How to be a good unicyclist in 4 steps and 20 hours

I don’t know if it has happened to you, but while, I have asked myself many times what was the best way to learn a trick o a particular balance.

We read every once in a while around the Internet that to become an expert in any field you have to practice for around 10.000 hours. This would be a full time job, working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 5 years. But when I see people like Eli Brill, Max Schulze, Kris Kovacs, Tim Desmet and so many more amazing riders, I realise there must be a glitch in this theory, because they don’t train that much or since that long.

Recently I found that talk that says you can learn and be competent at a skill by practicing consicously for 20 hours. Generally each skill can be simplified to 4 or 5 key techniques. In the video he explains how he learned to play any pop song with an ukelele by practicing 4 chords.

The keys to do that:

1/Accept that the first hours we’ll be utterly incompetent at what we try.

2/Find the four basic techniques you have to learn.

3/Read or learn the basics. Once you lean it you can’t procastrinate and keep reading. The key is practice!! If you don’t practice, you can read or watch as many videos you want, you won’t learn any skill, you will just understand it.

4/Practice for 20 hours, for example: one hour a day, 5 times a week, for a month.

I imagine 20 hours is an estimate and each person has a different rhythm. I can be that some learn in 18 hours and others in 25 hours, but the thing is to practice consciously and accept you  will be completely incompetent at first! Once you do that you can be sure that practice is what will bring experience.

Another experiment that seems to support this idea is the girl who learned how to dance in a year. You can see how her movements are quite clumsy at first , but practice polishes them.

You can visit the website she has made for other people to get motivated and show how they are learning a skill for a 100 days here.

I find it is a fascinating idea, and I have transposed it to unicycling and its modalities.

So here we go! This are my 4 tricks to become competent at Flat, Trial, Street, Free and Muni. Once you master those you can combine, remix and in some time become an unicycle superstar! 😛

Learn how to ride (the tutorial starts at 1:30):

Flat:

1/Unispin

2/Crankflip

3/Leg Wrap

4/Rolling Wrap

Trial:

1/Jumping

2/Pedal Grab

3/Jumping Seat in Front

4/Stand Still

5/Rolling on a Skinny

Street:

1/Jumping

2/Grinding

3/Crankflip down a ledge

4/Unispin down a ledge

Free:

1/Idling

2/ Turning in uniform circles to learn how to do pirouettes

3/One foot rolling

4/Wheel walking

Muni:

1/Rolling downhill holding the handle with one hand

2/Rolling over roots and small obstacles

3/Jumping seat in

4/Rolling down a drop

That’s it, now go practice your favorite style for 20 hours!!

Thanks to everyone who posts tutorials on the internet, and especially those who have made those I have used for this post: Voodoo Unicycles, Relentless by Fate, Xavier Collos, Jason Kasari, Nate Lancaster, Axel Ahlman, to the Einradverband, Josh Kaufman andKaren X. Chen.

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