Tricks for regaining confidence?

I started learning a couple of months ago, and was feeling reasonably happy with the progress I was making, until three or four weeks ago when I took a rather nasty fall onto my ankle. It’s still not feeling right and I’ve got to go for physio on it and stuff, which would be bad enough if I hadn’t also completely wrecked my confidence.

Now I pretty much freak at the thought of riding outdoors and I’ve been confining myself to the indoor spaces I can get to. The building we use is now out of bounds to us until September so I’m kinda stuck. I’ve attempted a couple of sessions outside but I’m still having trouble dealing with my pounding heart. I also stiffen up madly which makes my riding even more dodgy. Bit of a vicious circle, really.

Anyone else had the same trouble and feels like sharing so I don’t feel quite so pathetic? Any quick fixes anyone can suggest to help me out?

Try buying some ankle protection. There are sure to be threads about good brands here.

The advantages of padding and protection for me is always at least 50% mental. Though I rarely whack my shin pads, I feel much more brave when I have them on. I wear wrist guards every time I ride although they probably only have to do their job once in a while.

Also, remember that you are in no hurry. You already know how to ride and that is an accomplishment. Riding inside is still practice and in the end, practice will build your confidence and overall strength as a rider.

A famous quote comes to mind. “I share your pain”.

I took a hard fall several months ago while doing a sharp turn with wet shoes. My foot slipped off the right pedal. I fell backwards and scraped the back of my right leg on the pins of the metal pedal. Ouch!!

I still have a hard time really digging in and doing hard, leaning turns. I just bought a pair of Van’s shoes which do seem to grip real well. I am still getting used to the new shoes but they seem to help.

I don’t have a quick fix for you. Keep riding.

Re: Tricks for regaining confidence?

one time I was riding and my foot sliped off and got stuck between the wheel and crank. This caused me to do the splits and one of my legs to twist the wrong way. I was a little scared to go fast again (I was trying to see how fast I could go when I feel). After alot more riding and falling, I realized it probably wouldn’t happen again, and if it did the pain would go away. What dosn’t kill you just makes you stronger. I also found that it helps to watch other fall and hurt themselfs worse than I did, but I am a little weird that way.

I notice that you’re only in Leicester so as a half way house between riding outdoors and inside you could come along to the Derby & Nottingham Hockey Sessions every Tuesday evening between 8pm & 9pm at the 5-a-side pitch at Darley Park, Chester Green - the pitch is a nice soft artificial surface so very pleasant to fall of on (I have done extensive research on this and so can speak from a position of experience)

  • theres loads of different abilities there from near beginers to fairly experienced riders (we get somewhere between 10 and 18 people depending on the weather) so you’ll get masses of encouragment and tips if required and hockey is undoubtably a good way to improve your skills in a fun environment - let me know if you are interested and I can let you have more details - it’d be great to see you along one evening.



I’m guessing you are over the age of 30 (though you did not say so). Younger riders tend to just go for it more. I can understand the trepidation with an ankle injury, as with joints it’s possible to do permanent damage. Not necessarily from unicycling, but from any activity.

But to not be active is to not live, either. Better to get out and experience things. Practice dismounting. Practice falling. If you know how to do it, you can fall all day and not be hurt.

Also you could look into a pair of Active Ankles. I haven’t used them myself, but I know many top riders who like them for riding on ankle-breaking terrain. Search on that name.

I just spent a year off after having twisted my knee wheel-walking. It’ll be a long while before I wheel-walk again, but I’ve worked my way back into riding, idling, some seat-in-front, and some one-footed stuff. So my advice is just to ride simple stuff and don’t worry about pushing too hard. It’s better to just ride. The rest will come with time.

Very sorry to hear about your ankle.

Some years ago, I had a nasty fall on the street that took the wind out of my sails. It was difficult afterward to have the same ease when spinning the wheel. I was stiff and “over” correcting every move. I seriously considered giving-up unicycling.

Then, I came across an interesting psychological article. It stated that the subconscious mind can’t differentiate between an actual event and an imagined one.
In one case study, there were two groups of below-average basketball players. One group practiced free-throws two hours every day. The other group practiced only intermittently (1-2 hours per week), but visualized (with feeling) the act of throwing the ball into the net for 1 hour every day. The results astounded even the researchers. The group that spent time visualizing produced a far better improvement rate then the group who practiced daily.

I tried this for a week. Sat down in a chair, closed my eyes and visualized a local ride - going through all the motions from free-mounting and riding by the familiar scenes, to the end of the ride (back at my house). After the week, not only was I free of the fear, but my riding was more fluid and graceful. For me…it helped. :slight_smile:

Cheers for all the encouragement, although I’m not so sure I should be pleased to hear that I sound 30+ when I’m only 22-just equipped with a rather acute fear of breaking myself.

But I’ve taken it all on board. Now I know all I’ve got to do is chill out, keep going, sit in a darkened room and visualise a successful lap around the Asda car park, do some serious research into kitting myself out with some decent head to toe padding, scribble it all down on a piece of paper and slip it cunningly into the hands of my unwitting parents, just in time for my birthday. Cha-ching.

My next two questions are:

  1. Will wobbling my way around a hockey pitch with a bunch of randoms hefting big sticks at me really improve my confidence?
  2. How exactly do you learn to fall? Cause whenever it happens to me, it’s kind of all over and done with before I have much say in the matter.

