Confidence Dips

It’s an odd topic perhaps, and I’m aware practice and riding often are going to likely be the biggest cures.

But do others find from time to time their riding confidence just disappears?

I mean my actual ability seems relatively intact —but I’m riding without much enjoyment or confidence and the brain is engaged solely with thinking and imagining all the worst case scenarios of falls and wotnot.

I’ve been riding for nearly 10 years and I have had my ups and downs and a fair few moments where a skill seems to elude me - to finally click when I’d pushed myself beyond a fear block or energy limit.

I should say that naturally energy is often key - and as a type 1 diabetic blood sugars that are up or down cause me to not be focused as well as I would when they are themselves “balanced”…

But it is weird how some days I ride my G26er - as recently as Jan 1st and I was in the zone, flying along and totally confident - and for instance today I didn’t feel in the zone even in 1:1 gear. Madness I know!

I have made a promise to myself to never quit unicycle or sell a wheel - and I’ve in fact just dropped more £ on two schlumpfs (!)…

But I do recognise that skills can go up and down and one can have an “off-day” - and relearning a skill is often a lot hard than learning from scratch.

I am posting to see if others hit this dips in enjoyment or confidence -

I feel very much that unicycling is an honest reflection of many sides of one’s mental and physical balance - and yet it also helps improve both of those things, beautifully.

Pushing myself past the fear and into the zone of body being faster than thought is something I am still (I hope) capable of, but wanted to see what others’ experiences are or this “issue”… and hopefully any tips to trick one back into the happy-unicyclist space :man_in_lotus_position:t2:

:pray:

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After a bad fall, an injury or a period of not riding a particular unicycle I have noticed that. I didn’t ride my 36er for a month or more while I worked on muni and riding skills and when I got back on it it seemed foreign and intimidating for a couple days. And when I fell badly on my back last summer I was scared of doing similar descents for a few weeks afterward.

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All the time. Off days are normal for me, whether it’s skill, confidence or both disappearing.

Sometimes I can turn it around by just building up slowly on that day, sometimes I just accept it and take it easy. Sometimes I’ll get mad at myself and interestingly, when I train tricks, being angry and frustrated can actually be turned around to become a productive fuel for trying hard.

I find that I’m usually more capable of doing one really hard thing on those days than any longer skills. (Like a unispin or a hard jump on the muni, rather than coasting or holding it together on a long technical trail), maybe something for you to explore.

As much as I sometimes would rather be an emotionless robot, whatever is going on in my life always has an impact on my unicycling - for some people sports are the way to shut off and relax, for me that doesn’t seem to work. I’ve had a period of almost half a year where I wasn’t riding to my full ability, because I couldn’t really get into a good mental zone.

More riding will obviously help to elevate your “base level” of confidence and skill, but I think there will always be dips and peaks.

As a somewhat related sidenote, I think one of the reasons why I’ve been focussing more on Muni than on street/flat recently is that I can enjoy off days on a Muni more. Even if I’m not having a great day, on a Muni ride I’m at least out in nature (which is usually a happy place) - on an off day riding street, I’m in a concrete skatepark usually sorrounded by strangers.

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Thanks so much! This reply sums up all the points I didn’t write very well. And I kind of feel relieved to know others / you go through this.

I’ve faced rides where I’m convinced I’m faulty / a broken Felix destined never to ride or balance on one wheel again.

Just pushed myself back from my not-much-fun 1:1 ride in 1:1.5 and while to wasn’t UPD free or that much fun I at least reassured myself I can still ride my Schlumpf :face_exhaling:

I did observe my mind slipping focus to future issues / and imagining the challenges ahead.

What I’ve always loved about unicycling was how you had to be in the moment with the here-and-now of you body, the path and the wheel… solving each revolution/second of motion forwards feels super engaged and almost a zen, or non-thinking state. Just doing.

So dragging my thoughts to the ground in front of me did help.

