Dealing with intimidation in MUni/trials

Bronson wrote,

> What goes through your mind when you attempt a new and dangerous skill or
> obstacle.

I definately feel intimidated lots of times. Overall, I think that having the
appropriate level of psyche, and confidence, to do a dangerous skill or
obstacle, is perhaps one of the most difficult and also the most important skill
in uni-trials as well as other potentially risky adventure sports.

Building confidence and the ability to rationally assess risk is a gradual
process for most people (and is very distinct from trying something without
thinking about risk). Failure to build confidence in the right way can lead to a
real loss of your “nerve” in situations that you know should be OK, but for some
reason don’t feel OK. Personally, I find the best way to increase confidence is
to combine some rides that include lots of “scare factor” with plenty of easier
rides, always pushing (in a responsible way), what seems intimidating without
going so far beyond this that you get really scared and then have to back off to
a lower level than before. Interestingly, I find that by doing this, drops and
ups that were previously intimidating will almost physically look smaller over
time as you become more confident.

When trying something that’s potentially dangerous, I first assess the potential
for injury and decide, based on both the likelihood that I might screw up and
the injury consequences of screwing up, whether I want to try the obstacle. This
means I might try something if either it’s really dangerous but there’s little
chance of failure, or if it is something with less consequences but with a high
chance of failure. Then, I visualize, in detail, the entire motion from start to
finish (this becomes an automatic and almost a subconcious procedure). This
visualization includes every part of the motion right down to what I’m wearing
at the time. This is a common technique used in many gymnastic sports. If I’m
still scared but want to do it, focusing on nothing for a few seconds and taking
a couple of deep breaths works well for me. The breathing thing is also what I
do in a bikeshow if I’m nervous in front of the crowd, or if I just tried
something that didn’t work the first time. Then just go for it!

A couple of other things that help me:

Don’t hop around forever above a big drop or below a big up. This just makes you
more nervous. If you can’t do it within a few moments of arriving, it’s often
better to back up or ride off, and then come at it again.

If the obstacle requires several different motions/techniques, work backwards on
it. A good example of this is when learning pedal grabs. In this example, the
technique involves hopping up and catching the pedal, then going from pedal to
riding on the obstacle. Often the last step is really intimidating, especially
if you are trying to pedal grab onto something small or narrow. Try clambering
up on to the obstacle, placing the pedal in the correct spot, and then going
from there first, before trying the initial hop. The time limitation also
applies here too- if you take too long things will often become more
nervewracking. Go for it! Another example is steep ramps or stairs. Start near
the bottom and work upwards until you can descend the entire set.

Cheers,

Kris.


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RE: Dealing with intimidation in MUni/trials

> I definately feel intimidated lots of times. Overall, I think that having the
> appropriate level of psyche, and confidence, to do a dangerous skill or
> obstacle, is perhaps one of the most difficult and also the most important
> skill in uni-trials as well as other potentially risky adventure sports.

I agree with Tammy that Kris’ article was excellent, and would make a good piece
in a future On One Wheel.

I would like to back Kris up in that I agree with his approach, and what he says
should carry lots of weight because he’s the current leader in successfully
attempting lots of outrageous moves on a unicycle.

Kris always wears a helmet, wrist guards, and his Roach “arm & leg armor”. This
is a reasonable amount of protection for someone doing what Kris does. It may be
excessive for you, depending on how you ride and how you fall.

Kris also doesn’t try things without a pretty good chance of success. Take a
look at the “Santa Cruz and Sea Otter, March 2000” pictures on my Photo Albums
page. http://www.unicycling.com/ofoto/

Of all the pictures of Kris on there, there are only two or three shots that
were immediately followed by a dismount. In other words, he made all of
that stuff!

Stay on top, John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone http://www.unicycling.com

“One seventh of your life is spent on Mondays” - Plain fact

Re: Dealing with intimidation in MUni/trials

I definitely agree with Kris that the way to go is to work up to something and
not try anything that feels really uncomfortable. Know your limits. One of the
more common things (at least for me) is trying a drop that is too big, or does
not have a very good landing. Usually it doesn’t take much skill to jump off of
something, but it takes a certain technique to land properly without breaking
your uni, or yourself. I think that drops are especially important to work your
way up with and not start too big.

