The kick up is an elegant way to pick up a dropped club from the floor, with a quick flick of the leg the club spins neatly back up into your pattern. It looks so cool that nowadays it is more often used as a trick in its own right rather than as a recovery move. This tutorial covers what is sometimes referred to as a straight kickup, a European kick up or an outside kick up. I only use the word club on this page but kick ups can also be performed with devilsticks & most other stick like objects.
Most people's first attempt at a kick up resembles a Foot lift. In a foot lift you lift an object off the floor keeping it balanced on your foot. For a kick up you 'hold' the club between your foot & shin then swing your leg to throw it up into your hand with spin.
To throw a club so that it spins (whether throwing it from your hand, your foot or anything else) you have to swing the centre of gravity then let go of the club at the correct point. So before starting it is a good idea to make sure you know roughly where the centre of gravity is. Before doing anything with your feet get hold of your juggling club & balance it horizontally on one finger to find its centre of gravity. You'll find it somewhere in the body of the club just above the waist band.
Still using only your hands hold the club by placing one index finger underneath the handle below the waistband & by placing the index finger of your other hand on top of the handle close to the knob at the end. Now throw the club by sharply pushing up with the finger on the bottom & down with the finger on top. This will cause the club's centre of gravity to swing upwards & catapult it into the air. Pull your hands out of the way to let it spin then catch the club. This is exactly how a kick up works, you hold the club on your foot at two points then swing the club's centre of gravity.
Now to start using your feet!
Positioning the club
Stand with your feet facing straight ahead of you, about hip width apart & with one foot half a foot length in front of the other. Place the club so that the handle rests on top of your front foot with the body resting on the floor pointing straight to the side away from both your feet. Your foot should be positioned roughly in the centre of the handle. Pull your foot backwards gently so that the knob comes to touch the inside of your shin & the body of the club touches your little toe. Bend your foot back & flex your toes up as far as you can. Also bend your leg so that your knee is as far forward over the knob as possible. Shift all of your weight onto your back foot so that you are ready to lift the club off of the floor.
The actual kick up
Remember the exercise where you held the club between your two index fingers? Your shin is going to push down on the handle while the outside of your foot pushes up. Throughout the kick keep your foot bent back & your toes flexed up otherwise the club will roll off your foot over your toes. Most importantly though keep your thigh as still as possible, your thigh should be kept pointing down at the ground at all times. Some movement is inevitable but if you raise your knee too much you will push the handle forward & the knob won't catch the inside of your shin causing the club to fall off your foot to the side. Begin to kick your heel back, this will pull the handle of the club into your leg. As soon as the knob catches the inside of your shin turn your whole leg inwards while continuing to kick your heel up out to the side. If the club hasn't slipped during the kick it will rise up with a nice spin for you to catch.
It is very important to think of your leg as 'holding' the club throughout the kick. With practise it is possible to lift the club very slowly off the floor & put it back down again, all the while only holding it between your shin & the outside of your foot. By varying the force with which you kick you can throw the club with different amounts of spin - halves, singles, doubles, triples & beyond. As always, make sure you learn to kick up with both feet.