At one level, that picture alone is enough to make me think I’ll never be a good unicyclist. Wow!
I can’t recall the source of the quotation but: “The amateur practises until he can get it right; the professional practises until he can’t get it wrong.”
Anybody performing at the level shown in the picture is in a hugely different league from most (if not all) of us in this forum. And they’re thinking about more, and doing more, with every move they make.
By comparison: when I started to learn fencing, there were two things to think about in the lunge: arms goes straight, then the legs do their bit.
Later, there were extra bits to think about: the arm goes out as the back foot hits the floor; the sword hand turns over; the leading foot stays in line…
And now there’s the diffence between the accelerating lunge and the explosive lunge; the step lunge, and so on. In a few months, I may have extended my list of 2 things to concentrate on, to 20 things, just for that one movement. But I’ll be doing the first 15 things on the list ‘automatically’, only needing to revisit them in practise occasionally to prevent sloppiness creeping in.
The same could be said of the basic ‘double step’ in Morris dancing, or approaching a junction on a motorcycle, or playing a musical instrument…
So anyone performing professionally on a unicycle is almost certainly practising and refining details that you and I wouldn’t even know were there to be practised and refined!
I suspect for most MUniists, it’s (almost) enough to ride the trail at a reasonable speed with no UPDs; for most trialsists, it’s perhaps enough to make the gap or the drop without falling off; for beginning freestylers, the mere fact of idling one footed is an achievement, and so on. How many MUniists try to ride the same trail better, rather than finding a harder trail instead? How many trialsists keep perfecting one particular gap, rather than looking for wider and higher gaps? And so on…
But the professional would want every detail to be perfect. In MUNi terms: to ride the trail by exactly the chosen route, reading the trail a long way ahead, and never having a ‘nearly moment’; in trials terms: making the gap or drop and landing EXACTLY where you planned, in perfect balance, every time; in freestyle terms: making the perfect transition between skills every time, and always doing exactly the right number of pedal strokes, and never having to change the routine by even a stroke; and so on.
And I would guess that, just as a classically trained musician can bang out a folk melody or a jazz standard, but a jazz musician or folk fiddler couldn’t just play classical without lots of practising (if at all!), unicyclists of the standard described could transfer their skills fairly rapidly and successfully to any other Uni discipline. Perfection in one discipline, and the control of mind and body that that engenders, would be a passport to success in MUni, trials, and so on.
Perhaps they’d only every be brilliant in one discipline, but they’d be damn’ good in the others.
Was that a bit of a rant? Sorry. :0