Everyone who reads this blog knows I’m a total nerd when it comes to keeping track of personal improvements and achievements. That’s the main reason I started this blog three years ago! I’m also a nerd about juggling. What happens when you combine the two?
The 2011 Juggling Log
I know I’m not the only juggler who keeps track of this stuff. I’m not even the only professional juggler called Luke who lives in Germany who keeps track of this stuff. However, in 2011 I decided to go all-out, and track everything I felt might be interesting.
Fact 1 – total time spent juggling.
In 2011 I juggled for 404.05 hours.
Is that a lot? Personally I don’t think so. I think back in 2003 I juggled way more than that. But how can I be sure? I don’t have a juggling log from 2003.
Still, that’s almost entire 17 days I spent juggling. Or, at a daily rate, 1.11 hours per day.
Fact 2 – days off.
Of course, I didn’t juggle 1.11 hours per day, because I only juggled on 265 days in 2011. That means exactly 100 days when I didn’t juggle at all.
404.05 divided by 265 days is 1.52 hours per day.
Fact 3 – sick days.
I was too ill to juggle on 19 days. Personally I didn’t think I got ill so much, but when I do get ill, physical activities like juggling are the first things that get kicked out the schedule.
Fact 4 – travel days.
39 travel days. On these days I don’t have time for a full juggling practice session. If there was time (and I have the energy) I spent it practicing ball-on-head tricks, spinning a 10cm stage ball on my finger (getting pretty good!) and basic contact moves.
And if I was passing through somewhere interesting, or visiting a new country, I’d spend 2 minutes getting a video of me juggling.
Fact 5 – days working.
I’m a professional juggler. As a professional, I keep track of how many days per year I perform.
That really doesn’t seem like much work to earn a living. Believe me, there’s a lot more to being a professional juggler than just those 25 days where I have an audience!
I performed my 50-55 minute juggling and multimedia and comedy show 23 times. Usually I perform this twice in one night.
On top of that I performed 26 shorter shows. On cruise ships these are typically 10-20 minutes, usually way less comedy and more time actually juggling choreographed routines. I also performed at some juggling conventions in return for (admittedly very little) money, and each one of these acts last about 8 minutes.
That makes, of course, 49 shows in total.
Fact 6 – dropless shows.
Being a professional juggler doesn’t mean I don’t drop on stage! To the contrary, I drop quite a lot.
In 2011 I performed 8 dropless shows. Of these 8 shows, 7 were short shows or juggling convention gala show acts.
I performed a grand total of one dropless 50-55 minute show. Yay me. And, to be honest, that is not just in 2011, that is in my entire career as a professional juggler!
Fact 7 – total drops on stage.
In non-dropless shows (the vast majority) I made 151 drops. 151 drops in a total of 49 shows sounds really, really bad, right? But then you’ve got to remember my shows are typically much longer than the average 8 minute variete show act.
After some rough calculations I estimate that I spent about 1650 minutes on stage in total this year (this doesn’t include hosting shows at the EJC or other conventions).
1650 divided by 151 drops means that I drop in stage, on average, once every 10.93 minutes.
Suddenly it doesn’t sound so bad!
Fact 8 – Combat!
I love 3 club combat. I decided to keep track of every “match” “I” won. This included two kinds of combat:
- Team Combat – If I was on a winning team, I counted that as a win.
- First to five combat- everyone agrees to play until one juggler wins five games.
I played 169 combat matches and won (or was on the winning team) 119 times. This means I won 70.41% of the matches I played.
On top of that I played countless games of the traditional melee combat. Not included in the juggling log are many memories from late night convention sessions. For example, at the EJC in Munich I wrote this in my diary:
“And then combat. I did pretty well. Won quite a lot. My hands felt like they were working. As some others dropped out, I felt in total control. Even with the Irish guy distracting me all the time.
I won 3 games in a row, and didn’t mention it. And took it to 5. And then up to 9. At the tenth game I got to the last two, and then we made each other drop.”
Or, from the French Juggling Convention in Rennes:
Not epic. The French jugglers aren’t good enough, although as time went on some better players joined in.
So instead I made it epic for myself. I set myself a goal, and said to Kyle and Namer “3 wins in a row, no, 5 wins in a row” and they said “And end with a double pirouette.”
And I did it! It really makes me focus. Bring out the high level skills. Not mess about. And most importantly, not fuck up in stupid ways.”
And at the same convention:
“And then combat! Flo joined in too. And Patrik Elmnert, who I’d been watching in the gym.
And Kyle reminded me of the challenge: “Swap all your clubs for another three different clubs, and then win.” This is really tricky! Fucking hard, in fact. Just making it so you drop your own club, and not one you’ve already stolen, is a brain fuck.
But I rocked it! I had just one of my own clubs left, and just Flo was left in, and somehow I managed to catch his high throw and knock him out. Yeah!
Epic! I think these challenges are fun. Hopefully nobody else thinks I’m taking the piss.”
Fact 9 – 5 club backcrosses
In the spring I decided to get 100 catches of 5 club backcrosses. I knew it would take a lot of work. I put in a lot of work. In February, March and April I worked on it on 69 days. Sometimes I’d work on it for over an hour.
The longest unbroken streak was 27 days in row when I practiced the pattern. What a fucking pattern.
Removing the days I didn’t practice, here are my best runs per day.
This shows pretty good progress, I think. My top record was 50 catches. But better than just improving my all time record, it improved my average run in my average juggling remarkably. Even in November, I visited Dunedin in New Zealand, and the jugglers where wanted to film me doing some hard tricks. Even without practicing it seriously for six months, and with very little warmup, I was confident enough to say “I’ll go for 20 catches of 5 club backcrosses.” It took (I think) three attempts, which is about all anyone will wait for if they have a camera on you and want to see something cool.
The two “off” days in the middle of the chart, where my best run drops down to 15 and 13, really stands out. I took a look at the juggling log, and I’d taken 5 days off from juggling completely before those days. It looks like this:
still very ill
So if I was doing so well with 5 club backcrosses, why did I stop? Well, it was totally fucking up my hands. And my shoulder. The only way I improved my skill level was by pushing my body beyond its comfort zone. In the end I had to make a decision: good health to enjoy all my juggling, or get better at a single pattern. I think I made the right decision.
Fact 10 – I had fun.
I tracked a whole lot of other info, but not enough of any one thing to be worth analyzing here. One thing which is almost impossible to quantify is how much fun I have juggling. Should I track how much I’m enjoying my self in practice sessions, on stage, and at juggling conventions? This would be meaningless, I think. I’m not sure I can bring myself to be that much of a nerd.
But tracking the juggling I do do has been fun, and has, in some ways, allowed me to have more fun with juggling this year.
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