As a professional driver, it's no surprise that karting was my entry point. I began karting just before I turned 8-years-old, and I was extremely blessed to have a family that built and ran their own karting track on the western slope of Colorado in Grand Junction: Grand Junction Motor Speedway. With access to unlimited track time and a family who were passionate about racing, my karting career grew. I drove and won in almost every category of modern karting – Comer 50, Mini-Max, Junior Max, TAG Junior, Senior Max, TAG Senior, Stock Honda- S1, S2, Shifter Elite, Pro Shifter, DD2, and KZ2.
I'm so thankful for the success and experiences during my professional karting career. The lessons I learned in karting built the foundation of who I am as a driver today and helped me in how I approach coaching many aspiring karters and car racers.
I'm going to share with you how I became a top karter- but also how I would have done it better! We all have things we would change in hindsight of our experiences. I hope these tips will help you be one step ahead in your development or give you a place to start if you're just breaking into it.
Learn How You Learn
Life spoiler alert, kids – learning never stops! I know you were banking on being done with it after you graduate school, but it doesn't – and that's a great thing! Learning allows us to grow and find better ways to harness success. No Learning = no Growing = no Change. What a boring life that would be! If you're reading this article and interested in racing, I assume you're not the boring type, so buckle up and let's begin.
Types of learners include visual, auditory, kinesthetic, reading, and writing. So, for example, I'm a visual, kinesthetic, writing learner, but Bob Smith down the street might be an auditory, visual learner.
Why does this matter? Say Bob wants me to coach him in his driving. For one, I need to be able to communicate with him in a tailored way that aligns with his learning style. Secondly, Bob needs to know the best way he learns so that he can adapt any material given to him and absorb it effectively.
So, what type of learner are you?
Build a Solid Foundation
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." – Albert Einstein.
When you're just beginning, it's critical to learn the basics thoroughly and comprehend them. I cannot tell you how many drivers I've worked with that have been driving/racing for years and then come to me for coaching when they can't seem to overcome a performance plateau. One of my first questions is, "Do you know the basics of X, Y, Z?" If they can't give me a clear answer or simply don't know- guess what the first thing I teach them is? THE BASICS!
This oversight happens even to kids who grew up in the sport. But unfortunately, no one took the time to tell them why they do the things they do while driving and the correct way to execute those things. Which brings me to my next point…