Ask David – October 2020

Welcome to my column for eJuggle, Ask David. In this column, you can ask me for my opinion, advice, or knowledge about anything juggling-related.

In case you don’t know me and you’re wondering why you might want to know my thoughts, here’s a bit about me. I’ve been a professional juggler for 36 years and have performed over 15,000 professional shows. I’ve also set over 20 world records and won 15 IJA gold medals. I’ve won two of the IJA’s honorary awards: the Bobby May Award, given to the top juggling mentor / coach, and the Excellence in Education Award. I’m also one of the world’s leading juggling historians. I’ve written 13 books about juggling history and well over 300 articles about juggling and juggling history. I also own the world’s only juggling museum, The Museum of Juggling History.

So, now that you know a bit about me, let’s get to our questions for today’s column.

Eric Shibuya asks, “There are several jugglers that have won 2/3 of an IJA “Triple Crown” (Juniors, Teams, Seniors), but arguably only 4 or so (Adam Kariotis (Teams), Jason Garfield (Teams), Vladik (Teams), and Jay Gilligan (Seniors) have a chance to actually capture it. Do you think it will be done by any of them or is there someone coming up you think could do it?”

My response: Of those four, I think the only one who would have even an inkling of interest would be Jay Gilligan, and I really don’t think he would do it. Kezia Tennenbaum and Anthony Gatto could try to compete in Individuals and Teams, respectively, but that’s not going to happen either. I do think it will happen soon, but by someone you haven’t named. I think the first ever IJA Triple Crown winner will be Delaney Bayles. She’s won Juniors in 2015 and Teams in 2019 and could definitely win Individuals within the next few years. And wouldn’t it be amazing to see the first Triple Crown winner be a woman? Delaney, no pressure, but this historian would love to see you make history in this way!


Matthew T Cornelius asks, “What are your thoughts on the ultimate human limit with max qualifies of juggling props? e.g. Clubs, rings and balls.”

My response: Great question. Let’s look at balls first. The current world records for balls / beanbags are 33 catches of 11 balls, 20 catches of 12 balls, 15 catches of 13 balls, and 14 catches of 14 balls, all by Alex Barron.

Well, I certainly believe that 12 balls will be qualified, as the current world record is only 4 catches away. If the limits of juggling keep being pushed as they have during the last 20 years, I believe that 13 balls could conceivably be qualified, but I think it will be another decade or two until that might happen. As the limits get stretched more and more, I believe the advances will be incremental at the very top. So, definitely 12 and probably 13. I don’t think anyone will ever qualify 14 balls, though.

With rings, the current records are 10 rings for 47 catches (Anthony Gatto), 11 rings for 21 catches (Daniel Lysenko), 12 rings for 16 catches (Willy Colombaioni), and 13 rings for 13 catches (Albert Lucas). Obviously, I believe Daniel Lysenko will qualify 11 rings very soon. Regarding 12 rings, I’m on the fence. Compared to balls, very few people work on very high numbers of rings. Do I think 24 catches of 12 rings is humanly possible? Probably. Do I think we’ll see it done in my lifetime? I’d say unlikely. I’d like to see it done, but I have my doubts. Regarding 13 rings, I’ve seen Albert Lucas’ 13 catches many times and it’s remarkable, but I don’t think anyone will ever do 26 catches of it.

And finally we come to clubs. The current world records are 8 clubs for 16 catches (Anthony Gatto and Willy Colombaioni) and 9 clubs for 11 catches (Eivind Dragsjo).

Do I think a 9 club qualify is possible? A few years ago I would have said no, but now I think it will eventually happen, but not for a long time. Once again, I think improvements on the record will be incremental and slow, but will probably eventually get there. I don’t think 10 clubs will ever be qualified, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it flashed (with a holster) in the not too distant future.


If you’d like to hear my opinion, advice, or knowledge on anything juggling for a future column, email me at or contact me on Facebook.

David Cain is a professional juggler, juggling historian, and the owner of the world's only juggling museum, the Museum of Juggling History. He is a Guinness world record holder and 15 time IJA gold medalist. In addition to his juggling pursuits, David is a successful composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and singer as well as the author of twenty-four books. He and his children live in Middletown, OH (USA).

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