Unicycling and Psychology

As im sure most of you know, unicycling has many psychologically testing elements, from hopping to skinnies to whatever else any of you find challenging.

the thing i have been pondering is to do with hopping, and more specifically, high jump contests with a bar. now we all know that hopping onto something is psychologically much easier than having to hop and ‘clear’ the bar with not just the tyre, but the rest of the unicycle and yourself too.

I wondered, that if during a high jump contest (i have yet to participate in one, but in a few weeks i will know) would it be easier to clear just a bar, or if you were to say hang down a piece of cloth that drapes over the bar and down to the ground, giving the illusion of a solid wall, would it be easier?. I myself think that this would be slightly easier, due to some psychological factor whereby you are fooling the brain into thinking that the bar with cloth is less intimidating than the bar without(i study psyc, but i have no idea what its called) that would make a bar seem higher.

does this make any sense? what do other people think of this theory?

Starting to think up tactics for the uni weekend I see…

I think that the cloth probably would give the illusion of a solid wall, thus making it easier. If you try it I think I might as well :smiley:

Theories are great things for stuff you can’t acutally test, like what stars are made of. For something like jumping over a bar, you might want to try doing it first, then develop some theories.

I haven’t tried it with the cloth on there, but I don’t think it would be too different. The key thing in High Jump is to not touch the bar, which you have to do whether it’s solid or not.

I’m gonna have to stand here and say what I believe. I believe it wouldn’t help at all.

Reasons? You still have to clear the bar. The thing that make hopping over a bar psychologically harder is the fact that you can’t just get your tyre to the top, maybe get away lucky if it just grips at the very side. You have to clear it with your crank and pedal and you and… yeah, you get the idea. So I believe the cloth will not eliminate this problem.

What could eliminate it is hopping onto a wall. Anyone want to make a metal frame capable of change height by centimetres at a time which can support some pallettes and stuff?

Psychologically I find hopping over a bar easier than hopping onto a solid object.

The thing about psychological stuff is that it’s what’s in your mind that’s important not what’s really there and, if your mind perceives the bar as something different, you will react differently, even if you know it’s something else. Therefore I think that it would make a difference, but what difference it would be can only be found by experimentation. It’s possible that the wall would be easier if there were a picture of the stick with nothing under it on the wall than the stick being easier with the illusion of a wall.

Also, what would be the result of using a Plexiglas wall, with and without a stick at the top? Or with the stick half way up? You would know that there’s a wall but see no wall. Of course it would need to be polished on the edges.

It’s easy when you realize that there is no spoon – or wall.

okay fair enough, you all have some good reasons, i was just curious, thats all.

andrew, you say you find over a bar easier? i tend to finy myself more apprehensive before clearing something like a bar, onto an object is in my opinion easier, but thats just me

I think Im exactly the same way.

It is physically easier to jump onto an object than to clear it without touching. That’s the easy part…

Somebody mentioned making it a wall instead of clearing a bar. The reason we do it the way we do, and call it High Jump, is because it’s a known track & field/Olympic event. You mention High Jump and everyone pretty much knows what you’re talking about. And it goes great with the Long Jump.

But jumping onto a platform or wall could be a different competition, which would have better real-world application. The hard part, of course, would be making the apparatus both strong enough, and adjustable. Plus bringing it to each competition.

I think a height adjustable platform would be quite easy to make. Just a reinforced plywood platform of whatever dimensions are desired with 4 bottle jacks on each corner to adust height. I realise that they dont have the required height but that chan be made up of 2x6 packing under the jacks. it would also be easily transportable as there is not real large structure to move (other than the platform itself).

I think the majority of riders feel the same as you. For me it’s not a matter of being afraid of hurting myself if I don’t make the height but I really don’t know why hopping onto a high object intimidates me. Actually, come to think of it I’m fine with hopping high onto a curved surface (ie, big logs, etc.)…I don’t know, I’m just a bit odd that way.


I think the easiest thing for jumping onto something would be to simply have maybe 7 pallettes and some risers. You simply add a riser every time you want to increase the height. You start low, and each person gets 2 tries at each height as they raise it. Once everyone has gone, you increase the height. Or you could simply hole the entire competition at a gently upsloped wall ranging in height from ~16" to ~42".

As for the cloth, another advantage is it’ll give more if your pedal hits, saving people from some nasty falls. A disadvantage is that it’ll blow and move in any air currents.

just a teeny thing: John: Stars’ composition is something that has been accurately tested. I would replace what you said with something like “what goes on inside a black hole”. I do agree with you point, though.

I am sure that I have brought this up before.

A friend of mine can jump onto picnic tables without really trying, but in the high jump, he couldn’t clear 50cm to save his life.

another friend can high jump 75cm but he can’t jump onto a knee-high ledge.

what you can and can’t clear or jump onto, has alot to do with your mental perception of the object, your confidence, your comfort with the situation, and your technique. while physical strengnth seems to have less validity.

If I where you, I would try the cloth. Though for me, it is the top surface of an object that makes me think that an object will be easy to jump onto. I ignore everything but the top surface as I approach the object.


i shall endeavour to search out my point, onetrack. the new zealand unicycle weekend is but 2 weeks away, so we shall see