Skill Level Prototypes, Round II

Hey everybody,

the IUF Skill Level Development Committeee has been considering your feedback for the first Skill Level prototypes. The drafts got revised based on your feedback. Although much more progress showed up especially the last week(s), which unfortunately was to much for this round and will be included in within the next revision.

Here are the Prototypes:
A: (Freestyle)
B: (Freestyle)
C: (Extreme = mainly Street + Flat)
D: (Freestyle)
E: (All)

Please place your feedback along with one of the uppercase letters (found in the top right corner of each Prototype), that we can assign your feedback to the respective Prototype and avoid loosing yours.

Your feedback is taken into account, when we continue developing the new unicycle skill levels. Please send until 15th of August.

Important for second versions:
Further or later, we need to consolidate the good parts of the skill levels and combine them to one final version. Therefore we have some questions, we wan’t you to answer, to help us with this task. Please answer these questions for each prototype:

  1. What do you like the most about this prototype? Explain why!
  2. What do you dislike the most about this prototype? Explain why!
  3. In case this would be the final prototype and try to imagine, you need to work with this one. How do you feel working with this prototype? Tell us about possible edges.

More information can be found on the IUF Blog.

Thank you so much in advance.


I’m going to be clear with my opinions:

Street/Flat Skills chart? Probably isn’t going to work…

Firstly I don’t like the levels idea… Does not helps at least us, extreme unicyclists with anything. Also, I know riders that are EXTREMELY good like Spencer Hochberg, who is DEFINITELY one of the most respectful riders of our community, and he don’t do flips at all… Is e level 5? NO, he is definitely 10, maybe 11 (not the 11 you guys are thinking about!!!) Same with Cedric Vincent for examples… He can grind things upwards on his 26!.. but he can’t 900! Should we include grinding a 5 sets from the ground to the top? Would be unfair with tech street riders…

Also, nowadays we have many street riders that don’t do any flatland and vice-versa! Mixing both would be at least weird!

The second point I thought about is the fact that we’re creating new tricks all the time, and the riders levels are increasing all the time! This chart is already outdated! What about hick quads, trey quads, 1080 spins, seatwhips, pentaflips?

Obviously, having a skill level is nice even to find sponsors (small ones most of the times, big ones don’t really care if you are good or no, they just want publicity and money coming in)… But I believe that IUF should invest more in the relationship with the street and flat riders.

Most of the good riders are in Europe (liking it or not), and most of them barely knows about the existence of IUF. I heard from MANY french riders that they already plan to create an exclusive federation for extreme disciplines… That would s*ck, cause we would lost touch with the rest of our community…

Answering the questions:

  1. The only thing I like about it is the initiative to rank and interact with the street/flat community.

  2. Except from the fact that the table is outdated (many new tricks aren’t there and some easier tricks are mixed with hard ones in the wrong places), I wouldn’t make any tests or whatever else to be ranked… At least if not requested to do it by one of my sponsors.

  3. As I said, I wouldn’t work with it at all. I would rather keep riding and improving my riding than training tricks that I’m sure I can do with some minutes of work, but wouldn’t fit my riding style…

Street and Flat are more about style than Freestyle. In freestyle riders have their styles, but many times they let it at the side and just show the skills requested by IUF (skills that are required on Skills Levels Charts)… Something that I really don’t like, and really liked to see that started changes in the last two World Championships. Anyway, a Skills system for Street and Flat would kinda change this aspect. I’m pretty sure that most of the riders would not care about the skills, but there’s a chance of seeing street and flat more like freestyle in the next years too…

That’s only MY opinion. I know that I share some of the comments I posted here with other riders and friends, but let’s see what they have to say :smiley:

Again, I don’t want to discriminate all the work done here, I just don’t think that it fits this disciplines!

Pedro Tejada!

Also my opinion.

