The shape of the juggling club has been perfected over many generations of innovative jugglers. The vast majority of experienced jugglers today use clubs that are the same length and balance-point, and almost the same weight and shape.
The 3 most popular club body shapes by far are:
- Short handle: (21.5cm/52cm) delphin, quantum, flowtoys and many others.
Generally preferred for faster spins. They also tend to be a bit cheaper, so more people learn on them and are used to them.
- Long handle: (24.5cm/52cm) pirouette, loop, sirius, flowtoys and many others.
Generally preferred for easier catching, manipulation and holding multiple clubs. Most people upgrade to these at some point.
- Long handle “grip”: (24.5cm/52cm) pirouette grip, loop grip and flowtoys.
Generally preferred for its grip/catch-ability and distinct look.
Henrys “grip” body: The ribbed “grip” version of the long handled club was introduced not long ago by Henrys, and is fast gaining popularity, especially among new jugglers. Henrys designed the grip body to make the body of the club easier to catch/grip. In addition to the ribs, it is softer and easier to “squish”, which helps a lot, but it is still firm and does not lose its shape. The ribs also aid in contact club manipulation, and gives it a distinct look and feel. One of the common praises is that it does not require the break-in time that smooth clubs require to develop some stickiness. Many jugglers who give it a serious try end up preferring it.
The grip body has a unique advantage on flowtoys glow clubs, because it obscures dirty scratches that are otherwise well-illuminated on the smooth body. The grooves are protected from scratches (though they can retain dirt/mud in some conditions), and the ribs on the body visually compliment the LED pixels that are visible in the handle.That said, many people still prefer the classic and clean aesthetic of the smooth body, and the smooth feel during manipulation. They both have their place.
- Flowtoys offers all 3 of the most popular club shapes, and you can easily swap out the body and handle by unscrewing the knob - no staples, nails, crimps, rivets, tape, or glue required. Bodies, handles, and knobs are only $5 each, so you can easily and economically try all styles, or have separate “beater” bodies and “performance” bodies.
Juggling club handles were “originally” made with a single flat sheet of material wrapped around the shaft in a cone. This enabled club makers to easily adjust the shape, firmness, grip and weight of their handles over time. This was important for the evolution of the modern juggling club, but as preferences have stabilized, and the popularity of juggling has grown, modern molding techniques and new plastics have enabled a big step forward in club handle technology with solid molded handles that outperform wrapped handles.
Solid handles offer many practical benefits, including better durability, grip, consistent feel, low maintenance, easy assembly and replacement, lighter weight, lower cost and no messy tape required at the handle/body seam. Many jugglers are still used to wrapped handles, and will feel some difference at first, but many people prefer well-designed solid handles once they adapt to them.
- Flowtoys clubs use a special translucent solid handle by Henrys that has a nice balance of softness and strength, with a good amount of grip right out of the box, that does not change much or become sticky/break down over time.
The shaft of a club largely determines its stiffness. A softer shaft is more forgiving on the hands, but absorbs some energy during tosses and slaps.The shaft stiffness of various popular clubs in order from most flexible to stiffest is: soft: PX3 (PVC), firm: flowtoys (Polycarbonate), stiff: pirouette (wood), hard: PX4 (fiberglass).
- Flowtoys clubs are closest in stiffness to a pirouette or delphin. Many people do not feel the difference.
Weight and balance:
Most clubs weigh between 210 - 250 grams. Heavier clubs carry their spin better and are sometimes preferred for windy conditions outdoors, especially when passing. Lighter clubs are less tiring, but also less forgiving.The balance point of most clubs is almost in the middle, slightly closer to the cap, a little ways up the body (~28/52cm).
- Flowtoys smooth, grip and short-handle clubs are identical in weight and balance, at ~232g, they are ~12g heavier than a pirouette, though most people can only feel the difference if compared side-by-side. We worked with Henrys to develop versions of their grip and smooth bodies specifically for our glow clubs, with the ideal amount of light diffusion, and lower weight to perfectly balance the electronics. They are also slightly softer, which has been well-received.