Thanks again!

Re: Tricks for regaining confidence?

On Tue, 14 Jun 2005, Clurb wrote:

> 1. Will wobbling my way around a hockey pitch with a bunch of randoms
> hefting big sticks at me really improve my confidence?

Actually, now you mention it - yes!

When I was first learning, I had a few games of hockey. I don’t play so
much now, because it’s not really my thing. However, it helped a lot

  1. You’re concentrating on getting to the ball, and not worrying too much
    about your riding - you surprise yourself sometime with a maneouvre you
    didn’t think you could do.

  2. You have a stick to stabilise yourself. VERY handy.

It’s worth a go, if just to see if you like it!




I feel for u cause i did a total nose dive. I hit the ground so hard and i bounced like half a foot in the air after I hit the ground. Im pretty sure i blacked out cause i don’t rember after just leaning forwards and I woke up lying on the ground and I had like a big sploch of blood in my shorts. And the other day I was doing a jump mount and I missed the pedal one of my feet and it slid down the front of my pedal and the pegs ripped up my calf. So I someone could post some like easy tricks that I could do cause Im a little timmid right now. Something easy and impressive?


Definitely! My 7 year old daughter is a very nervous rider, she can free mount in our lounge, but not outside on smooth tarmac & rarely in a sports hall. She has the same fear of hurting herself outside as you, her younger brother is much more confident, and she is slowly getting over it.

Back to hockey both of them have now played in adult hockey matches at UniMeets & (scarily) the late night BUC hockey match after the show & beer! Although they haven’t realised it, hockey is probably one of the best ways of improving general riding and confidence, purely because you forget the riding and concentrate on helping your team win.

I had a similar problem in February this year, I couldn’t stay on the Coker when a car was passing me. With perservence I got over it and completed a 66mile ride at the weekend.


Yes, as already described. It works with other games as well, but you’re lucky to have a hockey game locally. Though we sometimes have a bit of a team here, otherwise I’d have to go over 1000 miles to find one.

Falling takes time. There’s a process to it. You can make choices about how you’re going to land as you’re on your way down. For example. Should I put my hand out in front of me, or take the landing on my nose?

The first part is knowing when you’re going down. As you get better as a rider, you’ll be able to recove from much of this, but even in that process you will know when you can’t get out of it.

One you realize you’re going down, focus your body to the task. Most of the time you’ll be able to land on your feet, with more practice. Until then, concentrate on making sure your feet don’t do more harm than good.

Never take the bottom foot off the pedal; always the high one. The foot on the pedal will tend to head for the bottom of the stroke. Take off the bottom foot and your wheel is going at least half a revolution. Do you know which direction that will be? Keep the bottom foot on and use the top foot to catch yourself.

Get away from the cycle and pedals. Avoid the foot-in-spokes or between crank and frame.

Roll with the punch. If your body is going down, try not to just stop when you hit. Sometimes rolling reduces the impact (just like rolling out of a drop when riding). This is especially true if you’re riding fast at the tim. Tuck and roll. Otherwise you can get nasty scrapes on your knees, hands, and worse.

If you practice falling down, your body will know how to dot it whenever needed. What seems like reflexes to some will be trained reactions for you. You won’t roll because you were lucky, you’ll do it because you used that half-second of time to decide how to best meet the ground.

And wear some pads. Even if you never land on them, they’ll make you feel better!

You’re not going to like this:




Plus wristguards, or gloves, a helmet, and whatever other areas you think need cover. You’ll be amazed at how your confidence improves!

During my early years of riding, I fell on my hands and knees a lot. When I started practicing for my first unicycle competition, I bought myself a pair of skateboard gloves and some volleyball-type kneepads. I never fell when I was wearing them. I didn’t wear them all the time, so I still managed to fall plenty when they weren’t on. But wearing them always seemed to protect me.

Re: Tricks for regaining confidence?

Hi Claire,

> My next two questions are:
> 1. Will wobbling my way around a hockey pitch with a bunch of randoms
> hefting big sticks at me really improve my confidence?

Absolutely. It’ll help your riding no end because you’re reacting to the
ball rather than what you want to do. You’ll end up falling off lots
(more like stepping off) as the ball goes past and you try and turn and
all that malarkey.

Just choose who you play against. At Derby we’ve all played quite a lot
now. Rosie came to play once, you could ask her what we’re like :slight_smile:

You might be better off at a unimeet because they do beginner hockey
games. Not that you shouldn’t come to Derby - we’d be more than happy to
have you come play.

On a related note, we are running a hockey tournament on the 2nd of July



!!! :astonished: :astonished: :astonished:

by wearing padding you’re going through the process of homeostasis. the protection makes you feel safe you so do more dangerous stuff that you wouldn’t do normally.

Re: Re: Tricks for regaining confidence?

I think whilst we’ve played a fair bit at Derby now, there’s still a good range of skill levels from relative beginner up to pretty okay. It’s also not a very competitive game, so you tend to not get hurt.

I started playing hockey when I could ride allright, but wasn’t that good at doing things like riding backwards, turning etc. and I found it really improved that. I’ve seen a few people come along to hockey as pretty much complete beginners who improved their riding really quickly by playing hockey.