Zaps in 4-handed Siteswaps

PassOut Königswiesen, December 2019

Pattern type: 4handed

This workshop was taught by Hoschy and Juli at the PassOut in Königswiesen, Austria. It has one "classic" zaps workshop pattern (75666) and 5 other patterns. We received quite some good feedback about the patterns and their order. The workshop is meant for beginners at 4-handed Siteswaps or Zaps (or both).

Please remember, the rules of 4-handed Siteswap apply!

  • Juggler A (Juli) starts half a beat before Juggler B (Hoschy)
  • Juggler A throws crossing Zaps (ZapX) and straight Single Passes (PassII)
  • Juggler B throws straight Zaps (ZapII) and crossing Single Passes (PassX)


Club Color Codes:
I like to mark clubs that always "do" the same with a different color. Even if the color code doesn´t always help with the actual juggling - it helps with the "who made a mistake there?".

What is a Zap?
A Zap is a 5 in 4-handed Siteswap. That means, it is a very fast pass, that takes even less time than a 6 - a Self!
When 4-handed siteswap was discovered, a 5 was deemed impossible.
Well, Zaps are not only possible, they are fun!

How to throw a good Zap?
A Zap has next to no spin - not even a half spin. The club handle always stays lower than the clubs top. It just moves from "your" side of the club to your partner´s side - that´s maybe a quarter or a third spin.
To throw a club with so little spin, slide the club down to the knob. Apply a "stabilisation finger" and throw from the arm, not the wrist.

How fast does a zap have to be?
That depends on the overall speed of your juggling. A Zap (5) should take longer than a 4 (Flip) and shorter than a Self (6). The higher Selves you and your partner have, the more time you have for the Zap.
The first few patterns of this workshops are not very sensitive to "bad timing". So, practise throwing zaps, try to juggle slow and have fun!

The first pattern, 64645 is a very easy warmup with 5 clubs.

Use the first pattern to practise both straight and crossing zaps. Try to keep the Zaps low - they should not come up high and force your partner to raise his hands a lot. If everything seems too fast and hectic, throw higher selves.


The second pattern has a shorter period - so, more zaps! It also introduces another "unusual" throw, the 4 (Flip or Hold). The 4 forces you to pause one hand, therefore making 2 throws from the other hand. Many jugglers find it easier to use a Flip instead of a Hold, to keep the pausing hand busy. I personally think Flips are both looking and feeling good. So, go ahead to the "killer bunny"!

The third pattern cuts back on the clubs - it has only 4. This pattern is meant to teach you timing of Zap and Zip - and this is still warmup. If you are able to do the Zip - Zip around your body, timing is good. Feeling rushed? Slow down. The pattern also has 2 Zaps in a row. Many jugglers consider it harder to throw 2 nice and clean Zaps in a row than with other throws in between. So - go ahead!

The next pattern goes up to 6 clubs - and it introduces a Single Pass in addition to a zap. Remember the rules about throwing straight and crossing passes and zaps! This pattern is a standard Zap Workshop pattern - it teaches timing of Passes and Zaps and is still robust towards bad timing.

The following pattern is getting harder. It combines the Pass and the Zap as a so-called "stack". That means, you pass both Zap and the Single Pass directly after each other to the same hand of your partner. If the timing is good, your partner will have time to throw a nice self in between catching Zap and Pass. If not: Make your Pass higher or your Zap lower. Rhythm is key for this pattern.
We missed the color code for this one - but Iain saw it: The self is "magic". So you can each pick up one club of your favorite color and use that as a "self-club" that should always stay with you.

There is a changeover pattern for 3 jugglers based on 567. It is useful to have passed 567 before trying that - but you don´t need to be able to run it for very long. Check out the 567-About here!


The last Workshop pattern was picked for another difficulty: A long period, 2 Passes in a row and a strange Self Zip combination. It is harder on the brain, but easier to juggle - promise! It is meant to tech you to remember long periods - and to show you they might be fun.

Share with your friends and juggle together!

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