Question on benefits of developing both feet.

I am working on MUni, trials and freestyle skills. During the winter I have access to a gym, so I am working mostly on freestyle skills. So far I am working on all skills (except hopping) with either foot. I am just starting to get one footed riding with the right foot only and feel the left foot is going to take a good bit longer to do. I’m starting to get impatient and want to learn more tricks…NOW! Any one else had this feeling? I really am trying to be disciplined about my practice time on the uni.

So here’s the question…
What are some of the advantages of slowing down the progress, learning less tricks, and learning to do the tricks with both feet? Obviously, for the short term, you can learn more tricks quicker if you only learn them with the dominant foot. What are other advantages to just learning dominant foot.

Bottom line is this…I’m willing to learn a little slower and be more disciplined in my practice time (i.e. learn both feet) if there will be significant benefits.

Okay folks, give me your philosophy on how to practice!


So here’s the question…
What are some of the advantages of slowing down the progress, learning less tricks, and learning to do the tricks with both feet?

I have found that being able to use both feet, arms, legs etc. equally have helped further my development in other activities for example Judo and hang gliding.

I am new to unicycling, but in the short time that I have been learning to ride it has helped me already.
I had been trying to free mount using my left foot without much success. So I tried using the right foot. I was having much more success. After analyzing what I was doing, I found that when I successfully mounted with my right foot, I was using the right hand on the seat.
When I had tried mounting with the left foot, I was also using the right hand on the seat. I then tried using my left hand on the front of the seat, and was actually able to get up on the seat and ride.
If I used opposite hand and foot I didn’t have the same control of getting the seat underneath me as when I used the same hand / foot combination.
Attempting to free mount using the foot I was not as comfortable with helped me learn the mount.

Initially learning an activity on both sides seems to slow ones progress, but, if you keep at it, it will get easier.
If it feels uncomfortable, you are probably on the verge of a major breakthrough. So keep at it.

I would recommend that you learn the tricks equally with both feet instead of learning the trick on the right side then trying to learn it on the left side.

So here’s the question … What are some of the advantages of slowing down the progress, learning less tricks, and learning to do the tricks with both feet?

I’ve given up on trying to keep the left and rite at equal capabilities.

I do work on both sides - I just don’t make myself practice the weak side as much as it would take to keep the sides even.

Working that much on my weak side just seems to slow down development of my strong side way too much.

I am curious what others think?
And (because it may be different) what others actually do (or have done)?

What about hopping with alternate feet forward? I am more comfortable with my right foot forward. And it is easier for me to do stuff holding onto the seat with my right hand. How much does this matter?

Learning both sides will certainly make you a more versatile rider. I sometimes wonder if it isn’t actually easier to do both sides right away rather than later. I have spent many years with developing just my dominant side and find it difficult to do more advanced skills with my weak side. My daughter can OF ride with either foot.

Those into the current Skill Levels (and the revised levels being worked on) have to master both sides for idling, OF riding, OF idling, OF Wheel Walk, etc. just to pass the levels.

How much practical application these have is debatable. It certainly is a bonus to be able to stop and idle with either foot or hop/jump well in the weak postion.

I am curious what RSU thinks about developing the non-dominant side.

More replys please.:slight_smile:

I think being able to use both sides is important for trials and MUni. I say that because I can’t. I’m stuck approaching objects so that they end up on my left side with my left foot forward and my right hand on the seat handle to hop over, onto, or crank grab. This is bad for objects than can be approached from different heights on different sides. Also, if I’m trying to jump onto a skinny that has access from only one side there’s only a 50% chance I’ll be pointed the right direction. Half the time I’ll have to turn around once on top of it. Finally, my arm gets tired and I’m getting fierce tendonitis using only my right.

it will take shorter time to learn a trick with the other foot as compared with the initial learning curve with the first foot. especially with freestyle, practicing with both feet will help your overall balance and control of the uni. i think that it is much less important for trials. i think most people get by hopping one way with one foot forward.

I think that, to be an outstanding rider, the general riding skills all have to be ambidextrous: one foot, hopping, idling. The “indirect” advantages here are agility, smoothness, symmetric muscle development, circularity of pedal stroke, and the like.

For freestyle, the “direct” advantages are minimal. It doesn’t help your performance to idle on each side, or to do a side mount to both sides. Perhaps in pairs there is some direct advantage; I don’t really know.

For distance riding, there is no “direct” advantage; however the indirect advantages are huge.

For trials, the “direct” advantages of ambidexterity are mostly mid-line. For example, like Harper said, approaches to an object may be limited midline. It may be impossible to change pedal positions midline. It may be necessary to hop without getting into the power position. A drop to a confined area may require a following hop that is with the “other” foot forwards.

For off-road, the “direct” advantages of ambidexterity include all the trials advantages, as well as other advantages that are specific to rough terrain. These include off-foot saves mid-cycle due to mud, rolling logs, snow, or other slippery surfaces; saves in places where the ground is not visible, such as deeper snow, streambeds, fallen leaf cover, and nighttime riding; and places where the rider must carefully control pedal position due to external requirements, such as rolling through rock gardens and through trees.

So to me the need for ambidexterity is highly application-dependent. However, your overall riding will benefit immensely by developing the core skills on both sides, especially one-foot riding. You will be surprised at the changes in your riding.

For trials and MUni, your ability will benefit greatly by developing your hopping skills ambidextrously (there are four combinations of side hop, for example). For MUni and long-distance, your hill-climbing skills will benefit greatly by lots and lots of ambidextrous one-foot riding.

I believe that by not being ambidextrous in your core skills in trials and MUni, you limit your eventual development (not just slow it down). This is why Sem Abrahams and others built ambidexterity of certain skills into the freestyle skill levels.

Personally, I spend lots of time practicing 1-f on both sides, and I am finally learning to hop ambidextrously in actual trail situations.

Re: Question on benefits of developing both feet.

i can recall reading some research done on the issue and one of the findings was that the ‘weak’ side didn’t need the same amount of training to reach the same level as the ‘strong’ side
they used figures of 60-40/70-30, if i recall
i can’t for the life of me remember where i read this
other juggling uniists may have a link for the story

Re: Question on benefits of developing both feet.

I have this nagging feeling that I SHOULD develop my weak side as
well. You know, like always wear a helmet on the uni, eat healthy,
don’t speed, quit smoking, drink less alcohol, watch less tv.

Like in those examples (not all of which are applicable in my case),
developing the weak side equally should be for my own good, or so
‘they’ say, but I often can’t bring myself to it.

Bad habits are comfortable.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

I have a feeling you might need two points of contact with the ground for such a thing to work? Or at least training wheels on the front and rear. - John Foss commenting on a picture of a one-wheeled vehicle he saw on RSU.

It’s really annoying if you’ve only developed something in one direction, but then you want to combine it with something else that you only know in the other direction.

As I’m discovering at the moment with something I’m working on. Grrrr.


Re: Re: Question on benefits of developing both feet.

Originally posted by Klaas Bil
Bad habits are comfortable.

Amen to that one! Just goes to show that comfortable is not always good.