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Old 2003-01-11, 06:36 PM   #1
Catboy
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Teaching Kids how to ride.

At my church there is a boy (4yrs old) and he has fallen in love with unicycling. But untill now its been almost impossible to teach him because we only have 24"ers with pinned pedals and the whole lot. Well due to the fact that a boy down the street got a uni for Christmas and is much too large for it (16"er with 100mm seatpost) he's decided to sell it to us for 35 dollars. We havent showed Ross(the 4 yr old) the surprise yet but when we do we need to now how to teach such a small person to ride in words he'll understand and how to teach him proprely so it will be easy for him(compared to learning by himself) to learn to ride.

_any help would be good seeing as we've only tought older people.

-Eric
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Old 2003-01-11, 06:48 PM   #2
joe
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Hey.

Sorry but i aint got much of a clue when it comes to teachin kids. I learnt myself (aged 13, now nearly 15).

But.... when kids, (untill they learn about balance, physics etc) think that there is no reason why it isnt possible not to be able to ride it. This is the case at our unicycle club in stockton. There are quite a few kids who have learnt on the clubs unicycles (most of them now have there own off santa!), and they just get on and learn. Its quite amazing really!

Sorry i wasnt any help, but hey.
Good luck to Ross, (and you. I bet u get a bad back bending down the whole time holding his seat. LOL)

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Old 2003-01-11, 07:43 PM   #3
Jason Neumann
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Re: Teaching Kids how to ride.

Catboy wrote:

> We havent showed Ross(the 4 yr old) the
> surprise yet but when we do we need to now how to teach such a small
> person to ride in words he'll understand and how to teach him proprely
> so it will be easy for him(compared to learning by himself) to learn
> to ride.



Greetings,

My wife and I tought our 5 year old to ride last summer.He'll be the
first one to tell you that he loves to ride! Teaching him was not
difficult because he was so driven to learn but it was time consuming.
I'll have to check my old posts, but I think he learned somewhere in the
standard 15-20 hours in about two weeks. He practiced for an hour each
day and sometimes more.

We used the unicycle.com 'Intro.to Unicycling' videos's technique. This
is where you use a wooden backyard deck and wooden railing. The theory
here is that it's not so hard when you fall. During the first hour it
might look like it's going to be impossible. There's a good chance that
he will not be able to even sit on the uni much less pedal. By the end
of the hour, my son was able to "crawl" hand over hand along the railing
and after that he started going back and forth successfully but
awkwardly. We started encouraging him to pedal in half revs starting
with the pedals parallel to the ground. This is what the video referred
to as the "safety position". Shortly after that he started pedaling a
full rev at a time and relying less on the railing for assistance. We
started spotting him out in the street and at the park. We found that he
could only be spotted by one spotter and that he had a sweet side. He
needed his dominant hand for flailing to keep his balance.

Next we would "lightly" hold his hand. I held out my hand, palm up and
let him grab my finger. I encouraged him to let go of my finger when he
felt that he had his balance but I was always there for him in the
beginning (so as not to discourage him from letting go). After he
started to solo a few times, my wife and I would stand apart and
encourage him to ride to us. We would increase the distance over time
and eventually keep running backwards until he, "ran out of balance"
(his words). It's a lot like teaching a child how to walk. Later we
started playing what we called uni tag. We would have him try and catch
us. This involved darting around forcing him to turn to catch us. He
started riding like the winding during this phase.

The only important advice I can really give is to keep everything
positive. Children need constant feedback of how good they are doing and
they can spot insincerity a mile a way. Also, I hope he can fit the Uni.
My son was five when he learned and barely fit the uni. He had to wear
thick soled shoes in order to touch the pedals. Now his 16" uni fits him
great and we're going out to MUni in the snowy woods this afternoon!

Good luck and have fun! Ross will only learn to ride a unicycle once and
you have the unique opportunity to teach him how. Let us all now how
it's going.



Cheers,

Jason

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Old 2003-01-11, 10:02 PM   #4
Catboy
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Quote:
Cheers, Jason
Ive taken alot of mental notes and I know for a fact that your strategy will work because that is how my dad taught me to swim. He would do the exact same thing like the swimming back from me till i got tired in the water, and now I am on the swim team at a local pool during the summer. Ill let you know the next sunday when we show him and start teaching. Thank you alot for all the help.

-Eric
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Old 2003-01-11, 10:12 PM   #5
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Teaching Ross

Catboy,

Here are a couple good threads:

Teaching the Kids http://www.unicyclist.com/forums/sho...threadid=21020

Teaching Tips paid off http://www.unicyclist.com/forums/sho...threadid=21059

Keep it fun! I got my 5 yr. old her uni last June, we had to cut the seat post so she could reach the pedals. She launched towards the end of July and passed level 1 a couple weeks after her 6th birthday in August.

Good Luck,
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Old 2003-01-12, 05:28 AM   #6
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We teach people in our club to unicycle using the Wall, or if we had one railing method. Then sometimes we use the hand support to help out in getting people comfertable from riding away from the wall. I find it also sometimes helps if people are having problems with the intial getting on and pedaling forward to tell them to use the wall with one hand and then their other hand goes on your shoulder and you grab the seat so that they can not fall. Anyone can ride a unicyle like that.

