How I got into joggling

I am often asked why and when I started joggling, among many other questions, and here’s the answer:

I have only been joggling for about a year and a half and juggling for a little while longer. The main reason I started juggling and joggling soon after was because I was in a nasty car accident about 2 years ago. Besides breaking my right hand(one of the metacarpal bones), my left leg was badly bruised, and I had trouble walking. Luckily I spent only a day in the hospital, and my right hand was in a cast for a month.

As soon as the ugly cast came off when my bones had healed, my right(dominant) hand was extremely weak and near useless for several days. I did the rehabilitation exercises(submerging my hand in hot water for 10 minutes, closing and opening a fist) the doctor told me to do every day, and slowly regained my strength but still had little dexterity.

After a few months of this, my hand was mostly back to normal, but I felt I didn’t have the same hand and arm coordination I had before the accident. I was already running again(I’ve been a runner since an early age), but this was becoming increasingly boring. Running had become boring to me before the accident, though I still did it. So I decided to learn how to juggle. It took me weeks due to my poor coordination, but after about a month and a half, I was proficient with the 3 ball cascade. I juggled with lacrosse balls, since they are easily available where I live.

Even before becoming proficient with juggling a 3 ball cascade while stationary, I tried to joggle with 3 balls since it is more time efficient(why run and juggle separately if I can do them at the same time?), but the results were disastrous. So I started “joggling” only 2 balls, and this came easy to me. This isn’t real joggling or even juggling, but it was something to build from.

The transition to 3 ball joggling was difficult. I practiced almost every day for 1 to 2 hours, dropping balls very frequently. Eventually after several months of practice, I could joggle for a mile without dropping any balls or tripping and falling. Then 2 miles. Then 3, while increasing my speed. These days, I am capable of joggling for 5 miles without any drops, though I don’t do this very frequently. I trip so rarely, it surprises even me. One important limiting factor in the early stages of learning to joggle is how exhausting it is; it’s significantly more tiring than mere running, but soon enough you will adapt.

I often do juggling tricks while joggling, twirling around, leaping up on benches and trying to joggle faster, so I do drop balls just about every time I go out to joggle for an hour. I also joggle at about the same speed I would run at if I were not juggling 3 balls, so it isn’t a hindrance to having a good running speed. In fact, since joggling absolutely requires good form and flawless posture, it is possible it is helping me run a little faster – this makes it excellent cross-training for runners and other athletes.

There is still some room for improvement, like not dropping while doing tricks, or when dealing with distractions and crossing busy roads, but I have more than compensated for any loss in coordination due to the accident, and running is a lot more fun than it used to be. I can’t joggle or juggle with 5 balls yet, but I am working on it. Juggling and joggling become boring unless you’re challenging yourself.

If I can joggle, a self-confessed total clutz, a person with little natural athletic ability, who only learned how to juggle at the age of 30 who was a lousy baseball and soccer player as a child, I believe many more people can do it. It just takes a lot of practice.

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