Or you can always take the Adam Ryznar approach whereas he found the biggest
thing possible to start off with so that everything else wouldn’t seem as big.
One of his first drops/trials experiences was jumping off a 10’+ ledge.
Fortunately he was not injured.

-Dan -----Original Message----- From: Kris Holm <danger_uni@yahoo.com> To:
Bronson Silva <bronson@silvasolutions.com>; unicycling@winternet.com
<unicycling@winternet.com> Date: Sunday, May 14, 2000 10:15 PM Subject: Dealing
with intimidation in MUni/trials

>Bronson wrote,
>
>> What goes through your mind when you attempt a new and dangerous skill or
>> obstacle.
>
>I definately feel intimidated lots of times. Overall, I think that having the
>appropriate level of psyche, and confidence, to do a dangerous skill or
>obstacle, is perhaps one of the most difficult and also the most important
>skill in uni-trials as well as other potentially risky adventure sports.
>
>Building confidence and the ability to rationally assess risk is a gradual
>process for most people (and is very distinct from trying something without
>thinking about risk). Failure to build confidence in the right way can lead to
>a real loss of your “nerve” in situations that you know should be OK, but for
>some reason don’t feel OK. Personally, I find the best way to increase
>confidence is to combine some rides that include lots of “scare factor” with
>plenty of easier rides, always pushing (in a responsible way), what seems
>intimidating without going so far beyond this that you get really scared and
>then have to back off to a lower level than before. Interestingly, I find that
>by doing this, drops and ups that were previously intimidating will almost
>physically look smaller over time as you become more confident.
>
>
>When trying something that’s potentially dangerous, I first assess the
>potential for injury and decide, based on both the likelihood that I might
>screw up and the injury consequences of screwing up, whether I want to try the
>obstacle. This means I might try something if either it’s really dangerous but
>there’s little chance of failure, or if it is something with less consequences
>but with a high chance of failure. Then, I visualize, in detail, the entire
>motion from start to finish (this becomes an automatic and almost a subconcious
>procedure). This visualization includes every part of the motion right down to
>what I’m wearing at the time. This is a common technique used in many gymnastic
>sports. If I’m still scared but want to do it, focusing on nothing for a few
>seconds and taking a couple of deep breaths works well for me. The breathing
>thing is also what I do in a bikeshow if I’m nervous in front of the crowd, or
>if I just tried something that didn’t work the first time. Then just go for it!
>
>A couple of other things that help me:
>
>Don’t hop around forever above a big drop or below a big up. This just makes
>you more nervous. If you can’t do it within a few moments of arriving, it’s
>often better to back up or ride off, and then come at it again.
>
>If the obstacle requires several different motions/techniques, work backwards
>on it. A good example of this is when learning pedal grabs. In this example,
>the technique involves hopping up and catching the pedal, then going from pedal
>to riding on the obstacle. Often the last step is really intimidating,
>especially if you are trying to pedal grab onto something small or narrow. Try
>clambering up on to the obstacle, placing the pedal in the correct spot, and
>then going from there first, before trying the initial hop. The time limitation
>also applies here too- if you take too long things will often become more
>nervewracking. Go for it! Another example is steep ramps or stairs. Start near
>the bottom and work upwards until you can descend the entire set.
>
>
>Cheers,
>
>Kris.
>
>__________________________________________________
>Do You Yahoo!? Send instant messages & get email alerts with Yahoo! Messenger.
>http://im.yahoo.com/

Re: Dealing with intimidation in MUni/trials

Kris,

    Good advice for trials stuff. There was one bridge I wanted to hop off
    which is about a 40" drop. I studied it for about 2 months and started
    small first to gain confidence. Landing areas were studied carefully as
    well as places around to fall. When the day came to do it, I was so
    nervous I had to visit a large oak tree prior to the hop. Without delay
    I rode onto the bridge hopped to the edge and hopped off. It seemed
    like jumping off a building but I landed it okay. Hops are getting
    easier as time goes on. Landing a nice hop or completed a difficult
    trail section is the greatest feeling you can have. Thanks for the
    really nice write-up. Maybe "Stuff-it-up-your-ass" magazine should
    print somethink useful like what you wrote. If I hold my breath waiting
    I might blow up! Later.

“The Muniac”