Practice Contact Balls – Review

Ridged Contact Balls - borrowed from oddballs until we get our own pic, I’m sure they won’t mind, as it links to their storeEver since Doug recommended these “Contact balls” to me, I’ve been hooked. These are a heavier stage ball, hard, but not completely rigid – they give a little when you squeeze them.

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.

+ve

  • Super sticky
  • Better stability than a stage ball, especially in iso’s, rolls and stalls
  • Extra weight = you to ‘feel’ the roll better.

-ve

  • Seam
  • 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.

23 thoughts on “Practice Contact Balls – Review”

  1. Good Question. Where are you?
    In the UK:
    Firetoys: (see that they list the weight as 270g)
    http://www.firetoys.co.uk/juggling/Practice_Contact_ball_100mm.html
    Oddballs:
    http://www.oddballs.co.uk/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=1190_1205_1400_1482
    Jugglestore, henrys and others stock a Mr Babache “contact ball” but it seems to be only 160g TBC – too light 🙁 that not what we’re talking about here (will get back to you with more info).
    I checked the sites of Neon, dube, contactjuggler.com and Renegade – none have them.
    We try to remain impartial to traders, I have checked and listed all the big ones i could think of this morning.

  2. And how about that review of the mystery ball number 3? We’re waiting. 🙂

    I hope it’s something we can get in the USA for a change!

    Has anyone found someone that carries the contact balls over here yet?

    And it seems that “RG balls” is a generic term, is there a particular brand you like? After all Dube is not the same as Babache, do RG balls vary as well?

    The Juggling Fool
    http://jugglingfool.wordpress.com/

  3. I ordered from firetoys.co.uk, and they showed up in 7 days to San Francisco, CA, USA. Shipping was a touch painful ($32 for four balls), but I really like they way they feel. (after five minutes 🙂

  4. I’ve actually bought one of the contact balls from Oddballs, and I’m a bit annoyed at it.

    See, the ball is sticky, like you said. But I didn’t expect it to be as sticky as it is. It’s currently sitting on my table, covered in cat hair and clothing fibers.

    Is there some way to make it not so prone to pick up everything on the ground where I drop it? The ball only arrived today, do I need to give it some time to de-stick-i-fy?

  5. Yea Ted, try using it for a few days. Some types of new balls are ultra tacky at first, but mellow out after a couple of days use. 🙂

  6. Hello guys.
    I recently acquired three babache moon 80 (glow in the dark) balls. I put them in a black plastic bag and, much to my dismay, when I pulled them out they had some horrible spots, probably because some black paint stuck to them.
    Has anything like this happened to anyone?
    Do you know how I can get rid of the spots?

  7. Hi there,

    I’m thinking about starting to learn contact juggling.
    So I guess I have to start with a 100mm ball, but I don’t know where to but any. I live in the Netherlands and the only contact balls I can find are 75mm or less.
    Can you help me? =)

  8. OK i want this ball BUT im in america…. where can i get it?? ALSO im only 14…. is this ball too big?

  9. Back in April I saw a group of people in Seattle doing some very fancy contact juggling, but of corse, I was in such awe that I completely blanked and forgot to ask them what thay were using! I also live in Canada, a tad far from Europe, and I have also only had a few feeble (and failed) attempts at this new found love of mine. I’m wondering if it is even worth getting these balls if it’s going to take me forever to learn everything… Now I am no stranger to devoting time and energy to an activity, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been in martial arts for five years solid, three more unofficially, and I have been practicing various styles of Poi for quite some time now. But as we all know, money is hard to come by, so I would like to know the best way to determine if this activity is right for me before actually spending the money on it.

    Thanks for your time!
    ~Shaylo

  10. Hello im interested on buying a contact ball, im located in Colombia and i can not find a provider!! someone can help me!

  11. @Shaylo – just start with any kind of ball you can find. You don’t need a fancy ball to learn, in fact, oranges make for great beginner tools.

  12. There is a 100 mm/260 gram Stage ball from PLAY juggling which is not sticky. We have them in the shop in Berlin and can send around Europe, but Oddballs in UK should have them and Netjuggler in France. Or of course PLAY juggling in Italy and in the States Jugglestore. Any comments on the ball from users welcome.

  13. @Jake: Agreed. I got a 100mm Sil-X ball from Neon Husky and I am using that to learn as my first ball. It feels nice and solid and is very sticky for my n00b hands, haha. I would definitely recommend to my fellow beginners!

  14. I was wondering what everyone thought of the “Fushigi” ball that has been out in stores and on TV?

  15. Are there any heavy practice balls like these but without the stickiness?

    I have a couple of Juggle Dream’s contact ball from oddballs, I think think they are very similar to this one. I have to roll my ball around on my bed so it picks up a little dust which makes it less sticky, just enough left of it to feel good AND I can do a squeeze-up with it now. Dust-treated it’s nice to the hand, but the shine is gone. I wash it and the shine comes back, but so does the stickiness. I mean, by sticky I thought they meant a somewhat softish skin, but this is like it was wrapped in tape, the sticky side out.

  16. Also, Mister Babache’s heavy contact ball is 300 g (or a little less) now. Anyone tried that one? Is it gluified too?

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