When you first start juggling three balls you will have a lot on your plate to take in, learn, and perfect. Depending on how much you practice, it could take a couple years for you to perfect even just a few three ball patterns. There are also all the three ball tricks and illusions that are there for you to learn and master as well. However, the time will eventually come where you will find the need to further your juggling career by starting to four ball juggle. To four ball juggle effectively you will need to know the patterns and understand the fundamentals behind four ball juggling.
You may think that four ball juggling is essentially adding another ball to an existing pattern and continuing the pattern just is if you were doing it with three balls. This is often the general consensus that has many amateur jugglers start trying to do the 4 ball cascade and fail miserably. In order to four ball juggle you need to meet a couple requirements.
First of all, you need to have the three ball cascade perfected before trying to four ball juggle anything. This is essentially the same idea of needing to learn to walk before you run. The three ball cascade is the most basic trick in juggling, it is a prerequisite that you must meet before trying anything else. Perfecting the three ball cascade is essentially having fifty consecutive throws. You also want to have a few other three ball juggling tricks perfected; preferably harder tricks like Mills’ Mess and Rubenstein’s Revenge. Once you have that kind of experience under your belt you are ready to begin learning to four ball juggle.
Four Ball Cascade
Most tricks cannot translate from four balls to three balls. The cascade is one of the few in which you can simply add as many balls as you want to the pattern, compensate for the addition of how many extra balls you have added, and keep going. There are theoretically two ways to compensate for adding a ball to the cascade pattern. One way would be to simply speed up the throws to make up for the addition of another ball. This will cause you to rush and drop more often. A juggler is at their best when they are calm and relaxed. The way most jugglers compensate is by simply throwing the balls higher which allows them more time because the balls take longer to fall back. The more balls you juggle in the cascade the higher the trick goes. This sounds a lot easier than it is. Because there is more time and more balls in the air you have to be extra careful that the balls do not collide. If they do it is game over and you will have to start again.
Two Balls, One Hand
Now that the cascade discussion is out of the way it is time to move onto the meat of four ball juggling. There are a variety of different patterns and tricks that involve juggling four balls. However, in order to do most of them you will need to master the art of juggling two balls in one hand. This sounds a lot easier than it is. To learn the one handed two ball juggle you need to ease into it with two steps. The first is done with simply one ball. Hold a ball in your hand, throw it into the air and then catch it with the same hand you threw the ball with. You want to throw the same way you throw for any other juggling pattern. Be sure to keep your palms up and level in the usual rest position. Once you can throw the ball consistently to roughly the same height and catch it then you are ready to start juggling two balls with one hand.
There are two basic one hand two ball juggling patterns. There is the column juggling where both balls are thrown straight up and caught coming straight down. To do this you need to throw one ball straight up and then throw the second ball up just as the first starts to descend. Keep the columns the same distance apart and peaking at the same height and you will have mastered one handed column juggling. Then there is the circular motion. Throw one ball up and slightly over creating a tight oval pattern. As the first ball begins to descend you need to throw the second ball up into the air in the same exact shape. Once you have both of these tricks in your arsenal you can begin basic four ball juggling.
Four Ball Easy Mode
Two easy ways to four ball juggle is done by simply implanting the one handed two ball juggles at the same time. You could have four columns being juggled at once or two circles being juggled just barely crossing into one another. While it may sound easy it is a lot harder than it sounds or looks and take dedicated practice to perform.
There is one more basic method for four ball juggling. To perform it you must be able to take one ball in each hand and throw them up to the same height at the same time. Once you got this down with two balls you are ready to try with four. Simply wait until the first pair begins its descent to throw up the second pair. Once you complete any of the four ball juggling patterns mentioned here you are officially a four ball juggler which is a great accomplishment for a juggler to attain. Once you have four ball juggling down you will be well on your way to five ball juggling and more.