Four Ball Half-Mess
The Four Ball Half-Mess is a
variation of the standard Four Ball Mills Mess in which one arm always
crosses over the other, creating a simpler and therefore easier pattern.
Despite this lower difficulty, the Four Ball Half-Mess is rarely if ever
learned before the full Mills Mess, and is often ignored entirely.
As is usually the case with variations, the Four Ball Half-Mess is much easier to learn if you already know the Four Ball Mills Mess. In fact, I was able to transition into a messy version of it without any prior practice. However, this tutorial will assume you have no experience with the Four Ball Mills Mess.
To learn the Four Ball Half-Mess, start with two balls in your dominant hand and one ball in your non-dominant. Cross your dominant hand over your non-dominant, then make a throw across your body from your dominant hand. As you are making that throw, begin to uncross your arms. When your arms become level with each other, make a throw from your non-dominant hand with roughly the same trajectory as the first throw. As the first ball begins to descend toward your now uncrossed dominant hand, you are going to make an overthrow back toward the center of your body, clearing space for you to catch the first ball. You are then going to recross your dominant hand over your non-dominant, catching the second ball with your non-dominant hand and the third ball with your dominant.
Practice this step until you can make all three throws and catches comfortably. To add in the fourth ball, start with two balls in each hand, and then make the same three throws performed in step one. This time however, you are going to follow up the last throw made from your dominant hand with an identical throw made from your non-dominant hand, clearing space for that hand to catch the second ball. Then catch the rest of the balls, with the fourth ball being caught with your non-dominant hand.
Practice these four throws until they are second nature. To run the full Four Ball Half-Mess, simply cross your dominant hand back over your non-dominant hand (as shown in the animation above) and make a throw identical to the very first throw you made, clearing space for you to catch the third ball. This throw marks the beginning of a new cycle, which is then followed by another cycle and then another cycle, and so on, until you are juggling the Four Ball Half-Mess continuously.