University of Oxford

Juggling: It's Advantages

The Social, Educational and Physical Benefits of learning to Juggle and usage of Circus Skills props (eg. diabolo, plate spinning etc.) are explored in the section of this page.  The words “juggling” and “circus” are interchangeable on this page.  The same benefits is offered for willing pupils by balls, rings and clubs as well as manipulating objects such as diabolo, devil stick, spinning plates which use the art of throwing objects in the air.

LATEST RESEARCH FROM OXFORD UNIVERSITY (12 October 2009) –

“Juggling Increases Brain Power” (BBC News article)

EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS

Improves and Increases:

  • Mathematic Skills
  • Physics (newtons Laws etc)
  • Performance and Drama
  • Appreciation of the Arts
  • Techniques of Learning
  • Concentration
  • Imagination and Creativity
  • Problem Solving
  • Dyslexia

PHYSICAL BENEFITS

Improves and Increases:

  • Confidence
  • Self Esteem
  • Hobbies/Interests
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Patience
  • Self Expression
  • Persistence
  • Self Analysis

SOCIAL BENEFITS
Improves and Increases:

  • Physical Fitness
  • Co-ordination
  • Ambidexterity
  • Flexibility
  • Relfexes
  • Rhythm and Timing
  • Balance
  • Body Orientation
  • (fantastic Stress Reliever!)

Educational Benefits

Cognitive Benefits- So that the student would be able to succeed in juggling he must understand a pattern, set targets for their throws and work on the rhythm and timing of their throws.

On the book: Teaching Elementary Physical Education-by Robert P. Pangrazi, many educational benefit’s evidence are found.

The Daily Routines great break- Students are helped by physically active study (such as juggling) return to their work/studies feeling more productive and refreshed during extensive academic work periods such as daily lunch break from work or studies.

Learners who are kinesthetically and physically active will love to learn juggling.  Introducing juggling breaks/intervals into your regular studies/school day will show you how these types of learners improve academically.

Appreciation of the Arts- Once you have seen how easy juggling is by learning the basics you will then begin to see how many hundreds of thousand s of tricks are out there for you to master.  If students work on putting together a show at the end of their workshop, they may begin to get a small glimpse of what it is like to work in the entertainment industry.

Imagination and Creativity- After getting involved with juggling you can let your imagination run wild and experiment with the tricks you have learned.  You may indeed end up inventing a new trick or even just a different way of achieving a trick just by imagining different patterns and different routines.

Good for your brain- Incidence of Alzheimer’s disease will reduce to people who challenge their brains and use them for complex tasks throughout their lives.  This is shown from studies.

Helps Dyslexia- Disabilities like dyslexia, attention deficit disorders and hyperactivity are helped by juggling.  Through the knock-on effect of all the other benefits the reason that it happen.  Improved concentration and problem solving are the benefits included.

Student Behavior is Improved- Behavior of students who tend to create the most trouble has been improved as being reported by schools with juggling programmes.

Problem Solving- Learn each parts of juggling trick as it has been broken down into small component parts.  Then try to learn how to combine each part to form the trick being learned by these students.  Someone who is more experienced is guaranteed to offer advice if at any particular point in juggling they were stuck.

Juggling Can Boost Brain Power- Learning to juggle as found by scientists can cause brain changes.  In 12 people who have learned to juggle has been found by researchers to have grown brain areas using brain scans.  After three months when these people stopped juggling, their brain had gone back to its normal size.  If you are interested to read more about this amazing story, please visit the article on the BBC News Website.

You can find the article on “The Brain Power” on the CNN website – Juggling is good for the Brain

Some Further Articles/Research to Read
(external research – links will open in a new browser window)

  • Juggling and Learning – an article that I was interviewed for by MyChild Magazine
  • The Academic Benefits (a fantastic article by Dave Finnigan!)
  • Teachers link juggling to Improved Academic Skills
  • Mathematics of Juggling – Book Review
  • Exercising Both Sides of the Brain  – See Brain Gym website
  • Juggling as Performing Mathematics article
  • Physics of Juggling article
  • Observation Experiment on the Physics of Juggling – (this link takes a while to load and you need quicktime installed on your computer)
  • A physics lesson – on objects such as rings and clubs react differently when thrown through the air

Click to find out more about Steve’s Circus Skills Workshops

This Book Review is taken from Happychild.co.uk

Learning how to learn and learning how to juggle can be possible.  Do you think it is?  The book by Michael J. Gelb and Tony Buzan entitled “Lessons from the Art of Juggling” is for you if you agree with it.  You will learn by far that learning is a rewarding and joyful process after reading the book.  You will also learn that everyone has a potential to learn and it has no limit.

As you grow old, your ability to learn will improve.  Actually, the reason that we hold back from trying to learn something new is due to our fear of making a mistake.  Essentially, mistakes are big learning, so it is just alright if we make mistakes. Just try to learn to juggle avoiding the ball to drop.  When the ball does not drop, it is an indication that you are not making progress at all.  Learning’s nature is like this, ” a series of apparent set back interwoven with plateaus of skill stagnation and the joyous bursts of sharp improvement and steady progress.”

Well, even if you are not interested to learn how to juggle, you can still gain something from this book because juggling is just a metaphor illustrating the process of learning.  The book is covering topics like The Power of Visualization, How to Use Models of Excellence, The Process of Trial and Error, How to Become a Successful Coach and the Importance of Play in the Learning Process.

Lessons from the Art of Juggling by Michael J. Gelb and Tony Buzan is published by Aurum Press.

