Three-Ball Pattern from Praise

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EXCERPT:

Frankly, I don’t know what to call this, other than Praise’s Pattern. He didn’t share a name with me, he just demonstrated it and explained some pre-exercises to build up to it. The move has elements of three well-known patterns. First, there is the familiar crossing and uncrossing of the arms as in Mills Mess. Second, there is a hint of the extended double-arm crossing, as in Eric’s Extension. Third, there is a trace of a Hi-Lo Shower with some low Shower passes thrown underneath some high-flying balls.

It takes a total of fourteen different throws and catches to run through a complete cycle. Two sets of throws occur at the same time, which reduces the number of beats—throws and catches—to complete a full cycle to a series of just twelve beats.

The pattern is symmetrical along the vertical axis; seven throws and catches (carried out over six beats) on side are mirrored on the opposite side. Remember, though, the symmetry is not seven beats on one side of the pattern followed by seven beats on the opposite side. The throws and mirror images are spread out throughout the cycle.

Each ball has a unique flight path. You throw and catch the white ball six times in one cycle, while the striped ball and the black ball only have four throws and catches each during a cycle. Again, since two of the beats involve simultaneous throws from both hands, the fourteen throws and catches become a total of twelve beats.

The entire sequence of twelve beats is described directly below, with two additional beats tacked on to better show how the end of one cycle flows into the beginning of the next. After that are descriptions of the three different flight paths for the balls. Finally, some pre-exercises to work on are offered.

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Todd Strong has always found a certain amount of comfort in an oft-quoted line from “Man and Superman” by George Bernard Shaw.

“He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.”