How to Juggle 4 Balls
HOW TO JUGGLE THE 4 BALL FOUNTAIN (2 ways!)
Ready for the next step in your juggling journey? 4 balls is a great pattern to start practicing once you've learned a bunch of 3 ball tricks!
I've made a video tutorial showing how to learn 4 balls in both the synchronous and asynchronous patterns, plus common troubleshooting mistakes. You can check that out here! But if you prefer written instructions, continue reading...
(but seriously the video will probably be more helpful)
It should go without saying, but you really should have a solid 3 ball pattern before attempting to learn 4 balls. Emphasis on the word SOLID. Make sure you're super comfortable juggling 3 balls! In fact, I even recommend taking the time to learn some fun 3 ball tricks before jumping into 4 balls.
If you want to learn 3 balls, check out my tutorial on that here:
Equipment - JUGGLING BALLS!
If you haven't already, I highly recommend you get a set of juggling beanbags. You may have gotten away with some crappy juggling balls with 3, but 4 balls will come a lot easier with better tools! Check out my affordable and durable set you can buy here!:
(I recommend buying another small item from the website to take advantage of the free shipping over $20!)
Or if you prefer Amazon:
The 4 Ball Fountain (Asynchronous)
The basic 4 ball pattern is called "The 4 Ball Fountain". Unlike with 3 balls, the 4 ball pattern involves throwing to the same hand! This is what distinguishes a "fountain" pattern from a "cascade pattern".
Cascade = crossing throws to the other hand
Fountain = non-crossing throws to the same hand
So the 4 ball fountain is basically just juggling 2 balls in each hand at the same time!
Even number patterns (4,6,8 balls) are typically juggled in the fountain, whereas odd number patterns (3,5,7,9) are typically juggled in a cascade.
Break it Down
To learn the fountain, it's best to break it down ball by hand. Start with two balls in your dominant hand.
Throw one of them up in a long skinny oval, shaping your shoulder, and catch it in the same hand. You should be scooping the ball inwards, just like with 3 balls! The oval goes "inside to outside".
Now when that ball is coming down, throw the next ball! Start with 2 throws. Then do 3 throws.
At this point, I recommend switching hands and practicing 3 throws on the other side as well! Take turns practicing both sides and keep the heights the same on each! Your non-dominant hand will probably be harder, so make sure to practice that side a lot!
To make this easier, you can hold all 4 balls, but only throw one side at a time.
When you do this, keep that long skinny oval in mind!
You also want to make sure each hand isn't crossing over the middle of your body. Since both hands will be juggling at the same time, they have to stay on their sides!
Keep working up your throw count! Start with 3 throws, and add 1 throw at a time until you feel comfortable doing quite a few throws with 2 balls in each hand.
Once you feel comfortable juggling 2 balls in each hand for a bit, you can start practicing them at the same time!
I recommend starting by just doing 4 throws. I usually start with my dominant hand, and count aloud when learning. "1-2-3-4 catch." Do 4 throws until you can get it solid, then add a 5th throw. "1-2-3-4-5 catch." Once that's solid, add a 6th throw, then a 7th, and so on!
The 4 Ball Fountain (Asynchronous)
That's ONE way to do the 4 ball fountain, but we can also do it another way! In the last exercise, we alternated our throws right-left-right-left. That's the ASYNCHRONOUS fountain, because the hands are not throwing at the same time.
The next pattern is called the SYNCHRONOUS fountain. It's the exact same thing we learned above, but this time you are going to throw with both hands at the same time. It's still 2 balls in each hand, they still go the same height, and they still shape your shoulders. The only thing that changes is the timing! Scoop your hands for the throws at the same time, and release at the same time.
I personally find synchronous patterns harder than the asynchronous ones. You have less wiggle room for how far in your hands can scoop, which can make it difficult to avoid collisions.
But I highly recommend learning both patterns! Just keep practicing and you'll be able to do it both ways in no time!
I cover a lot more information in the video tutorial, including how to transition between the asynchronous and synchronous fountains, common mistakes you might be having and how to fix them! If you're interested in seeing that, go here:
Hopefully these instructions help you learn 4 balls! Remember to be patient with yourself, take your time, and have fun. Juggling can be difficult, and learning 4 balls is definitely difficult! But with time and practice, you can do it!
Looking for some great quality juggling props like me? Check out the links below and use promo code "TAYLOR15" for 15% off your entire order!
Juggling Balls: Taylor Tries Beanbag Set
Juggling Clubs: Henry's Loop Clubs