Best Balls for 1 Ball Contact Juggling



Still work in progress currently updating: 19/08/10
After 15 years teaching contact juggling and manipulation here are…

MoM’s Recommended Balls for Beginner Contact Jugglers

In order to learn contact juggling you need only 1 ball, any of these will be an ideal first ball, and for many contact jugglers, it will be all the ball they ever need.

  • An Orange – Tasty, and you’ve probably already got one, preferably as large and as round as you can get. This will make a great substitute while you wait for one of the following ball to be delivered / visit to your local juggling store.
  • 100mm/4″ “Practice Contact Ball” – This is a heavier and more stable stage ball developed for Contact juggling.
  • 100mm/4″ Sil-X Ball – The Sil-X balls were developed by Play Juggling in Italy, The 100mm version was designed and tested by Drew from MoM to be an ideal ball for 1 ball Contact Juggling.
  • 125mm/5″ Jeanine Bodyrolling – Mister Babache have taken their classic 100mm stage ball, and increased the size to 125mm to make Jeanine’s dream ball for Bodyrolling contact juggling.
  • 85mm-100mm/3.5″-4″ Clear Acrylic Ball.

What about beautiful acrylic balls? Oooh, Shiney. We wouldn’t recommend that a beginner buys just an acrylic ball. Learning Contact Juggling takes a lot of practice, and a lot of dropping, which can scratch to your lovely shiney new acrylic. So if you want an acrylic, we would recommend that you get one of the balls above and also an acrylic ball. Which size acrylic? 85mm-100mm/3.5″-4″ see below.

A more detailed answer

What’s the best size ball for Contact Juggling?

For most people, a 100mm/4″ diameter Ball is an ideal size for starting 1 ball contact juggling, this is also the most common size used by expert Contact Jugglers.
Children or women with very small hands, might want to consider a smaller ball 85-90mm/3.5″ as a viable alternative. A smaller ball may be cheaper and might feel more manageable for Contact Juggling in the hands, but it is less stable and so will be more difficult to learn arm rolling, body rolling and to perfect isolations. So generally we would recommend 100mm/4″ for everyone.

The best size of ball for starting to learn Multiball Contact Juggling with 3-11 balls is more complex, see this 2 page extract from Multiball Contact Appendix 2 (pdf), generally the answer is 75mm/3″ diameter acrylic balls.

Practice Contact Balls

Stage balls – we used squidgy before we found the heavier contact balls (stage ball 160g contact ball 270g). For rolling moves a Contact ball is better (Hard stage balls are sometimes described as “contact balls”)

There are several manufacturers making balls which are sold as “Practice Contact Balls” the good ones are 260g-300g, others which are like hard stage balls weigh 170g. To tell the difference, check the weight and be sure to buy the heavier option! These balls look identical! See: Top left stage ball, Top right lightweight hard stage ball (ugh), bottom Contact ball(yes).

That sorts out your first ball, but what else might be useful?

Well if you like natural can find them 4″ wooden balls are a good option, particularly if you’re into Ren Faires or historic re-enactment.

Stage balls

Lighter in weight and less stable than the other balls, but readily available from Juggling shops. The squishy stage balls are much nicer to use than the hard stage balls.

Sil-X

Body Rolling balls

If the style of contact juggling that you with to learn body rolling, you absolutely, positively, should GO LARGE. With either a 125mm/5″ Jeanine bodyrolling ball (made by Mister Babache) or Drew’s favorite Rhythmic Gymnastics ball.

Acrylic Balls

We recommend one other ball for a beginner contact juggler.

  • 85mm-100mm /3.5″-4″ Clear Acrylic Ball.

Everyone loves the look of Acrylic balls. Acrylics are beautiful, they are also easy to scratch. Learning Contact Juggling involves dropping the ball, a lot. There are far too many stories of contact jugglers smashing glass tables, laptop screens, and tea cups, bruising ankles and making puppies yelp. A lovely shiney new acrylic ball will get beat up with all the dropping, so if you want an acrylic, we recommend that you buy one of the other plastic balls above.