The Physical Benefits of Juggling/Circus Skills

Physical Fitness- Juggling is the best way to exercise.  Juggling is a fun activity, so people spend hours of practicing how to juggle.  In picking up juggling item that has been dropped, a person bends over to pick it up.  Juggling is just a bending and stretching exercise.  People may learn about juggling scarf, fantastic cardio-vascular and pulmonary workout.  Throws and catches happen.  Repetitive motions of throwing and catching are built and toned by existing muscles.  As people are having progress, moving on to juggle heavier objects will be done as weight training.

Eye-Hand Co-ordination-  Learning to juggle has improved this skill load.  Other sporting activity that you do will also benefit from learning how to juggle.

Ambidexterity – People that are learning circus skills are using mainly the stronger hand.  Then the weaker hand is used to learn doing the trick.

Keeping you warm-The benefits of juggling can be promoted by allowing people to have the chance to try juggling and be informed about the findings on the pages learned from the seminars.  When people participate in a quick lesson of something it gets them a bit warmer helping them to have more concentration than in a function room which is quited cold sometimes.

Balance- For many years in life, balance is important whether you are balancing or trying to find a balance extremes.  Students will able to learn circus skills and at the same time learn balancing.  They can balance both sides of their brain because they tend to learn how to juggle using one side of their brain.  When you are already get used to the pattern, switching to the other side of the brain will happen.  Your body and mind have to work in balance with each other in order to make the moves possible.  Mastering the rola, bola, tight rope or unicycle will improve your physical balancing.

Improved Motor Skills – Juggling requires throwing an catching skills, rhythm and timing, hand-eye coordination which covers both fine and gross motor management.

Timing and Rhythm–Some of the students prefer learning juggling to music as they can throw and catch on the beat this way.  Juggling pace may vary based on the tempo of the song.  Jugglers struggling to space their throws out can be helped by juggling to music.

Fantastic Stress Reliever-  Focus fully to reduce stress and able to give your attention to juggling and learning by putting worldly concerns tone side.  The body and mind is allowed to stay focus and alert while remaining calm and relaxed in a mental and physical state called relaxed concentration.  After you finished juggling and feel that your mind is refreshed you will find out that it is just easy to answer your problem. Being a professional juggler, you may find another hobby to relieve stress.

Read this article explaining why Seniors/OAP’s will get just as much benefits out of taking up Circus Skills. This is a good reading material for the young and old.  Wilton Seniors Juggle Class and Fun.

Some Further Articles/Research to Read

(external research – links will open in a new browser window)

  • Juggling and how it improves your sports vision
  • Ambidexterity article

Juggling/Circus Skills Social Benefits


Juggling builds great confidence.  It can be learned quickly and a very rewarding activity.

Self-Esteem- When students can get up and perform successfully for adults or other students, self esteem ascend.  To enhance self esteem the key is the realization of one’s self worth.  An applause from the audience or peer can be the source of all these.  Self-confidence and self-esteem can increase dramatically through non-competitive play and the continual success of learning a new trick.  As self-confidence and self-esteem increase, internal success mechanisms are also reinforced.  Thus, juggling is good for children’s mental health since it boosts self-esteem.  When one has superior self-esteem, he can easily cope with the knocks that life may bring.

Learners who are kinesthetic and physically active do love juggling.  These type of learners have performed very well and improved academically ( actually these learners are among the ones with biggest behavioural problems)

Persistence/Perseverance – Expectedly you may drop when you juggle.  The will continue the tricks they are working, move past these drops until they overcome it.  Anyway, drops and mistake do not matter all at once.  They just appear to be a stepping stone to success.

Develops Hobbies and Interests – Definitely, circus skills are so wide and varied that you are bound to search for one particular discipline which is quite addictive and wish to learn more.  Able to learn your chosen skills more deeply, you may find yourself wanting to perform other activities.  By then, you may start meeting other performers and continue to learn.  Practice and learning arts is in turn required.

Confidence is also improved by juggling as most people will find that they can do something they have previously thought was impossible.  Once that something they thought impossible is achieved, they will turn to have different outlook in life where things suddenly turned out to be more achievable.  Juggling became a hobby and interest by people who enjoyed the activity which is an umbrella for so many other activities like diabolo, spinning poi and many more.

Juggling also develops teambuilding and teamwork because it is a kind of extraordinary social activity that requires and develops friendships and trust.  When the student is performing they find themselves working closely with other performers.  Juggling similarly develops individuality so people can choose to perform their own.

Make New Friends- Forming and making friends is also encouraged through juggling.  Students who were able to attend juggling workshops said that friendship developed after teaching each other news skills.

Communication –  A way to communicate with one another by means of sharing and teaching skills to others and monitoring their fellow student’s advancement is given by juggling through cooperative work on group tasks.  Jugglers who have just learned a trick is trying to teach someone else what they have learned.  In this way, they can show more empathy towards the new pupil than any seasoned juggler.  Having a performance in front of an audience is another communication method.  This method help students overcome stage fright, conquer fear of public speaking and improve confidence.

Academic Benefits of Juggling – Extract from this article

“Juggling able to provide a series of sequential problems that require the student to calm down, pay attention, listen analytically, observe critically, focus on one activity at a time, plan a learning strategy, go step by step, stay on task, screen out distractions, manage their muscles to act appropriately and with the desired results using successive approximations, persevere through a series of minor failures (drops), analyze final results of the process, and incorporate the newly learned activities into a larger pattern of complex learned activities that can be demonstrated and taught to others.  It is a cumulative, limitless, branching model which teaches creative problem solving through direct experience and enhances creativity by presenting intrinsic and extrinsic reinforcement with every gained skill.”

There are more articles to back up all my insights on how circus skill can help everyone and anyone!

Searching for more about Steve’s Juggling Services take time to look around the Juggler for Hire section of the website and learn how these Benefits of Juggling to you and your clients.

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