How long to learn pirouette starting from IUF level 2?

Guys, I’d like to have an idea (just an order of magintude) of how much time I’ll need to put to learn pirouettes. I bought an unicycle twelve months ago, and over the year I have invested about 200 hours into the unicycling practice. By practice I mean constant learning and not simple commuting.

By now I am a confident IUF level 2; I can not ride a figure 8 with Ø < 1.5m, that is what is holding me from the level 3. I can do few higher lever skills like riding backwards, hopping on the wheel, one-footed idling and riding an ultimate wheel.

But pirouettes seem SO FAR AWAY… Is it doable? If yes, how much time should I invest? I am 40, a bit overweight and never been sporty. I’d be also interested to estimate the investment on mastering the majority of skills up to the level 8-9…

Congrats on the skills you have learnt! You have a lot more skills than I have.
One idea on the figure 8 with diameter <1.5m.
Have you ever tried riding a 19/20" unicycle with 150 cranks and a bald tire? It’s really maneuverable.

I don’t pirouette yet, but you would typically do it on a freestyle unicycle: one with a very hard, narrow tire, a saddle that is extremely high and cranks that are extremely short- usually no more than 100mm. I have seen people do pirouettes on unicycles that don’t exactly match this description, but a 19 or 20" tire with 150mm cranks definitely would not work for pirouetting because your pedals would strike the ground.

song, are you talking about this pirouette?

To get to pirouettes, you must start by mastering circles. That’s your Figure 8. It’s a progression. Big circles, smaller circles, smoother circles, spins, faster, smaller spins, pirouette.

In the beginning, people make turns and circles using upper body motion, and often “draw” octagons or other shapes on the ground, rather than a smooth circle. Making the circle(s) small is your objective for Level 2, but then you add refinement.

Practice continuous circles, but stick with doing them both ways. This is a basic enough skill that it translates to many other things in unicycle riding. Your objective here is to smooth out the line. This uses less arms and less hesitations of the wheel, instead going for a nice lean, and an even, consistent pedal stroke.

Search the Forums for “spin” “spinning” “pirouette” for more details on this. Be patient. When it starts to smooth out you will feel it, and you’ll want more!

Photo: Ayako Tagami, Japan, in the Unicon 19 Expert Freestyle competition. This is a spin, though it may have ended in a pirouette. You can tell it’s a spin by the angle of the uni in relation to her center of mass. If she rides this into a pirouette, it’s essentially like making the circle smaller and smaller until you balance the forces in the center. Her body and the unicycle would be in vertical alignment, and she would most likely pull her arms in to increase the rotational speed/duration.

Thank you for the tips, but the question was to estimate the time needed to master higher levels (say 8-9). In one year I am barely at level 2.5 and looking at the skills table I do not think it’ll get easier!

I could make up a number, but I don’t think it would be meaningful based on the amount of information we have about you. You are still at the beginning of getting into the various Freestyle-ish skills. Once you get the foundation of each, learning the variations usually takes less time. Except backwards wheel walking, that too me a long time…

Anyway, FWIW, once upon a time, the earlier version of the levels went up to four. I mastered those in a year or less of not focusing directly on them. Then in the mid-80s we started developing the 10 levels. Those have stayed about the same, if I remember correctly, since 1989 or earlier. I’m still on Level 7. I got the pirouette, but I was never interested enough in Hand Wheel Walk to squash my gut and/or my nads to learn that trick… :slight_smile:

I ride on a very rough concrete (in 200 hours of practice I am down to my fourth tire!)

Is it okay to learn spin-related skills there or should I move to a smoother surface?

Probably best to find a more suitable place, if available.

Hours of learning can’t just be answered.

Skill levels are just a thing someone made up, I recommend finding what you want to learn yourself. They aren’t all in a order of difficulty by the way. A 180 unispin and coasting is way easier for me than a backwards pirouette for example. And dragseat much easier than riding backwards seat in back in a circle.

So I wouldn’t focus on the skill levels too much, and neither would I on counting hours. I don’t know what use you are getting out of that metric…

Obviously I won’t stick exactly to the skill list, John gave a very good reason :slight_smile:
I think that I’ll focus on the skills related to practical riding, and spins / pirouettes seem very relevant.

I understand that the difficulty depends on the person. I can not ride figure 8 with Ø < 1,5 m (level 3) yet I find seat drags quite easy (level 9).

The reason for my question is a mere calibration. If one year (1 hour * 3 times a week) suffices to learn all the skills up to the level 8, then I have a problem and I need to correct my training routine. From my progress I’d say that it is very unlikely that I’ll master the majority of the skills in less than 4-5 years…

Apologies! Those cranks are actually 125’s not 150s. I got confused with another pair I have. 150s on a 20" are horrible.