The youngest person we have taught in this way is probaby 17, but its how I learned and dozens of other people in our club have too. I dont see how kids whould be all that much different though, just smaller :-P

Chex
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Old 2003-01-12, 05:54 AM   #7
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I've found that each person is different. Some need the wall/fence, and can't use people. Some need people, and can't use the wall. Some use neither, and just go for it. So far I've tried to let each person choose their own method and just support them in that. I tell a lot of stories about how long it took me and how much patience it took; this seems to help people not get discouraged too easily.

I try to avoid micro-managing comments like "sit this way" or "put your weight on the seat" unless I know that it will help right away. The main thing is that the body has to learn for itself and a lot of mentally-overlayed motion and position intentions just make it harder. I do say not to curl up like a potato chip. But the primary thing I need to say is, "Let's try again. I don't mind." because often people are concerned that they are wasting your time if they don't get it right away (which, of course, they won't except for rare exceptions).
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Old 2003-01-12, 06:32 PM   #8
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hi

i learnt to ride at 14, without help really. My friend had a unicycle, and i would just try to ride it using the wall method, for an hour or so, then i just went for it. Didnt get very far, but i kept trying it, and i built up the distances, untill i could ride pretty comfortably. Within 3 hours i could ride quite comfortably, and get up and down kerbs. Then i just borrowed his unicycle for a week, and just practiced a bit more, and got better, could then ride a few hundred meters with no problems within a week (maybe an hour a day practice ) and on a 20inch freestyle uni. Now 15 and looking to get my own muni soon
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Old 2013-07-30, 01:23 AM   #9
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My 7 year old rode 5 pedal revs tonight unassisted. He was inspired by Nationals in PA this past week.

He's 4'2", 23" inseam. He has learned thus far on his 16". I think he will fit my wife's 20" when I cut the seat post, with it all the way down.

Do you think I should move him to the 20" now? I have heard it's harder to learn on a 16" which kind of makes sense. The wheel is probably more unstable than a 20" for little bumps and such.
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Old 2013-07-30, 01:28 AM   #10
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http://www.justonewheel.com/2013/02/...de-a-unicycle/

look up Adam at JustOneWheel. He's got THE device that's like training wheels for unicyclists!!!!!
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Old 2013-07-30, 02:15 PM   #11
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My question is more (for those with experience), given that my son could ride either a 16 or a 20 with the seat almost all the way down, which would be easier for him to learn on?

So far what I notice is he is more likely to ride well when he just pedals. Sometimes he seems to falter, and he's obviously is not up to stand-stills yet! My hunch is that the 20" will have more momentum and he will be more likely to just pedal the thing...
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Old 2013-07-30, 08:22 PM   #12
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I just started teaching people and have 4 people from 16 to 22 yrs old learning. I have 2 uni's that I teach them on one is a 20" nimbus gremlin and the other is a 24" torker DX. The DX is much heavier and slower to react, 3 of the 4 vastly prefer this uni. the one who likes the nimbus is 5' tall and much more timid, she likes the feeling of being closer to the ground.

While teaching these guys I've found that I need to be extra careful to keep my enthusiasium from leading me to over coach. I briefly go over some basics like foot position, weight on the saddle, and leaning forward. Then I just kind of let them go at it. I watch them closely and give encouraging comments with an occasional sneaky tip. Like " you got 3 revs there, a little more forward lean and you'll be getting 10 soon, or when they accidentally stall or idle, "that was cool did you feel yourself hit the balance spot?"

I think just being positive, noticing when they get something right, and throwing out a timely tip as they progress to the point where they can feel what your talking about is the most helpful. If they really get into they will start to ask questions about whats going on with their riding and have a feeling of being more in control of their own learning curve.

Just my 2 cents worth hope somebody finds something useful in it.
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Old 2013-07-30, 10:26 PM   #13
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Thanks for the advice. Nice tips.

However teaching a 7 year old is different than a 16 yo.

He is motivated to learn, but needs a little motivation push by me. In other words, I can tell he could do it relatively quickly and wants to learn, but needs me to say, now let's practice a little. I only go as long as he holds interest.

He was really inspired by other kids riding at the Nationals. Unfortunately, we don't have other kids in the area who can ride.
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Old 2013-07-31, 04:13 PM   #14
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In my experience, if a kid can ride on a 20" wheel that is where they should be. If they learned on a smaller wheel they will have less control for a few days but will soon forget about the smaller wheel. It helps that the higher level riders in our club all ride freestyle unicycles with 20" wheels, which motivates the younger riders to move toward the 20".

FYI: I tried learning on a 24" wheel and, although possible, was much less manueverable. Switching to a 20" wheel sped up my learning. Now I can ride any size.
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Old 2013-07-31, 04:32 PM   #15
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Well, I hacked off my wife's seat post from our club 20" yesterday afternoon and we tried it with my son. I felt like he's just a tad too small still. It seemed like he was reaching just a bit with his feet. So we moved back to the 16", which he clearly feels more comfortable on. I guess that resolves that. I expect (given how fast he grows) that in 6 months or less he will be ready to give the 20" a go. Hopefully by then he will be riding.

I am letting him hold on to me as long as he wants. He feels more and more comfortable, which I can tell because it's less and less work for me to hold him up. He is doing most of the work. Should I just keep doing this, and soon he will just want to let go more and more? We don't have a great wall for him to work against in the immediate vicinity.
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