When I’ve been in the zone I’ve also been able to accept that possibility of a fall or UPD without too much concern.

Again when on an off day being so relaxed about that kind of thing seems harder.

But anyway. Knowing that I’m not in fact alone in this —or faulty is great :+1: :pray:

100% agree with this.

I’ve been in two minds on switching wheel sizes or not.

Sometimes I like the variety but others the switch is always a tad jarring and then it feels like I never get fully “good” with one size. But then again switching feels good for the soul somehow :joy:

I did have a UPD from Blue Shift and I think that might have rattled my cage a bit too. And I just need that to fade.

I have yet touch wood to have any injuries. Long may that continue.

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Great topic and its very brave of you to bring it up. I know it is definitely something most riders have experienced and I definitely have experienced it, especially after injuries or after a long absence from riding. I also suffer from free mount stage fright even after being an experienced rider for many years. I just hate to do it in front of on lookers. I’m an older rider and I just want to hop on and ride and not have to think about being the entertainment for onlookers especially if I end up doing a face plant. I’m not sure how to out grow that . If you figure it out let me know.

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My confidence also drops after severe UPD’s but some stints of successful riding for a few weeks brings it back. Not to mention if you stop doing certain skills they tend to atrophy.

I rarely do muni these days or ride/freemount my giraffe so I feel those skills have waned significantly as most of my riding is now focused on riding my g36 with 125mm cranks and I feel that skillset is close to peaking and it’s been a long time since a severe UPD.

I’m hoping to do more muni sometime or practice freewheeling with a shiny new Flik Flok hub in a month or so.

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Totally!
Like you say, the basic ability is there and fine, but there are definitely those days when one doubts oneself.
Take heart that you’re not alone.

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This topic hit a nerve with me straight away. In fact, I had pondered posting something like this.
I am coming from a different angle, having started only about 3 years ago, and late in life (on the cusp of my 2nd half, and that is optimistic) I was very enthusiastic at first and, being the sort of person who finds it easier to commit by sinking money into an activity, I ended up with too many wheels.
I had a few spectacular (to me) UPDs but didn’t let that stop me.
Last summer I came off completely unspectacularly, but managed to break my toe in the process. Six months on it is still giving me bother, and I feel increasingly worried about hard surfaces. So much so that I am thinking of giving up on the 36er and most definitely on the G26, where I thought that I could ride fast to the trail and then mess around on softer ground.
I find it interesting that some commented on less muni and others on less fast rides. I guess we all have our own particular fears.
Mindbalance, do you regret the £ spent now?
I am thinking about selling the 36 and G26 but sort of like the idea of holding on to them in case I find that urge again to go out and try something else than the 24x3 in the woods. :wink:
Because that’s where I am most comfortable, in my own limited ways, soft grounds and the uni that I learned on.

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Nope. And I am going to keep my promise to myself to never quit unicycling or for that matter sell my wheels.

I had a 3 year gap - and only started back up about a year ago.

Restarting was hard. Harder than when I first learnt.

I was just kicking myself - as in: “why did I ever stop riding?!?”

When I got my G26er - there were some learning sessions when I threw it into the verge and proclaimed - “right I have to sell it!” - but this was just frustration speaking.

And anything worth learning is I feel those things that aren’t easy.

Now: I know I started the “dip” confessional post :joy:… and I’m sounding now more positive today — but the truth is, being persistent yet kind to your day to day state or mood, or when recovering from a broken toe (that sounds horrid!)… again as others have chimed in with, going easier that day isn’t a bad way to be. To be more accepting of the ups and downs, is now what I plan to be.

I nearly sold some of my wheels during my 3 year gap. But I am so glad I still have them hanging around.

I only regret selling my KH20 - so I’d say don’t sell and rest yourself up until the willingness from your body says: actually I can try this malarkey again.

