The title says it all. I set a goal during Christmas Vacation 2006 to see if I could learn one new trick a day. My first idea was that I would go through all my old juggling videos and find those pesky little tricks that I wanted to learn years ago, but perhaps did not have the technical grounding to pull off at the time. The quest soon changed as I started using all of the tasty videos being offered online. For standards, I basically told myself that I had to be able to pull the trick several times before I checked it off. For siteswaps, this meant being able to do at least four rounds of the trick. It didn't matter what prop I used, and it didn't matter if the trick was really easy--it just had to be a trick that I thought was cool.
I faced several challenges throughout the year, specifically a broken left pinky finger that kept me out of the running for 41 days and the occasional bout of illness. Not unexpectedly, life intruded--school and my job as a Japanese teacher kept me sufficiently busy that I missed out on more than 100 days of practice. I am not complaining though, as I had a great year in the classroom (national championship for my Japanese 3 students and a record pass rate on the Japanese Language Proficiency Test).
Ultimately, the exercise ended in success. I kept track of the tricks I learned, what videos I found them in, and who performed the trick in the form that I learned it. Yesterday I took stock and it turns out I managed to learn at least one trick for 50+ days and two or more tricks for an additional 80+ days. All in all, I learned 370+ individual tricks or combinations with nine different props. I found another 150+ tricks in various videos that I still want to learn, and I will get around to them eventually. It is funny how the more you learn, the more you want to learn and expand your vocabulary, so to speak.
Below are the links to each of the Excel webpages I used to keep everything in order. They read like a short-hand diary for what I was doing in 2007, juggling or otherwise. Even though I had more days where I learned nothing than days where I learned something, I feel that the overall goal and the framework I was following kept me moving forward in an honest manner. In fact, I am enheartened to know that it is possible to progress despite time and life constraints. Time spent on practice is important, but many times it just comes down to a decision that only you can make--saying to yourself, "That looks cool/hard/weird. I think I'll try that."
To see a full list of all the people who helped me along the way and to read a more personal thank you to them, click here