time to learn wrong footed?

First off let me say thanks for all the great tips and videos from you guys. I asked my first questions here just a couple weeks ago and the replies and links I’ve been given have been incredibly helpful.

In my first post I asked about idling and hopping and both of these skills have improved drastically. I don’t have any numbers because I get distracted somewhere in 10-20 range but I’m now idling a couple minutes on a good one and can hop around in circles(even managed a couple 180’s).

My question is about idiling and hopping on my weak leg. It feels super awkward. I was wondering if I should work on it now while the learning curve is still steep and fresh or should I wait to learn to do it wrong footed until I’ve mastered it with my strong foot. Any input will be appreciated and I’m sure helpful as usual.

P.S. I’m working on free mounting with my off foot as well but that seems to be working out better(about 50-60% success rate).

Speaking as someone who can idle really well, on one side only:

I’ll probably never learn to idle on the other side- too old, too many other skills (not unicycle) I’m working on- not a major problem for me as I use idling purely for being still on rides (traffic lights etc).

However, now i know how difficult learning to idle is, I’d probably, given another chance, have worked equally on both sides from the start. I know from juggling that it’s important, when you’ve identified your weak side, to immediately practice more on that weak side, as, by doing so, your strong side will automatically progress, whereas, if you continue to work mainly on the strong side, your weak side will remain weak forever.

Learning with the non-dominant foot is always good. The question is priorities.

I can easily mount left-footed, idle left-footed etc. idle one/left footed etc. but do I do it regularly? No.

When I am riding to get somewhere, in traffic etc, I always go with my dominant foot. Think about it. Do you ever write with your non-dominant hand just for the hell of it? Usually not. If your focus will be more trick oriented (freestyle, flatland) learning tricks on the non-dominated side is more worth your while because it’s an advantage to be comfortable with one foot (no feet) on the pedals.

In your case, I might focus on getting comfortable idling in more realistic situations (at lights etc) and then see where your interests take you. If you are learning to ride to do muni or to just for recreational road-riding your time may be better spent elsewhere for now.

You guys have both hit on the main reason I want to idle well-Traffic lights, street crossings, pedestrians ect… I juggle as well and am profiecent(not awesome) with either hand, I ride my snowboard as well switch as regular. I was just wondering if in unicycling it is as advantageous to be a switch hitter as other sports and if so when is proper time to develop that.

Most batters aren’t switch hitters. In fact, the majority of great hitters aren’t. :slight_smile:

That being said, it is advantageous to feel comfortable with both feet, but the reality is for most things you will feel more confident on your dominant side.

For off-road being comfortable doing things with the wrong foot can be pretty useful.

For example, you often don’t get to choose which stance you’ll find yourself in when you want to rolling hop an obstacle or do a little correction hop-twist on a downhill.

And it’s easier to mount with your planted foot on the higher side of an off-camber trail, especially uphill. Or you might want to mount with one or the other foot ending up forward, if you are starting a little runup to an obstacle.

For just riding around purposes, I dunno, seems mostly for show or the general feeling of accomplishment.

For rolling hops I have found it useful to learn to hop with the cranks in any position, since you never know where your feet will be when you’ll come to an obstacle. For Idling I can idle as long as I want with my left foot and I see no reason to learn with my right. I don’t have much use for idling because at this point freemounting is like chewing - completely mindless. For me, idling is really more for show than anything else, and it’s not like an audience is going to go “That’s so lame, he only had his left foot down”.

I highly recommend learning basic skills with both feet, like mounting, idling and hopping. Neither foot is “wrong”, but one will be dominant for most people. However, being able to use that other foot when needed will keep you on when the going gets technical, if a foot comes partway off the pedal, if you don’t have much room to mount, etc.

I have gone so far as to learn how to do a backwards one-footed figure 8 with either foot, which was part of the highest-level Compulsory Figures competition at Unicon IV, but that’s overkill. The idea is to give your non-dominant side enough skill to get you out of trouble, or make you more flexible in a limited situation.

