changing from “no I can't” to “yes I can,” a more important change was motivation.  The second time I wanted to learn, so I did.   Four motivating experiences were:  • just becoming older and more adventurous;   • watching street performers (musicians, mimes, balloon twisters, jugglers ...) early in the summer at the U District Street Fair in Seattle, and enjoying the creative art-in-motion of the jugglers;   • soon afterward, a coincidental conversation on the UW Campus with a Flying Karamazov Brother* (Howard, aka Ivan) about music (I love it - listening & improvising - and grew up playing trombone and Howard was part of the Tremendous Traveling Trombone Trio I had seen & heard in Santa Cruz CA) and entertaining (on the street versus on stage) and juggling;   • meeting Lynn, who let me say “yes” to learning.   I learned on 7-7-77 (she said “this will make it easy to remember the day”) and the next day I bought The Juggling Book by Carlo, to stimulate ideas for exploring possibilities on my exciting new adventure.

My teaching of juggling began in early 1979, with my first class for the “experimental college” of Oregon State University in Corvallis, where I also taught Strategies for Problem Solving.     /     also:  {booklet by me & teaching videos by others}   {learning from all experience}   {how I didn't learn to ski (by making mistakes) and then did (with insight), plus learning to swim in 5 seconds}

* FKB-collage  1983  errors  music  symphony1  ducktown  more



Do-it-Yourself Juggling :
How to Juggle (in 4 fairly easy steps) 
Juggling with Style 
Finding New Ways to Juggle 
Learning How to Learn: 
    Using your personal See-and-Do System,
    Relax to improve Coordination & Strength,
    How I Didn't Learn to Ski (and then did).


Copyright ©1982 by Craig Rusbult


I.O.U. – Soon (maybe July 2021) I'll find “teaching videos” and will link to them.

  cartoon about juggling   

Originally this booklet was the introduction for a comprehensive book about juggling, individually and with partners, but... unfortunately, after I invested lots of time writing many pages and chapters for it (with many creative ideas & diagrams), the manuscript has been misplaced.    :<(     I'm still hoping it isn't permanently lost, and I'll find it, but... maybe not.  I'm sad because if I had it now, I could share it with you.


The cartoon was by Frank Clark (he also drew skiing and tree-cutting) who is now the Creative Director of Square Tomato Advertising in Seattle.


If you like this page, you may also like these pages:
my juggling video
make your own music
how I didn't learn to ski
learning from experience
designing physical skills
the joys of thinking
Science in Sports
Science in Arts


This page, by Craig Rusbult, Ph.D.