I agree with Pedro, but then again, skill level, no matter how good the list is are not going to fit some of the riders.
Maybe the problem here is that we are creating something for the present with the means of the past. Let me explain:
When I learned to juggle 0ver 20 years ago I learned everything I knew from a book, when I say that outloud today to the juggling kids I teach they do think I am funny. The skill level list would have helped me a lot to progress 20 years ago, god know I only discovered riding backwards, one footed and jumping at the age of 37.
The unicycling sport of the past was those 10 skill levels, and then it became much much more and is evolving all the time. A lot of that is thanks to the internet, it is just so easy to see what the rest of the world does and try to beat that.
Skill level is a way is trying to organize unicycling skills in some sort of list that you would be able to follow if you wanted to. I think we need to progress from a written list into the digital youtube/vimeo age.
There should be a way to organize all the different unicycle trick (in the way that the E option proposes), each with a video tutorial. The list should be expandable, ever growing and contributed to by every who wants.
This way every one could find the way best suited for him to progress, improve and become a better rider.


I only looked at E since I don’t aspire to freestyle

I disagree with a couple of the skills and their level here and there but full consensus will never be reached and fundamentally they are OK.

I’m probably late to the party with this, but I think basketball and to a lesser extent racing are things you do WITH skills as opposed to being ‘skills’ themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I hope to play basketball some day.

Let me amplify a little bit. Shooting a basketball from a uni is not UNI related. It is using your hand and arm to do something while astride the uni. In its own way it’s as arbitrary as including reading a newspaper while riding or doing a yo-yo while riding. The motion of shooting a basketball has next to nothing to do with the body part motion of riding a uni or manipulating the plane or direction of said Uni. Those skills are already covered in skills of turning, idling, riding backwards, etc.

It’s sort of like eating an apple while juggling. The motion for eating an apple is basic to many other juggling skills (and not very hard to do). Adding the apple is just window dressing. But at least eating an apple is relevant to the arm motion of juggling.

I shot a basketball into the basket on my first day of trying riding seated on a 20" uni. It took 10 tries but I did it in the first 1/2 hour while practicing dribbling. By the IUF levels (old or new) I’m not even a basic rider since I only mount from one side and I barely idle. But I shot a basket. With a week of work, 10-15 minutes a day, without defenders, without the pace of a game, I would make the basket more often (perhaps in 3 tries) but I’d still be below a basic rider. My riding skill would not have improved one iota.

Next point; It’s a slippery slope. Where is unicycle hockey? (i saw that mentioned in the header) Where is Unicycle Ultimate Frisbee? or any other number of sports that could be adapted to Unicycle.

Granted, basketball is a well established unicycle contest. But the ultimate judge of Uni basketball skill is the score. Not what skill is used to reach that score. It makes perfect sense for a unicycle contest. A few brackets and the skill level is evidenced by the highest score in the final game.

It’s the same for racing.

Why no 100-10-1 for pro ‘Distance’ under racing, I know that is extreme and would be hard to judge for cheating, assistance, whatever. But it makes the point that racing is a sport unto itself and needs many distances and disciplines to cover the scope of the sport.

Outside the Olympics (the best of the best amateurs) and the ‘Pro’ circuit there are age categories for running and swimming. Include racing and you are opening the proverbial can of worms.

I think it is evident to all that the IUF skill levels, while serious, are supposed to be equitable, accessible to all, and on some level fun. I argue it is not the Olympics of Unicycle. That would be the contests that are held. As said above Basketball (and racing) fits the context of a contest.

In light of Basketball’s and racing’s inclusion I feel compelled to ask ‘where is the IUF Obstacle Course’? Is that not a race, a more complex race than traveling in a straight line?

I don’t envy ‘you’ the task of bringing the skill levels up to date and to be more inclusive of more disciplines. I spoke bluntly to make my point, but recognize that in the end the ‘levels’ will be the classic compromise that makes few happy, and many decisions will be judgment calls with out a clear right or wrong answer.

Like best: the Levels and Directions are flexible (in E)

Like the least: Levels and Directions can be complex.

Working with Prototype: No strong opinion either way. Seem like a good approach if a a somewhat complicated one as you get to one level in this direction and another level in that direction. But it seems workable and seems appropriate to the intended goal of revising the levels and making them more inclusive.

You’re missing level 11… the most extreme!