I’ve splurged on the new Schlumpfs recently - and I don’t regret it… as when I am in the zone it is the best thing since magic-gold-plated-sliced-bread :bread::gear:

I did post this post as I know my energy goes up and down and some skills seems to get better and then worse. But thanks to the replies here, I do feel everyone goes through this, and unicycling is the art of always falling, but never quite completing the fall -

This is a hard one to overcome. I feel shaken after just a bad UPD. But a broken toe would have me worried too.

I don’t know if it might help, but my confidence on the G26er did improve when I got some tougher and grippier shoes. And I always focus on riding well within my run out limit to ensure I feel in control when in high gear.

I’ve also learned from my ride yesterday when I posted this topic, that riding 1:1 isn’t a cop-out or anything bad.

So a G26er can be ridden in either gear. I’m telling myself that now to take the pressure of regarding being ace at high gear every ride or berating myself for not really being able to shift gears yet (done it twice).

I think regardless of how one feels about unicycling or a ride, selling them does mean you’ll never then know if you could enjoy it again - as re-buying is likely not an easy or casual option.

All really food for thought. And thanks for sharing your perspective :pray:

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:heart::pray:

I will, and do - this is when this forum really shines!

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  1. Know your limits
  2. Assess if your risk tolerance dropped due to a factor (crash etc) or just your comfort bubble got smaller
  3. Think of small ways you can increase it (practice the activity you want to do bit by bit and work your way back up)
  4. Implement safeguards (scared of muni, would better helmet or pads make you feel safer)
  5. Do it, if you’re afraid then just do it scares.

Well, Directly to subject. Today I had a bad UPD while in high gear on my old disc Schlumpf. I went down at speed and “Stubbed” my toe. Maybe broken, but this was while trying a speed run after several succesful runs on my 36". The Schlumpf is an early square taper 29" and other than the disc is stock. I was considering selling these two uni’s because they have become uncomfortable at the speed they feel best riding at and I was concerned because of my age that my balance is declining. So today I went out to prove/disprove this notion. What have I done! My mind is not in the best place to make the best sales decision at the point in time, Help Me forum.

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Oh boy, Here is the result.

I don’t want to be pessimistic, but it looks almost like mine did 6 months ago and I still can’t put force through it…hope you are going to heal better and faster. :face_with_head_bandage:

Two years ago I broke my toes twice back to back. I healed after the first break and turned around and then broke the same toe and the one beside it soon after getting back on the uni. I definitely have not been riding at the same level since and I definitely have some mental blocks associated with my accidents. Fortunately my toes have healed and I’m pain free . It’s been a long winter for me with no riding, I planned to ride an indoor venue but the ramp up in covid cases kept me away. It’s been 4 months for me that I’ve ridden other than just fooling around in the garage but I’m anxious to get out and ride. I have a goal to put that all behind me this year and plan some nice long rides.

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A personal question here, but how old are you? I notice watching the progression in skills between my daughter and myself that the only thing that keeps me remotely close to her level is a higher tolerance for risk. She’s 10 and I’m 53 and she just seems to master skills in a fraction of the time that it takes me and I work hard at it. Unless she’s intimidated by something, she tends to learn it quickly, whereas I seem to have much slower progression.

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Found this here.

Your brain first begins to make it harder to learn around age 12, and then again around age 25. The older you get, the more difficult it will be to learn new things. Learning new things is how you encourage the brain to become flexible. Like a muscle, you have to continue using your brain to keep it agile.

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Well, we’re all riding unicycles here, so i don’t suppose that our minds are closed, but it does seem to me that there is a significant decrease in our ability due to aging. Some, like Terry, seem to still be doing extremely well, but when you see him alongside Augie, it’s apparent that there is no stopping Father Time.

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Sorry to hear this. All I can say is pick yourself up, dust yourself off and go again.
Not so long ago I smacked my knees up pretty badly falling off my 36er and then 3 weeks later fell off my 26er and broke my arm. Both hurt and knocked my confidence, but I’m happy to say I’m back riding again and loving it.
Hope your back riding again soon.

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