Juggling 4 Clubs

by Peter Mark
  4 clubs: I've been trying to do this one for ages. 
  Anyone have some good tips?

4 clubs is one i'm working on now. i'm actually surprised at how quickly i'm getting it. it seems helpful to first completely master the various patterns that arise from the 4-club pattern you're aiming for MINUS ONE CLUB. so for example, if you're trying to get the basic pattern of juggling the clubs in columns with simultaneous throws:

                        ^  |  ^  |
                        |  |  |  |
                        |  |  |  |
                        | \ / | \ /

                club #  1  2  3  4

then before even attempting this pattern with all 4 clubs, first work on this *exact* pattern without club #1, then again without club #2, etc. [note: each of these *is* different!] once you've got each of these 4 patterns down, you'll find putting it all together really isn't bad at all. same goes for 4 club pattern with staggered throws and columns, and i presume with circular throws instead of columns, though i haven't worked much on it yet.

by Hunter Nuttall

The fountain is the first four club pattern you should learn. Learning columns before the fountain would be like learning the three ball reverse cascade before the cascade - it's not necessarily harder, it's just not the real way to do it.

You should first be able to do three clubs with double spins. Take a club and throw it higher than normal so that it spins more. You might find yourself wondering "how am I supposed to know if that was a double or a triple?" But if it's not a single and you catch the right end, rest assured that it's a double. Make sure you're just throwing the club higher, not spinning it faster; otherwise your throws won't get solid as quickly.

When you can throw consistent doubles with both hands, you can do a cascade with doubles. Rather than starting with doubles, get a cascade going with singles first, then start throwing doubles. This will keep you from having to deal with the tricky start for now (throwing a double from a hand that's holding two clubs).

After you can go from a cascade with singles to a cascade with doubles and sustain it for a bit, learn to start going directly into doubles. Put two clubs in your dominant hand and try to throw one of the clubs with a double spin. It will seem to require much more force to throw a double while holding a second club in the same hand, but it will soon feel natural. Now put two clubs in your subordinate hand and try the same thing. When you can start a cascade with double spins from either hand, you are ready to learn two clubs in one hand with doubles.

One of the first things you will notice about two clubs in one hand is that it's a great way to get smacked in the wrists. Bruised wrists and numbness in the hands are common side effects of learning four clubs, but they can be prevented with a little care. You'll want to take off your watch, and you should angle your hands slightly inwards so that you catch each club with its handle parallel to your forearm, but not touching it. This is one way of preventing the knobs from hitting your wrists. Alternatively, you can protect your wrists by pointing the clubs at an angle to the outside, thus pointing the knobs toward your body and away from your wrists. I use the first method, but do whatever feels right for you.

When you're learning two in one hand, don't worry about trying to finish cleanly. It will be much easier to learn to stop later on, after your throws become more controlled. I didn't get a clean flash with four clubs until I could get 30 catches. For now, just catch one club in each hand when you want to stop, or let one fall to the ground. After two in one hand starts to feel comfortable, you can go ahead and try four once in a while, but keep working on two in one hand until you get about 100 catches with each hand.

Unless you have very high-quality clubs, you will probably get bruises on the palm side of your knuckles, your fingertips, and the base of your thumb. The pain can be a limiting factor in how long you can practice, but it will disappear as your throws get smoother. Practicing in short sessions (~15 min) in the beginning stages is a good way to minimize the chance of painful injury.

Work on both the synchronous and asynchronous fountains, and remember to use plenty of scoop in order to prevent collisions. Four clubs is a great thing to watch, so keep at it. It's definitely easier than five balls.

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