The IUF levels

Hello all, I have recently taken a side interest in gaining rank in the IUF Acheivement Skill Levels, http://www.unicycling.org/IUF/levels/, and I am stuck on level 4. I am not as ambidextrous as I would like, and the 25 right foot idles seem almost unachievable. Does anyone have any helpful advice on idles?

Practice, practice, practice. Its all you really can do. I found it really hard to use my off foot when I first started to learn how to idle or one foot… I still cant one foot wheel walk with my left foot. Im not sure, but it being the foot you dont normally use it might take longer to learn how to do it, and you might never be as good at it with that foot. But like I said, all you really can do is practice. You will eventually get it, dont worry.

What is your record for most idles with your “good” foot?
How old are you? (Just out of curiosity)

Being in my 40’s it took me months to learn idling. I notice that kids around 16 can pick it up in a matter of days. With that said, I’ve set personal records of 125 idles with my good foot and 100 idles with my bad foot. Like Space said, practice practice practice. At first I wondered if I would ever get it, it seemed impossible. So here are some of my tips:

Step 1. Master the skill of riding forward, stopping, pedal half a rev backwards, ride forward. This is 2 skills: doing it with either foot.

Step 2. Practice, Practice, Practice with your “best” foot. At first, don’t worry about how polished it looks. Simply try to set new records for most idles. I used to be all over the place as I recovered from poor idles. Then the technique improved and I’d be able to stay “in a groove” for longer periods of time. As you make progress, you have 2 choices. One is to commit to a goal (25 idles, 100 idles - whatever) with your good foot, then start on the other foot. The other choice is to keep them at the same level. In other words, set a record of 10 idles with your good foot, then commit to setting the same record with your bad foot. There are pro’s and con’s to each. I stuck with the first option and achieved a goal of 100 idles (back and forth equals 1 idle) before I even tried idling with my bad foot. My logic then was that I wanted my brain to have idling down pat before I moved on to the bad foot. The second option has the benefit of keeping your self equally skilled at any time.

Try to keep as much weight on the seat as possible. The tendancy will be to have a lot of your weight on the lower idling foot which will wear you out. I’d say any progress is good though. If you are putting too much weight on the foot but making progress, keep doing it until you are setting some good records. Then focus on transfering your weight to the seat.

Step 3. Break up the monotony by throwing in related skill exercises:

A. Idle for complete revolutions (example: left, right backwards, left, right forwards).

B. Ride forward, stop, pedal backwards half a rev with the left foot, ride forwards, stop, pedal backwards half a rev with the right foot, ride forwards, etc… (Think of 2 steps forward, 1 step back, 2 steps forward, 1 step back). Obviously this polishes up the skills stated in step one above.

Hope this helps!

I believe idling is the gateway to all the cool freestyle moves. I don’t think you can progress to them unless you are quite good at idling. With that mindset, I set 2 long term goals for myself:

  1. Idle 100 times with either foot. (accomplished)
  2. Be able to go into an idle at any point regardless of which foot will be needed to idle - without having to think about it. You don’t have to think to walk, I don’t want to have to think to idle. Try thinking about the technique of walking and you’ll find yourself walking awkwardly. I’m most of the way on that goal but I wouldn’t say I’ve nailed it (idling that is).

Thanks

Well with my left foot down, I am usually able to go as long as I want. I might take the time eventually to count them but, thats multitasking and makes it harder for me. I am 15, 16 in January. As you can see I was using my big boy vocabulary in my post earlier today. Its about time for me to go to sleep, so i dont think i’ll try it today, but tommorow. I will try to keep you all posted with my progress. Thanks for the help.

I’ve been looking at the IUF skill levels and I’d say I’m a solid level 2, and well on my way to level 3. I think the skill levels are a brilliant idea - they really give us something to aim for when we’re running out of ideas or inspiration to improve our skills.

I was wondering actually, are there schools or something that hand out certificates or awards based on the different levels? Or are they just a solf-motivation aid? I keep thinking about this.

Also, do other sports have similar systems?

SmellyGeekBoy,

I agree completely that the levels give you direction and goals. This link will answer your questions:

http://unicyclingusa.org/levels/

As for other sports, I can tell you that skydiving has a licensing system plus various awards for recognizing significant accomplishments.

Thanks for that. Wow, those testing rules are pretty strict… No failure, only one test per day, no practising, etc etc.

It is not quite as strict as you say. Practising is to be done before being tested. You can make one mistake per skill, and maximum 3 mistakes per level. If you own the skills required for a level then 3 mistakes is very generous.

It makes sense if you were the one testing. Can you imagine how long it would take if someone was allowed as many attempts as they wanted? It’s called the skill levels not the hit and miss levels. Skills which aren’t known thoroughly can be subject to eye pressure/stage fright/performance anxiety.

When I test kids for simple skills they tend to want to show me before they are really ready, and say “watch me watch me Rowan!” so I look and they fall off. When I tell them that to get their license they only get three chances to succeed in a skill or they will have to wait for another day, they take it more seriously before demanding my attention.

PPUT uses the USA/IUF levels extensively, and provides cards and patches at each level when a rider achieves that level. Mr. Tepper also has colored beads he awards at levels below the IUF levels (identify the uni parts, ride 3 feet, ride 6 feet, ride to half court, ride the lenght of the gym, etc). These incentives have proven VERY affective in positively reinforcing achievements in small step, which is inherint in learning to ride.

I would’ve thought they would leave it up to individual testers to use their judgement. After all, the worst that’s going to happen is that the person being tested gets awarded for something when they’re not quite ready and just makes a fool of themself when it comes time to use those skills. It would also be a big blow to the credibility of the person handing out the awards if they just gave them out to anyone so I would think it would be self-regulating in that respect.

That said, it’s always good to have rules to follow or things can descend into madness!

Positive reinforcement can only be a good thing. I’d love to be able to get some patches to prove my skills but I don’t know of anywhere to get tested around here. Maybe I should start up a local unicycle club of my own!