I gave my mom her first juggling lesson this morning. We couldn’t have spent much more than five minutes, and I’d say we’re still squarely in the This-Is-Impossible stage. That is to say, we’re right on track.
We’re using the $2.50 juggling set I recently bought at Target.
In a previous post, I wrote that when you first start learning to juggle it will seem impossible. And that’s because it IS impossible — at first. You need to train your mind and muscles to process and execute a new, relatively complex pattern with a good deal of precision.
It will take some time, possibly several hours over a few practice sessions, before things finally start to click. And then it’s lots more work to get juggling ingrained in your muscle memory.
What comes next? Eventually, it becomes automatic.
So, it goes from impossible (you can’t figure it out know matter how hard you think about it) to automatic (you can do it without even thinking).
I’m reading how Juggling for the Complete Klutz describes this stage, but avoids calling it impossible. In fact, it assures, “It’s SIMPLE!” But at the same time, it acknowledges that for the first few minutes the motions “feel as awkward as brushing your teeth left-handed.” (Nice simile!) When it describes the motions of The Exchange, which is where my mom and I left off, Klutz says, “Incidentally, your first ten or so attempts are going to look and feel just terrible, so you might as well get used to that right away — but take heart, a mere ten minutes or so generally makes a big difference.”
Sure enough, she had several excellent exchanges by the end of the session. A dramatic improvement.
Hopefully we can get some before-and-after video of my mom learning how to juggle 3 balls. It was a great first session!