What are siteswaps?
There are hundreds of possible juggling patterns. Siteswaps provide a juggling notation that jugglers can use to determine valid patterns. Rather than wasting your time trying to do an impossible pattern, you can check to see if it is even valid. This also allows you to find new and interesting patterns. There is a whole universe of juggling out there! Here's how it works:
Each throw corresponds to a number and each number is a beat.
1 is a pass straight across from hand to hand.
2 is a pause, that is, no throws are made.
3 is a shallow, crossing throw from hand to hand.
4 is an upwards throw to the same hand
5 is a crossing throw from hand to hand. It's like a 3 but higher.
6 is an upwards throw to the same hand. It's like a 4 but higher.
And so on...
The typical 3 ball cascade pattern is 333333....
You can inject different throws into the pattern to make the timing different. Another common 3 ball pattern is 441441441... The pattern has two 4s followed by a pass straight across from hand to hand.
An example of a siteswap pattern is 534. These numbers add up to (5+3+4) 12, divide this by the number of numbers in the sequence to get the number of balls required to juggle that patten. In this case there are 3 numbers in the sequence (5, 3 and 4). 12 divided by 3 is 4, which means it is a 4 ball pattern. Of course it also depends on the sequence when determining if a pattern is valid. 534 is valid, but 543 is not valid.
How to Generate Siteswaps
There are computer programs that generate valid juggling patterns. There are downloadable programs like Jugglinglab, and there are online programs. Follow this link to an online siteswap generator. Here you can have the computer generate patterns but you can also put in your own to see if they are valid.