I’m learning to hop and do trials stuff at the moment. Now not being one of
those hardcore people who can just huck without worrying too much, this is
probably taking me a bit longer to learn than most.
I’ve got the hang of hopping and seat in drops up to 2 feet which is as far
as I want to go with drops really, don’t see much point in bigger drops,
I’ve yet to sort out my jumping, but it’s coming on now, once that’s happy
then I’m gonna move onto grabs and stuff.
Anyway, I’ve got some tips for people like me who get scared doing this sort
- Visualise the move
The big thing is what Kris Holm says on Muniac.com, visualise what you’re
about to do. Take this further than just thinking through the move, think
how you are going to set-up before the move and exactly how you’re going to
transition into it. When I’m trying something scary, I tend to visualise
everything down to the number of hops I’m going to do before a drop. For
example to learn drops of a bench I visualised that I’d mount on the bench,
do a small hop twice, still-stand and then do the big hop into the abyss.
If it’s possible, get off the unicycle, hold the seat and move it through
the steps you’ve visualised above, this really helps you see the move in
your head and shows you how it isn’t really all that scary. For drops or
hops, jump them without the unicycle first just to see how they aren’t
really as big as they look after all. You can run-through vertical moves on
the ground, to make sure you’ve got all the components down pat.
Split things up into equal time segments if possible and force yourself to
conform to these or bail-out. I find I’m much more likely to do a move if
I’m like ‘1-2-3-bang’ where the numbers are setup stages and the bang is the
actual move, whereas if I think eg. I’ll just hop for a bit and then pull
the move I keep hopping and get nervous and stop.
- Bail-out points
Think of possible bail out points through the move. You might even want to
try practicing riding the move up until each bail-out before you practice
the whole move. eg. For dropping off a bench, first practice mount on the
bench and then dismount. Then mount, small hop lots and dismount. Then
mount, small hop lots, lean and jump off the unicycle sideways onto the
ground (this is really easy to do). Then finally do the whole move, mount,
hop, hop, lean, big hop.
- Work up to it
This is pretty obvious. If possible, start doing the move on something small
and work your way up. You might find like I did however, that there is a gap
in the range of heights of obstacles, for example near where I live, I’ve
got lots of park benches to play off, ranging from 1.5 feet to 2 feet, and
lots of kerbs up to about 6 inches, but nothing much in between. For drops
this isn’t too bad, anyone can do a drop, but it does make it hard to learn
big hops. I’ve got a nice set of steps near my work which has a slanted ramp
next to it, giving anything from about 15 steps at the bottom to 4 steps up
the top which is a perfect place for working your way up.
- Base skills
I felt much more confident about doing real moves once I’d got my base
skills to a decent level, for example being able to still-stand and do
little hops reliably, rather than pogo-ing. Whilst it might mean you’re
still getting your skills down when other people are already pogo-sticking
off huge drops or up huge things, you’ll probably be able to do it much more
smoothly when you do try and with much less chance of pedals goring your