I also agree with Pedro. Beau Hoover, one of the best flat riders I know, would only be a level 3 because he can’t backflip. However, I’ve seen him varial roll-fakie xroll (?)-outside roll-sideways wheelwalk, hardly a trick on par with 180 unispins and crank grabs. There are too many riders with too many styles/trick preferences to group them all like this for street and flat.

I don’t think that the street/flat levels will be used like the current freestyle levels. You can’t just look at a list of tricks someone can do and judge if they’re a good street or flat rider. With that said I think there’s a reason to have levels anyway. To new riders just getting into the sport it gives them a list of tricks to work on and shows where they can go based on what tricks they can already do. That’s also a reason it may look outdated already, once riders are that good I don’t think its necessary to tell them what to learn. Street and flat tricks progress too quickly to have a list of everything anyway without constantly adding new levels.

I don’t like the idea of people saying they’re a level __ street/flat rider, but I don’t think that will be how it will happen.

I just think categorizing skill into “levels” for a sport is wrong in general, as skill and style should speak for itself.

I’m liking E the best.

I like what ezas says about basketball. It’s a skill, but like hockey, polo, juggling, and basket weaving, I think it should have it’s own skill level committee, if they so choose. And like ezas, I want to make it clear, I think these sports are great, respectable, and fun. Just not part of the fundamental skills.

But I want to disagree with ezas on racing. Riding fast is a true fundamental skill in my opinion. Though I feel it should just be renamed as “Speed”, because Racing is technically different to me.

I also question the need for weighting Basic 1, Advanced 2, and Pro 3.
What is that really doing? It is boosting the level of higher skilled riders significantly to try to differentiate them from lower skilled riders. But a lot of meaning can be lost.
Two people can be level 20, but one may have more breadth than depth, or vice versa.

It’s a little more verbose, but why not drop the weighting and have skill levels specified in the format:
Rider 1 = 12:4:0
Rider 2 = 6:4:2


I think its silly to group together flat and street into one category. The break down should be separate. I mean, they are 2 entirely different styles of riding. It would be better if the flat had its own levels starting with tricks and then moving up into hard tricks with a number of flat combos.

And if street in going to include grinds, then it should include preforming tricks from drops and stair steps. Remove all the flat trick entirely. Also some of those tricks are not in the right place. Got to be switched around a bit.

With the way most people ride street and flat, the list of tricks would be really similar. The levels would just be a recommendation of tricks to learn for either, I don’t think its necessary to include specifics with obstacles or combos, that’s up to the rider.

well as far as street goes. I mean you kind of need obstacles. I mean if you don’t have obstacles then its pretty much all flat riding.

Yeah that’s definitely true, but if someone asks what tricks to work on to be a good street rider then the list can refer them to something to practice. I think a crankflip is mostly a street trick, but doing a crankflip isn’t street unless there’s some obstacle involved. So the list would recommend someone learns a crankflip and then they have the skills to go use it in whatever environment they want.

It’s taken me a while, but here is my feedback:

A - 1. I like the flexibility the ranking has. Once you find there is something you can’t do, or don’t want to do, you can’t progress in a static level system, but in this, you can.

A - 2. Unfortunately, this is really complex, and doesn’t help guide people forwards. The less mathematical people among us, and those not willing to spend time “calculating” will not take it up.

A - 3. I’d find it straight forwards, and would have to create an offline calculator. I’d love to see something like E to compliment it, providing a guide for what to work on next.

B - 1. I like the two classification groups (though the numbering should continue into the second group). This should make it easier to distinguish between those who should compete in “beginner” events, and those who should compete in “advanced”, preventing people being unsporting (by competing below their weight) or being a danger (by competing above their weight). I also like that it is simple to follow.

B - 2. I do not like how specific this is, especially with the mount (see points above). If a person can’t/won’t do one of the items for whatever reason, they can’t progress to a level beyond that.

B - 3. I would likely ignore it and use the old version, or the “kewl” system. It’s too specific.

C - 1. The three classifications are good, like in “B”, only now you can say someone isn’t safe to do it at beginner lever either.

