Many people understand the pattern for juggling 3 balls, but its rare that a non-juggler knows the pattern for how to juggle 4 balls. Juggling 4 balls is actually a bit of an illusion—the balls don’t cross. You are actually juggling two balls in each hand at the same time, independently of each other. Therefore, before you can even think of juggling 4 balls, you will need to be a master of juggling 2 balls in 1 hand.
A good juggler juggling 4 balls can really create the illusion that the balls are crossing, especially if he or she is juggling 4 balls of the same color. See the diagram below for the pattern:
Notice in the diagram how the balls never actually cross. The green and yellow balls are always staying in the left hand, while the blue and red balls are being juggled by the right hand. If it is difficult to understand, try concentrating on following the path of one single ball. It will all become clear afterwards.
The trick to getting the illusion down is how you begin the juggle. In order to create the illusion of crossing, you must stagger when you toss each ball. If you begin juggling by tossing the balls in your left and right hands at the same time, the illusion is ruined.
Stagger the juggle by starting with the ball in your dominant hand first, then right before the ball reaches its peak, start juggling with your other hand. It can be very difficult, especially at first, because you have to be mindful of each hand, and both hands are operating in a different rhythm.
Another key to mastering 4 ball juggling is height. If one of your hands is tossing the balls really high and the other is tossing the balls low, it will throw off the illusion. You need to be able to juggle each ball at a consistent height, with both hands. What height you choose is really up to you, and what you are most comfortable with.
If you juggle very low, you will not have a lot of time between tosses, and you will have to be much quicker and more reactive. If you juggle the balls really high, you will have a lot of time to react and catch the balls, but your control will likely suffer. It is best to find a happy medium – a good starting point is about a foot above your head. As you improve, you can alter the height of the balls in mid-juggle!
Many people can juggle three balls, but when it comes to knowing how to juggle 4 balls the number of people who can do it really starts to dwindle. The main reason for this is because they do not know the pattern. But now you do! So get out there and keep practicing! If you feel like you’ve mastered 4 balls, its time to see if you are a hotshot. Can you learn how to juggle 5 balls?
Also, if you need a break from learning how to juggle 4 balls, and you feel like you’ve mastered three balls, you may consider moving on to five balls as well. Even though juggling five balls is difficult, you don’t necessarily have to be able to juggle 4 balls before moving on to five.