Consider practicing your non-dominant leg automatic teaches the dominant leg.
You can save yourself the time skipping practicing the dominant leg.

…but a start for getting confidence to do bw coasting.

I find it convenient to work on both feet. I practice with my left foot down until it gets tired and then I switch to my right foot down until it gets tired. By the time I’m done with my right foot my left foot is well rested again and I can return to left foot down. This seems more efficient than just sitting in a chair and resting.

thanks for the input everyone. I’ve decided to go ahead and train my off foot. I do switch hit and can ride my snowboard switch equally as well as regular. I have had several situations where being able to ride switch has saved an eminate(sp?) collision. I can see these same types of situations occurring on my uni what with pedestrians, dogs, even squirrels coming up. I feel like it would just be another skill in the bag to make me a safer and more accomplished rider. I had to force myself self to learn switch hitting and to ride switch and think it’s probably going to be the same kind of struggle. With both of the other sports I was pretty good doing things regular before I taught myself the switch way. I’m just wondering how proficient I need to be before I really focus on it. I really liked what someone said about the wrong foot teaching the right foot, makes sense to me. Thanks again everyone this site has got me super stoked to go out and get better.

Good day everyone…

I need help… Trying to learn idling and one foot riding for couple months already. Can do 3-4 rocks of idling and 3-5 rotations one footed.
Recently I realized that I do idling with my left leg down and one foot riding with my right foot on the pedal… Is this wrong and one leg must be used for both?

My “back” leg is left. Riding with holding left hand (right hand no problems thou), side hopping better to the right while holding with left hand (that is Ok I think).

I just can’t get more rocks and rotations… and this is disappointing me :frowning:

I’m pretty new so take this with a grain of salt and maybe some of the more experienced riders will chime in. I watched a bunch of videos on idling and on one of them they said to mount with a rollback then pedal one rev forward then 1/2 rev backwards, 1 forward-1/2 back over and over. That technique really helped me get the feel for the forwards and backward sway and the various stopping points, it also helped with being able to stay planted in the saddle as I started getting more rocks. With the help of all those tutorials and lots of practice Its got me to the point of being able to idle through about 50% of the traffic pauses I run into on my rides. I can still only get 5-10 rocks with my off foot but its starting to come around As far as one footed riding I can’t do it but maybe someone else has some advice. Good luck!

My approach has been to practice right and left from the very beginning – 10 attempts on the right then 10 attempts on the left over and over until I’ve learned the trick with either foot. I am not sure that is the best way to do it since I don’t benefit from one foot teaching the other. But I think it is helpful to start working switch early to build up some coordination on that side. Once you fight through all that wrong foot awkwardness, then switch tricks become easier to learn. So I’d say start now.

This. I think hopping is the most important thing to learn switch. It’s much easier to get the cranks in the right place for a hop if you can do it with either foot forward. A lot of times you can do it without interrupting the flow of your ride.

Hey guys,
Thanks for the comments and suggestions, they have been helpful as usual.

This week I’ve started every session with off foot practice(15-20mins), and changed up my daily rides. At every intersection I’ve been rotating skills, so I’ll come to the first intersection and idle ride footed, next one left footed, then hop strong foot back and then weak foot back. I have also just been mounting with whatever foot the uni presents after a dismount. It has really knocked down the distance I can ride before exhaustion sets in but it seems to be paying off. I actually UPD’ed yesterday because I got a few rev’s in and realized I mounted wrong footed with out thinking about it.(squirrel!)

I really appreaciate those of you that told me to go ahead and learn both feet. I have a lot of work left but am noticing some pretty good benefits. The biggest benefit has come from idling. Because of the off footed idling it is now possible for me to stop quickly with either foot even if I come off the uni, it is nice to have that little extra bit of control.

I’m going up to the trails tomorrow and can’t wait to see if there’s any improvement. Thanks for all the help.