Getting my Jr. High unicycling!

Well, next year I’ll be going to Jr. High. Just like bunch of you guys, I am DYING for somebody to ride with, so I thought maybe I could set up a little club at my new school. So my dad is all active with this “Developmental Assets” thing in schools and during on of the meetings where the principal of the Jr. High was there, my daddio mentioned that idea. Believe it or not she loved it and hoped that we could actually set that up next year! So, my first question is what kind of unicycles we could buy for the kids aged 12 to 15?

  Now for the second part....I'm doing a one hour long unicycling presentation at my current elementary school later in May.  I'm going to take all my unicycles, do all my tricks, tell about how unicycling came about, how long it takes to learn, etc. and then I'm going to take them to the gym and let the kids try the unicycles out to get a feel for how hard they are.  Second question....what kind of things should I talk about and demonstrate?

Finally, this Friday I'm going to perform in a little "Talent Contest" thing our head custodian set up (he is UBER-cool) where one kid showcases a talent every Friday and are either voted to stay in or get kicked off by the kids in the lunch room.  I don't have any worries about getting kicked off because last Friday all a kid did were a few simple yoyo tricks and he was kept in.  Anyway, that should be fun, and it might spark some interest in unicycling around the school so when those 6th graders go to my Jr. High next year they will support the unicycle team idea.  Final question....how should I carry this little talent performance out?  Like how should I do it, what tricks, etc?

Tricks to show people:
Do ones that look pleasing but aren’t necessarily hard. Some tricks are uber-hard but don’t look good at all, others are quite easy (backwards, 1-foot, 180s) and people like them alot.
Good luck!

What are some uber-hard yet not impressive ones?

Wheel walking is the big one that people seem to love showing off that they can do, but looks boring and easy to a non-unicyclist.

Joe

I always get a good response out of WW and 1 ft WW, but maybe they’re just being nice. I’ll definitely spin, backwards, 1 ft, 1ft WW, SIF, SIB, SOS, Mounts, the usual stuff…

Re: Getting my Jr. High unicycling!

#1 - The Memphis Unicycle Club uses 20 inch Torkers as loaners for people to learn on. They are relatively inexpensive and 20 inch seems to be the best size for learning. They are sturdy enough for most kids 12 to 15 years-old

#2 - An hour is a LONG time to be demonstrating something. Are you including the gym time in that hour. For beginners, a 10 or 15 minute demonstration and 45 minutes in the gym would probably be better. It is really hard to hold the attention of young people for a whole hour while you demonstrate something. People would prefer to be “doing” rather than “watching”. As for the things to talk about, talk about what you know and feel comfortable with. You are very knowledgable of unicycling, this should not be difficult for you. However, before you start, WRITE DOWN a list of the things you are going to talk about and demonstrate. Take the list with you. Lay it on the floor, off to the side and use it as a guide to remind yourself of things to do and the order. As you talk and demonstrate, casually walk over to the list and glance at it for a reminder.

#3 - You are certainly a better rider than I am. I will leave choice of skills up to you. However, I would suggest to keep your routine short and to the point. Don’t let it drag on. Keep the routine moving, keep talking to a minimum. Do mostly demonstration and don’t do much more talking than to announce your next skill. It’s better to have a short routine and leave your audience wanting more than to drag the routine out until the audience starts getting bored.

Good luck!! Have fun!!

Yes, the hour definitely includes gym time. I plan on talking/riding for only about 15 mins like you said. I also am of course going to “coach” them in the gym. Oh yea, I don’t know what you mean by little kids, but I’m only doing this for the 6th grade, not the whole school.

I’m thinking Torkers would be good, too.

That’s a good idea to write things down, I think I’ll do that! I’m definitely going to keep it short and down to the riding, not the talking.

I hope my teacher will try, that’d be really funny! Any more ideas would be great!

For the gym, be very sure not to damage or mark the floor. That could ruin all of your efforts in the future.

Here are some other suggestions on presentation:

  1. Talk to and look at the audience members. Don’t stare off to the side or at the floor. Don’t just look down and talk to the unicycle.
  2. Be sure to talk loud enough so the people in the back row of your audience can hear you.
  3. If your audience is spread out from side-to-side (like a row of people sitting on the gym floor), casually move from side-to-side so everyone in the audience feels included in your presentation. Again, talk loud enough so the people farthest away can hear you.

That’s a lot to remember but I think this will help make for a better presentation.

Good luck!!

very good advice in this post
make sure that when u ‘look at’ people, u actively make eye-contact with them
u know these people well and if u can manage to make eye contact with every person in the audience in the space of your 15 minute presentation (which is also a long time…), u’ll make them all feel included

Tyler,

Great motivation, go for it, guy!

