skill levels

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I was just thinking. With the increased awareness of unicycle “skill levels”
from people around the world, it might be time to re-examine how we do them. The
USA started in the late 70’s with the four skill levels, originally developed by
Jan Layne. These were multi-purpose levels that included riding over obstacles,
speed, and doing skills while riding.

Later when the IUF expanded the list to 10 levels, it was decided that the speed
aspect didn’t fit with the rest of the skills, and was hard to mandate for
different sized riders/unicycles. So our current 10 levels were intended to be
possible to do all within a large room.

But unicycling is a large sport. As we know, many riders are not interested in
skill levels, even artistic riders. I think the idea of skill levels might be
better accepted if we developed different sets of levels for different
unicycling disciplines. The 10 levels we have now could be called Artistic Skill
Levels. They are aimed at serious riders who put in lots of practice hours and
are interested in Freestyle, Standard Skill, or performing. But they are not
appropriate for schools, commuters, unicycle sports players, racers or MUni
riders. Riders who are not strongly interested in artistic skills might be
motivated to achieve skill levels in an area that matches what they do.

For schools, the levels need to be much easier and closer together. Most kids in
school unicycle programs don’t have as much time as riders who own their own,
and many programs have upper limits on age. So it must be possible to achieve
levels within a shorter amount of time. The first level might be riding half the
gym, for instance.

Commuters or outdoor cruising riders might have levels that cover the types of
terrain and/or traffic they can cope with.

Sports players would have levels that are specific to unicycle sports. Quick
turns, twisting or stillstanding instead of rocking, high speed and
maneuverability.

For MUni, levels could be developed based on terrain, distance and altitude.

Does this sound like an interesting idea? Let’s come up with some rough sets of
levels and toss them around.

John Foss

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Re: skill levels

“Foss, JohnX” <johnx.foss@intel.com> writes:

> Commuters or outdoor cruising riders might have levels that cover the types of
> terrain and/or traffic they can cope with.

I’m reminded of a Far Side cartoon in which a dog runs across through road,
weaving through moving traffic. One of the observer dogs exclaims, “Ok, Rusty’s
in the club!”

Instead of just numbers, you could have more descriptive terms.

  1. Vacant Lot
  2. Suburban Sidewalks …
  3. Manhattan
  4. Boston

Jokes aside, your history of skill levels was missing something important: the
purpose of skill levels. It’s good to have the goals stated explicitly so we can
tailor the product to fit them, rather than just using whatever skills we can
think of simply because we can think of them.

Personally, I’ve never been interested in them, but I can imagine some possible
goals you might have in mind.

  1. Promote interest in unicycling by appealing to people’s competitive natures.

  2. Provide a list of skills for people to work on.

  3. Create a common basis for comparing riders in some way they find relevant.

  4. Give unicycling organizations something to do. (set rules, test, distribute
    certificates)

Do these match what you had in mind? Are there others? Ranking the importance of
these would also help.

Re: skill levels

<bold>Foss JohnX,johnx.foss@intel.com,Internet writes:

</bold><x-quoted>Commuters or outdoor cruising riders might have levels that
cover the types

of terrain and/or traffic they can cope with.</x-quoted>

I think this is a great idea, John. As someone who regularly travels 30-35 miles
a week on a unicycle, I’ve always admired people who can mount fifteen different
ways but have felt that cruisers were somehow out of the officially sanctioned
loop. I’d love to see a set of skill levels for distance riders. One possible
standard: miles ridden without dismounting. (Who was the Japanese guy who went
for more than 100 miles without stopping?)

Dave

I’m 23 and have been stuck around level 5-6 for about 2 years. I’ve been
riding for 8 years, and really only mastered wheel walking (i.e., being
really comfortable with it and able to go for about 50 m regularly)
recently. I’m also a bit stuck on dsmounting wheel hopping and can’t be
bothered learning right foot one footing… Here are some factors
contributing to my skill plateau

  • other interests / lack of time / intense university schedule (I probably
    only `practise’ for an average of half an hour a week)
  • other unicycling interests (I’m into trials, hockey and ofroading, which
    don’t really contribute to skills like ww and wheel hopping)
  • lack of peers (there is only one other rider I know of a similar skill
    level, but we rarely ride together). This is probably the greatest
    limiting factor for my (and probably other people’s) slowness in
    learning difficult or scary tricks. At least the internet is a constant
    source of inspiration.
  • the fear factor: somehow the thought of pain and suffering really
    doesn’t do it for me any more
  • boredom: why would I want to learn one foot riding with the RIGHT foot?
  • weather: it’s raining at the moment
  • laziness: yeah well…
  • krap uni: my seat really hurts and my cranks are permanently bent and I
    can’t afford to fix them.

Actually, looking at that list, there’s a lot that I can overcome. At the
moment, I’m not really that bothered about improving skill levels, I’d
rather learn to hop higher and learn to pedal grab. However,the same
factors contribute to me not learning thos skills.

nic

On Mon, 24 Dec 2001, harper wrote:

> When Ryan Woessner achieved skill level 10 he was the youngest at 13
> among a very small group all of who achieved this level in their teens.
> I thought that was one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard. People are
> hopefully still patting him on the back every time they see him.
>
> Is it possible for someone in their 20’s, 30’s, or beyond to achieve
> this level or is this something like female Olympic class gymnasts
> where, if you are out of your teens, you really can’t compete anymore?
> I’m not interested in the “anything is possible if you…” responses.
> I’m interested in responses from the older (apparently over 20 is
> older), higher skill level riders giving an indication of what the real
> limitations are for them. In particular, what is it in skill level 7, 8
> or 9 that you just haven’t been able to do and why do you think that
> particular skill is so difficult for you? Maybe you can’t practice
> enough anymore because you have to support yourself and a family or some
> other time constraint.
>
> I also am not asking you to be self deprecating. Since posting to this
> group I have learned to do more things in the last year than in all my
> previous 38 years of riding. I do things on a unicycle now that I never
> even thought were possible and I’m just getting ready to pass skill
> level four. Last year I would have considered it to be impossible to be
> where I am now and I still look at some of the things in the upper skill
> levels and say, “no way.”
>
>
>
>
> –
> harper Posted via the Unicyclist Community -
> http://unicyclist.com/forums
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