The most common size amongst professionals performing 1 ball contact juggling is 100mm. Large Acrylics are very visual, they are also heavy, for most beginners a 100mm Acrylic (pictured below) weighing 625g can be too heavy. So unless you consider yourself to have very strong hands, don’t start with such a heavy ball, you may risk tendon damage.
An 85mm-90mm/3.5″ Acrylic ball: is a much more manageable 400g and is a great choice for a beginner, with a bonus that they are often half the price of a 4″ ball. We highly recommend the very reliable supplier: Home of Poi who sell an 85mm Acrylic ball for a very reasonable price, and ship worldwide.

For 1 ball contact, don’t use an acrylic smaller than 85mm / 3.4″. Keep those classic 3″/75mm sized balls for Multiball Contact. Such small balls are too small for 1 ball contact, they do not have enough visual impact for the audience. That light weight and small size makes them less stable, it will be much easier to learn with a larger ball.

Balls we don’t recommend for learning contact juggling:

  • Any ball lighter than 250g – learning Contact is much easier with a heavier ball.
  • Any ball heavier than about 600g – A very heavy ball can be dangerous for the tendons of a beginner.
  • Any ball smaller than 3.4″/85mm – learning Contact Juggling is much easier with a larger ball.
  • Small stage balls – Smaller than 4″/100mm, Very light and unstable,
  • Small Acrylics less that 3″ diameter. Visually, these get lost in your hands – this includes Fushigi balls – Ugh.
  • Tennis balls, Pool balls, snooker balls and Lacrosse balls – ugh far too small
  • Hard stage balls – any size. Ugh, the soft ones are so much nicer to use.

Drew: I learned with a 3″ stage ball. Ewwww. If I’d had better advice, and got a larger heavier ball, then I would probably have saved myself 2 years of practice.

27 thoughts on “Best Balls for 1 Ball Contact Juggling”

  1. thanks for this tips but i live in mexico city, where can i find this kind of stuff, and they have like spiritual rithm? or something like that? cuz i believe they have, anyway thanks for this stuff, and hope i can learn more of this art

  2. Nick: I have 6 of them, I would say that in my experience, they are too light. Especially for beginners, it will be much easier to learn with a heavier ball.

  3. Hey guys
    Home of Poi, which is based in New Zealand, sells a variety of balls in the juggling section of their site. Here’s a link to their 100mm ball; http://www.homeofpoi.com/shop/productDetails/MB-Single-100mm-stage-contact-juggling-ball
    I can’t vouch for this product, but everything else I’ve ever bought from them has been totally accurate as per the description and they have a fantastic postal time, delivering all over the world.
    Hope this helps πŸ™‚

  4. Sadly Kassidy, those are MB= Mister Babache, Mister babache make excellent balls, but their 100mm “contact balls” are far too light for contact. We don’t know anyone who likes using them. We’d agree, in our experience HOP is a good site and good online store.

  5. Hey all,
    I just ordered a contact juggling ball from renegadejuggling.com. I wish I had read this site before I had ordered. Well, my ball hasn’t come yet but I was wondering if someone could tell me if it’s good or not for a newbie. It’s a 70mm, weighing 221 grams, and I think it’s an acrylic. Thanks fro any and all help.

  6. I’ve been contact juggling since around ’91, and I started with cue balls. Have since moved up to 3″ acrylics. If your having problems with the pool balls, Shukaido, I’d do a gradual move up to the 2.5 balls for spinning, and 2.75-3.0 for single ball manipulation. I think billiards are around the 2.25″ range, and jumping from that to 3″ balls is painful!

  7. I have big hands,and just purchased two 3″ balls,can anybody tell me if the balls are to small

  8. I’m confused!
    There are tonnes of sites advertising contact balls, but the sizes aren’t matching up to 100mm and 260g. all the balls of 100mm are much heavier (530-640g). Not to mention more expensive. some help?

  9. I got a 75mm acrylic and I’m 15. It worked great compared to the tennis ball I started with. I am currently waiting for my 100mm to get in but 75mm was the perfect place to start. I suggest starting there too for two reasons, acrylics are vwwey exemsive and 75mm are about half the price of a100 and two, it was almost perfect but I started to like body rolls

  10. i just started cj today and i got a 70mm or a 75 im not sure from the markets for $30 and all i have been doing for the last six hours i havent stoped. i cant seem to put it down i had neverheared it before and i was amazed when i say a guy do it a the markets i love it and always will thanks for whoever invented CONTACT JUGGLING

  11. I want to learn.
    Where do I buy a good weighted contact acrylic ball.
    Are there any classes in Ohio, USA that teach this skill?
    From what i am reading, I should get one that is 90MM but others say 75MM
    What is a beginner to do?

