Juggling and Reading

Illustrations by Donna Bain

Copyright 1991

The Eyes are very important in Learning to Juggle.

Studies show many children spend hours a day watching TV. Juggling moves the eyes around, creating much needed exercise

The two hemispheres of our brain are connected by a bridge of nerves. This is the way the two sides communicate with each other. We need an open flow of information to be shared by each hemisphere to achieve optimal learning.

The bridge of nerves which connect the brain hemispheres can become blocked, kind of like a stiff neck. When the bridge is blocked, often by stress, the student has difficulty learning and frustration is the result.

Juggling is one exercise that helps open the flow of information.

Each hemisphere controls the opposite side of the body.

Juggling requires using both hands on one task simultaneously.

If both hands are working in a coordinated effort, the hemispheres are also cooperating and there is a flow of information being shared across the bridge.

Neuro-linquistic programming states that when a person is looking downward they are in the kinesthetic, feeling state. This is a main reason why people look downward when they are depressed.

When juggling the person looks upward. Neuro-linquistic programming states that when a person looks upward they are in the visual state.

Looking up is one reason juggling is a good stress-buster: and a good warm-up for reading or test taking.

As in the illustration, readers can tend to favor their dominant eye, creating an imbalance of information flowing to each hemisphere. If the dominant eye goes to the nondominant hemisphere, the information needs to flow over the bridge, stress can stop the flow.

After doing crossing the midline exercises, a reader can naturally move to a centered position which enables the visual information to be processed in a more balanced way.

Warn the CAT!

Watch For FANS!

Give Yourself Plenty of Space for the Chaos

Enjoy the Chase!

Just about Everyone Needs to Walk Forward when Learning to Juggle.

Give Yourself Plenty of Space!


A block for many people is not tossing the third beanbag. They toss, toss, catch, catch but the third beanbag stays. They end up with the two beanbags in one hand- end of attempt.



Letting go creates CHAOS. At first you may feel out of control. That's good. Enjoy the uncertainty and look for the new connections. You need to go through some chaos to figure out any new skill. Have fun, laugh, things get better fairly quickly.



The breakthrough is fun! Most people make several to many attempts and get 3 or 4 completed tosses each attempt. Then as they toss before catching and allow their brain to make new connections, the Quantum Leap occurs and in one turn they do 8 or 9 continuous tosses. It is one of those beautiful moments, the Eureka of discovery in the creative process.


An educational and fun thing happens as you continue to focus on continuous tosses without a drop. The Quantum Leaps are bigger and will occur in less attempts. From 8 or 9 tosses in a row level a juggler will jump to a 16 or 17. Then a leap will occur into the 30's that took less attempts than it took to go form 8 to 16.


The process repeats itself so set a goal of 100. Have someone count and you'll be able to to chart the jumps of improvement.


Lazy 8's are an excellent eye exercise. Hold your thumb up with arms outstretched. Keep your head still, move the thumb in a laying down 8 motion. Follow the thumb with your eyes. Do three each with left, right and both thumbs together.

Lazy 8's exercise each muscle in the eyes and is a great warm-up for reading, test taking and juggling.

The Crosscrawl is a good crossing the midline exercise.

Touch the right hand to the left knee then left hand to right knee.

Combine 30 or so Crosscrawls with Lazy 8's when warming up for reading, test taking or juggling.

I asked some friends who were in their 40's and 50's if they would like to learn to juggle and I would coach them and video tape the entire process, each attempt. Rich, Mike, Kelly and Robin agreed and thought it would be fun and it was fun. We did this in 2010.

Rich is a successful person who has been a good athlete all his life but could never juggle. The following video is edited to show the highlights but Rich learned in three sessions of about a half hour over a week's time.

Time on video 16 to 45

The beginning of the video I had handed Rich all three beanbags and asked him to try to juggle to see his pattern. Notice he hands the beanbags straight across instead of tossing into the air. Then he threw them straight up out of each hand.

50 yo 1:20

After coaching on one beanbag he is working with two and is now doing the toss, toss, catch, catch motion. This took quite a few attempts to change the pattern.

His timing is good as he releases the second bb as the first one peaks in the air.

1:28 to 1:45

Notice he does not let go of the third beanbag.

1:52 to 2:20

He starts to let go and when he smiles you can see he now understands the juggling pattern.

2:27 to 3:20

Now he is improving rapidly with consecutive tosses into the teens

3:20 to 3:57

Once the pattern is learned leaps of improvement happen and Rich does 32 tosses without a drop.

Upper Left Visual Field

Lower Right Visual Field

Kevin's Combination


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