Couple thoughts on a couple things:

  1. As far as presentation, remember that a great presentation is 90% audience participation. Participation would include things like performing directly front of and facing the audience, smiling, enthusiasm, expressive facial gestures (winking maybe), hand and arm gestures (waving, pointing, high-fives, thumbs up), comedy (quick jokes, if you fall laugh at yourself, blame your unicycle), even verbally talking, shouting or fun whooping during your routines. Use the “Ta-da” aspect to draw your audience’s attention but don’t use it to the point of bragging or flaunting. That may turn an audience off. If you’re having a good time, chances are your energy will feed the audience’s energy.

Ben and Brad have a performance tonight. We’ve been practicing this past weekend and have practiced the audience participation part. Practicing and then using audience participation may seem set-up or phony from your perspective but to the audience, it’ll seem new and fresh. Since your presentation will be entertainment on the audience’s part but mostly work and effort on your part, psyche your self up before the presentation. Get your mind ready and your game face on. Adrenelin is a powerful tool and a wonderful thing and can help you perform things better than you have in practice.

  1. I had thoughts once upon a time of establishing unicycling programs as part of the phys. ed. program in our elementary schools. I ran into some problems. Firstly, I’m not a part of the school system so I wouldn’t be there to direct or lend my knowledge and expertise of the sport. The teachers would initially go into it blind. Secondly, our teachers use blocks or weeks to run with a topic before they move on to the next thing. Usually the run is no more than two or three weeks. Most times it takes that long for the average person to learn to ride a unicycle so there wouldn’t be a lot happening before the teachers moved on to another activity. Thirdly was the expense. I agree that the Torker chrome frame is probably the best starter uni available to my knowledge. Still, it would require at least $1500 for equipment and most schools are so tight on budget money now that they wouldn’t have room for such a capital expense.

Alan Tepper however in North Bend has a very successful unicycling program. We’ve been in his school and were extremely impressed by what he’s done and how he had it set up. You may want to bounce an idea off him or just pick his brain a little. He posts here from time to time under at1pe_uni.

Bruce

try and get some 24" torkers too
some 15 year olds, hell, even 12 year olds, are gunna be way to big for a 20" and will be far more comfortable on 24s
also, have a variety of sawed-down seat post sizes, as the torkers come w/ huge (400mm) seatposts.
good luck and tell us the result of this project!

Yea, 24s would be good, too. The North Bend Uni Meet was at Allen Tepper’s school and I was UBER impressed with all of his unis. Very cool guy!

if I made a club at my school i would be beat the tar out of, but oh well. if you want to impresse them master the 1 meter high sidehop and perform a farely high bc wheel hop.:smiley: :wink:

A few weeks ago the Uniques were asked to do a uni demo for a “Choices Day” at a local middle school. There were all sorts of presenters; motorcycles, taekwodo, etc.

Since it was during the school day only us old guys could show: Frank, JC, and me.

We first had a brief introduction to the basic uni.

We had prepared copies of the 10 skill levels and demonstrated the skills we could ride.

We did some giraffe stuff. Showed the different types of uni’s, including Muni and Trials, and did a crank grab to rubber then hop up and drop off the stairs of death.

Before turing the group over to try we showed about 3 minutes of the VHS intro to UNiVERsE to show them what real unicyclist do (They only had a VHS player in the gym so DVDs were out of the question).

We had a bunch of try-out unis and it still was a zoo.

Three minutes before the session ended one of the kids accidentally tripped the fire alarm and caused an all school fire drill. Be careful where they practice.

please nobody jump on what im a bout to say im not trying to bash him or what not.

anyways i dont know how school are there but since your small and a freshman i wouldnt sugest getting all up in clubs and that that arent “cool” or what not. you might get freshied or shoved in a locker or such. now everybody has said how they always get critized for uniing and what not but those people you dont even know. the people at your new school you will have to put up with for 3 years. trust me elemantry is completely different then junior high or high school. now please im not trying to get him, donw on this club thing but maybe i suggest not going out and posting it over te intercom and maybe just try making a club between a couple friends instead of the hole school.

w/e thats my two cents :roll_eyes:

fair warning

but if u don’t go out and show what u think is kewl just because u’re worried about what ‘they’ are going to think or do, they’ve won allready, haven’t they?

i’d also like to mention that a slavish approach to social convention and the ancient art of ‘fitting in’ isn’t normally considered a strong suit of unicyclists

or am i unfairly generalising here?

Well, I dunno about that whole un-cool thing…what do you other guys think?

What matters is what you think. Everyone has different interests. Just because someone is not interested in something you like does not make it un-cool.

Don’t worry about it man… the guys who make fun of you in the next four years will be pumping your gas for the next forty.

Seriously, the kids in junior high and high school who make fun of other people, especially for doing/being different are huge losers. There was this guy in my school, captain of everything, party animal, could go out with any girl in the school, and he was a total jerk to anybody who didn’t fit in. Know what? The girls moved on to better things, high school sports is over after high school, and last I heard he was checking people out at the A+P. Meanwhile, the guys who didn’t fit in are doing all sorts of cool things with their lives, have great wives/families and nice lives.

I say go for the uni thing, and spread the sport to as many people as you can.