  12. What ball would you recommend for beginners? I live in Southeast Asia, where could I get a good ball?
    Thx

  13. hey i have one question… im about to buy acrylic ball 85mm for my start … i dont know if that is a good idea? im a female and i have small hands so i dont know if is better to buy 85mm or 100mm? could you help me? πŸ™‚

  14. I use a 2 1/2 and a 3 inch acrylic for my contact juggling . I started off with a baseball . The ball getting lost in your hand as you stated at the top of the page all depends on the size of your hands . I have haad lots of people stop and watch as I walk down the sidewalk or stand in the yard . I even walk through the mall and have had a lot of people ask how that is possible to manipulate the ball around your hands . You guys are trying to get these people to start with balls that are to big they need to try whatever feels right for them as a beginner.

  15. I want to start contact juggling to keep me occupied while I am stuck inside getting backnto full strength I am a girl and thin but also tall my hands are not tiny but I am not sure I have the wrist strength of a big 100mm ball. I also had my heart set on a glitter ball. But you say acrylic is no good for beginners. All I want to do is move it around my arms and hands for now not body. Is there another type of glitter ball that won’t knock me out lol
    So glad I found contact juggling perfect for sitting cross legged in the middle of a big bed that way the only thing I can drop it on is my head lol.
    I would really appreciate an answer,
    Lehana

  16. Thank you very much for all this information, it took me a while to find a webpage but al the necessary info to start contact juggling, especially the small hands section, you really proved me wrong about what I thought was the correct size of ball for my hands. My best regards and I wish you and all the artists that sourround you a merry christmas:)

  17. I am 10 and male. My parents bought me an acrylic contact juggling ball that is 70mm.
    I have quite large hands, but my parents will kill me if I say anything about trading them in.
    Is this size too small for one ball contact juggling? Because I want some confirmation.
    Thanks!

    PS Go to my website!

  18. Nice tips. I bought a MB 100mm ball few months ago and now I’m thinking to get an acrylic. I’m not yet a good contact juggler, but I’m not an absolute beginner, so I don’t know: Should I choose an 85 or 95 mm ball? (I buy in HoP and doesn’t have 100mm balls). I’m 24 and male, and strong, but I’m not hulk… πŸ˜›

    Thanks a lot.
    PS: I’m from spain, and my english is not perfect. Sorry πŸ™‚

  19. @ Jose

    85 seems to be a good choice to begin with, personally i ordered a 95mm and i’ll just take it slowly. If you get a 100mm your hands will be tired faster so you training sessions will be shorter. If you plan on using your acrylic only get an 85, if you want to keep your acrylic for “special” use go for a 95.

    There’s also a 50gm difference between the 100 and the 95, so it won’t be as hard as an actual 4″.

    Hope it helped.

  20. @Rafique: I would have thought your comment was a bit spammy and rather off topic, but I am highly amused that you did not even include a link to your juggling scarves shop, so I will let your comment stay.

    To our readers: Juggling scarves, no matter what color or size, DO NOT make a good substitute for a contact juggling ball.

  21. Hi, my parents have recently bought me some lacrosse balls to practice with. My dad says they are good to start with, but he has never actually done any contact juggling. I was wondering if this ball is a good choice to start out with. If not I’d really like to get a better one. I’m not to exited about how small they are. Should I get a new one?

  22. I’m actually getting a 90mm stainless steel ball. it’s big, beautiful, and HEAVY!!! My advise to newbies, get out of the norm, and play. what works for me (big, beautiful, and HEAVY) won’t necessarily work for someone else. since each individual is different, start cheap, and play around with it until you find something that works for you!! I would, however, watch the above video to see what a good starting place would be.

    This is a great site that has a variety of equipment for beginners on up. check these guys out: http://www.neonhusky.com

Leave a Reply