There are at least 8 reasons you should start throwing things.
1. Juggling boosts brain development. Research indicates that learning to juggle accelerates the growth of neural connections related to memory, focus, movement, and vision. The beneficial changes persist even after weeks without practice.
2. Juggling is egalitarian. It doesn’t discriminate by age, size, gender, or athletic ability. A ten-year-old is as likely to be a fantastic juggler as anyone else, something not true of marathon running, boxing, or drag racing.
3. Juggling builds hand-eye coordination in ways that improve reaction time, reflexes, spatial awareness, strategic thinking, and concentration. This helps improve confidence as well as athletic ability. It may, if juggling enthusiasts are to be believed, even promote reading skills.
4. Juggling gets you moving enough to increase your oxygen intake, not so much that you sweat profusely.
5. Juggling can be stimulating as well as calming. While learning more complicated juggling skills you rely on left-brain processes, carefully focusing and analyzing the steps. When practicing skills you’ve already mastered you rely on right-brained processes, relaxing into a more fluid, intuitive motion. To get the most out of juggling, make time for both.
6. Juggling puts you in charge, since you can make it as easy or difficult as you choose. Start with three balls and master toss juggling. To amp up the challenge increase the speed, add more balls, change patterns, or incorporate a bit of bounce juggling. You can also change props, learn trick juggling, try multi-person juggling, add comedic patter, heck, even hold a flaming torch in your mouth if you’re well insured.
7. Juggling teaches a growth mindset. You learn from mistakes, noticing how effort and increasing experience bring you ever greater mastery. As Dr. Dweck explains in the ground-breaking book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, this approach is a vital formula for success in school, sports, business, and personal relationships. Might as well learn it while dropping the ball.
8. Juggling is ridiculously fun.
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About Laura Grace Weldon
Laura Grace Weldon is a writer, editor, conflict resolution educator, and marginally useful farm wench. She is the author of Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything. She lives with her family on Bit of Earth Farm. Check out life on the farm at http://bitofearthfarm.wordpress.com/ and keep up with Laura’s relentless optimism at http://lauragraceweldon.com/blog-2/