My hands shake when I perform magic tricks
Pedro writes: 'I have been struggling lately with two things. Firstly, when I try to perform I start shaking, my hands tremble a lot, and I can’t pull off the card tricks that I have practiced in private. I also still struggle with false shuffles and double lifts because it is still easy for people to see what I am doing. Can you help, please?'
Many thanks for getting in touch. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to getting good at sleight of hand; we wish there were a magic spell, but sadly it is just a matter of practice, practice, practice!
Here are a few pointers to help you out, though.
Firstly you must learn everything correctly. When you watch a tutorial and go back to a move later, you may have misremembered a key finger placement or grip that may be pivotal to the sleight working well. So make sure you have all the parts of the sleight remembered correctly.
Secondly start slowly. You can always build speed into your sleight of hand work but start slowly. It is better to master the technique at a slow tempo and then add the speed to it later. Just imagine learning to drive at top speed, it would be near on impossible, and things would go wrong pretty quickly!
Thirdly, Repeat, repeat, and repeat. As you repeat your sleight of hand skills, they will begin to be ingrained in your muscle memory. Once your hands unconsciously know what to do, you will be able to add patter and presentation to your effects. Tying your shoelaces does not require conscious thought, your hands just do it. Because you have done it thousands of times, your hands know what to do, sleight of hand should be like that!
Shaking hands when you perform magic tricks
With regards to the shaking hands, do not worry, this is something that many people experience when put in front of a group in public to perform or speak. One of the problems can be the lack of experience in performing to people. You can practice a routine a hundred times in a mirror but when you perform for people ANYTHING can happen. A spectator may ask to shuffle the cards at the wrong time, or they may just be loud and not listening to you properly. Many things are different when you go out and perform for real spectators.
Here are a couple of links that should help you out. I wrote a blog post on overcoming nervousness where I let you know how I helped myself stop being so nervous that my hands visibly were shaking. You can read that here:
We have lots of other tips and advice in our Blog; you can use the search function for keywords if you are looking for something particular. I am sure you will find lots of great advice and articles of interest.
We have an eBook detailing the problems with performing magic to friends and family, some of the tips here should help you out also: