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Uni"psych"ling: It's all about attitude!

By Tammy Marsh

    Contrary to popular belief, unicycling does not take some special, innate, God-given talent. Anybody can do it - I'm proof of that. All you really need to learn to ride is the desire. If you really want to learn, practice and determination will get you there. With unicycling, I think you can see results of your effort quite quickly.

    I have had many people tell me, when they see me out riding around, "I could never do that!" Sure they could - but not with an attitude like that! Unicycling has less to do with physical ability and more to do with your state of mind. Riding a strange one-wheeld apparatus may LOOK impossible, but of course it's not.

    When my sister and I were teaching one of our friends how to ride, we started with having her ride between us and we all hung onto each other's shoulders. Later, we held onto elbows, then hands, and finally, she was able to ride by just touching one person with one fingertip. Oddly enough, when she tried to ride by herself, she fell! Of course she had the ability to ride, she just had to believe it. I call this the "psychological-Dumbo-feather effect."

    The same idea holds true after you have learned how to ride. Learning a new trick is, for me, mainly a matter of being brave enough to try it. So far I have been able to learn everything I've set my mind to - going backwards, riding down curbs, riding on my stomach, riding one-footed, doing the suicide mount, etc. At first, I would always fall when riding off a curb, simply because I did not think I could do it. If you tell yourself you will make it before riding off it, you most likely will. If not, try it again.

    Another example is riding over railroad tracks: We have these really bumpy and scary-looking railroad tracks by our house, and the first time I tried to ride over them, I didn't make it. But I realized that they weren't as bad as I had imagined them to be, and the next time I rode over them fine. 'Mind over matter' makes a big difference.

    Current challenges for me include jumping UP curbs, going backwards one-footed, and new mounts. When I try these things, I psyche myself out and don't make it. I just have to keep telling myself it can't be THAT difficult. It's a matter of being brave enough to try and keep trying!

Comments? E-mail me!