Juggle Across America

Players often ask for suggestions on what they can do to improve their skills. My answer often is that they have to make the commitment to spend more time with the game, and the ball, by themselves. They must take the initiative to spend time playing, not waiting for the coach to call practice.

Perhaps one of the simplest games that a person can do individually is juggling games. The skill of receiving and being able to play the ball with various parts of the body can not be overemphasized. In the end, it is the player's "first touch" that makes him or her successful or not.

To make this in to a game, some ODP coaches from NH, Rand Cayer and Jeff Cousineau, developed a game which changed the focus of juggling from "just keeping the ball in the air" to predetermining where the ball will go and what part of the body will get it there. In short, they asked players to control the ball instead of having the ball control them.

Using the map of the United States as a game board, they assigned each state a specific juggling skill. Once the skill has been achieved, each state can be colored in or checked off. In short, players have to "juggle across America".

The beauty and success of the game lies in that it has a specific objective and obtainable goal. Meanwhile, the game offers the player a challenge and means by which to measure success.

If the player finds the game too difficult, he or she can make up their own juggling sequences for each state. In any case, the player's individual skill and confidence with the ball is sure to improve.

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