Definitely find a smoother surface. You have not begun to wear down tires until you start working on spins! Your rough concrete would shred tires in no time if you are spinning there.

Interesting side note on my Level 7 status: In 1989, Sem and Teresa (Semcycle) were putting together a video of the 10 Skill Levels demonstrated, with each demo rider giving a few tips about the tricks in their level. In the video I got to demonstrate Level 9. Ever since then, I’ve been able to say "I’m a Level 7, but I play a Level 9 on TV. :stuck_out_tongue:

Too early to make such a projection. If you stay interested, it will happen a lot faster than that. I promise!

I find it remarkable that at this stage you specifically are afraid of pirouettes already.
At one point in my life I’ve mastered all of the traditional 10 skill levels …except the skill you’re asking for.

Having a target is needed. Mine was working in direction of the top.
Being dedicated & disciplined progress came step by step - which kept me motivated.
If my main target was the level that I reached, then I would have never reached it, cause it would be too frustrating - and looking impossible (while in the end it wasn’t).

To answer your question:
I learned all skills within 7 days, except side ride (10), and coasting (20, plus I had to learn twice, and only years later I understand what I was doing technically).
Meaning: from 1st serious dedicated session to first ever success.
But I never started learning a skill until it was “low hanging fruit”.
To get from 1 to 10 took me more than 1 year, almost 2.
I practiced 6 days a week, 2 to 3 hours a day.
In wintertime I had a shopping mall facilitating me with indoor space - so 52 weeks a year, unless I would had injury.
Usually I was working on 2 - 3 skills at the same time.
Me and my brain found it convenient to work in timed slots of 20-25 minutes.

But what applies to me doesn’t apply to you.
You are older then I were, and could probably work faster and more efficient by using your head in stead of all your energy:
think about how to eliminate mistakes and you will be doing it correct.

Cool, thank you for sharing your experience! Unfortunately, I do not have such an exuberant free time budget, I simply can not afford 2 to 3 hours a day, so I’ll settle for a slower progression.

Please note that nowhere have I said that I am afraid of pirouettes :wink:
Being afraid of and making plans to is not the same. I love the figure and I strive to learn this skill.

Speaking of fear, I find that it can be a major brake for me. Hopping standing on the wheel is super easy, however first hops were frightening for me, I was afraid to break all the bones in my body if I miss the mount/hit the pedals. I did not (yet) start walking on the wheel because of the fear of the unicycle shooting out with no way to correct the situation. It is very counterintuitive, and It took me quite a time to realize that learning one foot riding is ultrasafe (provided that I know how to idle)…

That’s inspiring. It makes me think my current plateau is not so inevitable.

Probably not long if you start out as a highly experienced ice skater/dancer who can already pirouette in their domain without falling over. Otherwise, good luck with that.

Well the pirouettes aren’t that hard. I am starting to achieve my first spins with bits (1 rotation max) of pirouettes. Now I can do tight (1m diameter) and smooth circles without corrections with my upper body.

Somebody asked on this forum how to know if you are spinning correctly and the answer was: “You will know the very moment when you are spinning correctly”. It seemed a strange affirmation to me, but the sensation is stunning. I know when the spin is right, something clicks in my head.

However I must stop doing that. This tyre lasted for 6 weeks, and I was mainly focusing on 1 foot riding:

This one lasted less than a week!

It is starting to be an expensive skill to learn. I do not have access to any indoor riding, and the pavement I have is very rough, has high and above all unreliable friction. The friction is very high and the pavement can be slippery at the same time (cf sand or worn tyre). The bits of pirouettes I have happen most when the tyre slips and rotates more than I intended. Probably I’ll revisit this skill in the winter, it is generally very wet here during winters.

We tried to warn you!

Maybe when they let you out of jail you’ll be able to find a better spot down the street or something. :sunglasses:

Hmm, that might be what it feels like when you hit it. The pirouette basically starts when your ride your spin all the way into the center. Then it takes additional practice to be able to keep the wheel at that center point. Otherwise you end up flailing around, or flipping around to going backwards as you come out the other side.

I live in a small village and this patch of concrete is the only one free of cars. To get to the next one I’d have to drive for 15 km, that makes 30 km total. With european prices on gas it is actually cheaper to replace the tyre once per week :smiley:

Yup, that is exactly what happens, I have filmed myself to check it. The wheel rotates more than I wanted, I ride into the center, do about one full rotation around the vertical axis and then I fall being unable to maintain the contact point still.