Five Ball Cascade
- Siteswap: 5
- Difficulty (1-10): 9
- Prerequisites: Cascade, 552, 5551, 55550
- Related Tricks: Reverse Five Ball Cascade
The Five Ball Cascade is the
base pattern for five ball juggling. It has the same basic structure as the
three ball Cascade, with each ball being thrown from one hand to the other
in an arch across the body. For most jugglers, the Five Ball Cascade is one
of the first patterns encountered that can't simply be learned in a day or
two. Instead, it requires months and sometimes even years of practice to
For this reason, a step-by-step walthrough is not particularly helpful. Therefore, this tutorial will instead outline important juggling exercises that can be done to accelerate your progress. The first exercise to practice is the 552.
While certainly distinct from the Five Ball Cascade, since many throws are made sequentially from the same hand, the 552 is a relatively slow-paced pattern that uses throws of roughly the same height and trajectory as the Five Ball Cascade. This is very important, since your success at mastering that pattern hinges on making accurate throws. Once you have mastered the 552, it is time to move on to the 5551.
The 5551 maintains the same throws as those found in the 552, except for the addition of a horizontal pass. This pass is what gives the 5551 more value for learning the Five Ball Cascade, since the throws are faster and always alternate hands. Once you become comfortable with the 5551, the final exercise to practice is the 55550.
The 55550 is essentially a Five Ball Cascade juggled with only four balls. The only real difference between the two patterns is that the final throw of the Five Ball Cascade is missing. The 55550 forces you to pay close attention to the cadence of your throws, since the gap normally present in the pattern can easily disappear with sloppy timing. Upon mastery of this final exercise, you are ready to add in the fifth ball.
Start with three balls in your dominant hand and two balls in your non-dominant. Make a high Cascade throw from your dominant hand, and follow it up with two more identical throws, alternating hands each time. At this point, three balls should be in the air, and one ball should be in each hand. The first ball that you threw from your dominant hand should now be approaching your non-dominant hand. Make a throw from your non-dominant hand to clear space for the ball to be caught. Similarly, as the first ball you threw from your non-dominant hand approaches your dominant hand, make a throw from your dominant hand to clear space for that ball to be caught. Then catch the rest of the balls.
Practice this step extensively. Once you are able to make and catch all five throws in a controlled manner, you simply need to keep adding more and more throws to the pattern as you become more and more comfortable. Eventually, you will be able to make dozens of throws, at which point it is safe to say that you are a five ball juggler. Of course, there is still a long road ahead to achieving mastery of the Five Ball Cascade, as you begin to make hundreds and then even thousands of throws without dropping.