C - 2. It is a little too specific. I could see this going a little further to a point where level 10 is 90% of a the skills in an advanced skill set, level 8 is 60% and level 7 is 30%, level 6 is 90% of the intermediate skill set… and so on. Also, you may want to rename “sexchange” for the purpose of something official. Leaving it as “sexchange” is bound to make the lives of adults involved with young riders somewhat difficult.

C - 3. I may use this. It’s much like the present system, just with varying directions for the different disciplines. If I come across too much I can’t/won’t do, then I’ll shift to the “kewl” system.

D - This is exactly the same as “C” only for a different discipline. I had assumed each prototype was simply an example of an idea, only exampled in one discipline, so I have been “imagining” the prototype in the missing disciplines for that prototype. I shall persist in this assumption because it still fits best.

You may also want to make sure you get “intermediate” and “advanced” round the correct way. Intermediate is somewhere between simple and advanced… (in D)

E - 1. I like this one a lot. It is really quite straight forward, and unspecific, so you can still progress whilst missing things, but you still maintain simplicity and guidance.

E - 2. There isn’t much. The scoring even suggests you can skip a basic and do the advanced despite being unable to do one of the basic items. I guess the only downside of this one is it isn’t so simple that a non-rider could understand what a level 23 can do. It’s not as clear cut as the others. Seriously, a minor point.

E - 3. I’d use it and love it. It would be a useful teaching tool to new unicyclists and more advanced ones, as well as being useful to keep up apparent progression.

My summary:
I think the best all round would be “E”. Whilst “A” probably presents the best idea for extreme and sporting, it isn’t practical. “C/D” would be easy to follow for the relatively flowing nature of the skills in freestyle, providing a clear ranking for those interested. It also provides an idea of where to start and what to do next for new riders.

Can you please clear my assumption (about C and D). It doesn’t make sense not to be true, due to the lack of variance for extreme and sport disciplines.

A point to take note:
I don’t think you should ever be specific about a mount type (seen all 4 ideas): I won’t do half the “beginners” mounts (as in C/D) as they are way to dangerous for certain regions of my body, and every attempt has resulted in severe pain for days. I do however do some of the more complex mounts: kick mount for one.

C and D are based on the same concept, true. What about the Mounts, which one does hurt you? (Don’t land on your balls, when doing a jump mount, that hurts for sure!)

Basketball already has great measures of success–points per game, rebounds per game, assists per game, shooting percentage. If we’re going to track basketball skill levels, those are the metrics we should use. It makes no sense to include stand up wheel walk or stand up gliding in basketball skills; that’s not what basketball players do.

If you want to give people something to work on, how about “dribble without looking at the ball” or “behind the back dribble to layup” or “dribble with spin move and layup.” Actual basketball skills.

If you’re only going to include 24" track racing in the Race category, I would leave it out entirely. The last thing we should be doing is encouraging new riders to participate in 24" track racing.

The freestyle-oriented levels, I don’t care about, but I also don’t see how they’re significant improvements on what we already have. Some of them are clearly not as good as what we already have, as they’re too confusing and complicated.

It’s jump mount. Possibly a case that it only happens during the learning phase, but I’m not willing to go through that pain. Much like I will never try learning to grind and probably won’t ride on scaffolding poles.

Perhaps a refresher on the purpose of the skill levels?

If it’s to compare one rider to another then I agree with most of the street/flat riders who responded here, it aint gonna work. Leave that to competitions. The same is true for freestyle, half the score in competition is performance - the other half is skills performed. That means a “higher level” rider might hit all their skills but won’t win if their style and artistry sucks.

IMHO the purpose of skill levels is to give riders a path to learn more and more advanced skills in a progression. You want to start simple and build from the previously learned skills. That’s why you typically learn a skill with your dominant foot in a straight line, then the other foot, then in a circle, then in a figure-8…at least that’s the way I was taught.

Having said that, how you put them all together determines the outcome of freestyle/street/flat competitions, including individual style/artistry. The only place pure skills is judged is in the Standard Skills competition.

My 2 cents worth…

See, I think having a list of tricks and there equivalent skill level is a good idea. But if the are going to test for skill level, like they do with standard skills, then they(IUF) are going to need to add a little bit more in there I think.