For 1 ball contact juggling, Ministry members have been big fans of Mister Babache and Dube soft Stage balls for years. I’d thought that nothing was going to replace them as my favourite for 1 ball. But for the last few months, my stage balls have been gathering dust: 3 balls have replaced them for almost all of my contact. RG balls, Contact Balls and Sil-X 100mm.
Size: 100mm/4″ (smaller sizes available 70mm, 80mm….go with the 100mm)
Surface: Looks like a shiny stage ball, sticky high friction surface, has a minor seam.
Weight: 270g (compared with 150-160g for stage balls) I think this is ideal – I find a 4″ acrylic is sometimes too heavy.
Price: Same as stage ball UK £7.
Bounce: Not very much, less than a Babache stage ball.
9/10 For Isolationist contact
would be a perfect 10, but they’re so sticky that the ice cream cone isolation is the one move they can’t do. That’s the only move found so far in the whole of contact where my Babache stage balls come out on top of “Contact balls”. Also that seam is visible to an audience closer than 1m away.
10/10 butterflies & arm rolls
– traditional “Contact Juggling”
That extra weight gives then greater stability that you will really feel with an added control to arm rolls. Easier than stage balls.
7/10 For body Contact
Body rolls that extra weight leads to increased stability, which makes rolls more like an acrylic, a lot easier than a flighty stage ball, and the sticky surface helps too. Body holds are also similar in stability to acrylics. I tend to use an RG ball for most of my training, but recently have been also using a 4″ Contact balls. They are not as soft as a stage or RG ball so some trap catches are harder.
6/10 For Throwing and Catching
Contact balls are perfectly jugglable, just like a heavy stage ball. This is the area where I’m still using my stage balls, mixing Contact with Juggling. But that’s more because I don’t have any choice – I only have 1 Contact ball!
1/10 For Multiball Contact
The incredibly sticky surface is not a help, here. So they’re not good for multiball.
- Super sticky
- Better stability than a stage ball, especially in iso’s, rolls and stalls
- Extra weight = you to ‘feel’ the roll better.
- Colour range – where’s the orange!?
- Ice cream cone isolation
Ministry Verdict: Highly Recommended: You need one for 1 ball Contact Juggling. Better than a 4″ stage ball for 1 Ball Contact.
Footnote: Mister Babache market a ball as “Mister Babache contact ball” it weighs 160g and is horrible for contact juggling, – far worse than their stage ball. We would call it a ridgid stage ball, not a contact ball, we don’t recommend this ball for Contact juggling despite the confusing name. (Although if you are looking for a light weight ball for juggling, their squidgy stageball is excellent – top quality, ED, Drew and Jeanine have used them for years.)
A word of warning, what you need is that extra weight – 270g, (that’s 120g more than a stage ball). Different shops in different countries sell different balls under a variety of similar names “contact balls/practice contact balls/ridged contact balls/etc), check the size and the weight before you buy….. More ball reviews coming soon.