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Wobbly Broomstick

Description of a Dizzifying Physical Challenge

James Neill
Last updated:
12 Jun 2004

Wobbly Broomstick

  • This exercise makes people wickedly dizzy - perhaps dizzier than they ever been before.  Choose the time and place carefully.  Its best if the following activity doesn't require too much order!  e.g., end of a day's paddling, on a sandy river bank, and you have a spare 30 minutes.

  • Use a large, flat area with soft landing e.g., on sand.  People should know how to "spot". 

  • Use a stick about 6ft long - anything long and thin can be used - a paddle, broom, etc. 

  • Invite people into a wide circle and put a stick in middle.  Demonstrate the main parts of the challenge which are to:

    1. hold stick upright, on end of chin;

    2. twirl around X times (10 is mild; 20 is extreme);

    3. throw the stick on the ground and jump over it.

  • The group's responsibility is to:

    1. count the number of twirls out loud;

    2. remind the person to keep looking at the top;

    3. maintain a safe circle of spotters and ensure the person lands safely. 

  • If a person can longer balance upright, they are better off laid out on the ground.  Group members should break the fall if its risky due to awkward balance.  This is advisable for about 1 in 5 falls.  And there usually a slightly dangerous fall in a session which is comfortably handled by a group which is alert, caring and knows how to "spot" and "catch" people.

  • Most people, especially kids, will fall over before 10 twirls and almost certainly succumb before 20 twirls.  After a few practices, however, many adults can learn how to spin 20 times and complete the jump over the stick and perhaps even stay upright - that's the ultimate challenge.

Equipment: ~6ft stick and a large area without walls and soft ground for falling, e.g, sand or grass.

Time: ~5 mins per person in group

Brief description:

Creates wicked dizziness.  Put a 6ft stick in the middle of a circle.  Challenge: Holding stick vertically on end of chin, looking at the top, spin around 20 times, then throw the stick to the ground and jump over it.  Its almost impossible!