The Mario Kart Training Paradigm

Mario Kart

The Mario Kart Training Paradigm.

If you’re a 90’s kid like me, you probably know the game of Mario Kart all too well. Thinking about skating around on the slick surfaces of Rainbow Road trying to avoid all the Chain Chomps still gets me excited/anxious. Also, If you’ve played Mario Kart then you know that each character has their own specific sets of skills/attributes. If you haven’t played Mario Kart, figure your shit out my friend. Anyways, when we’re looking at these different skills/ attributes there are categories like: acceleration, top speed, strength, etc. It just so happens that the namesake character is the most balanced of all the options. And while other characters have certain advantages on certain tracks, as a whole, Mario has the biggest advantage on multi-track events. 

This exact concept is how we should be training our combat athletes out of camp. We want them to be the best generalist possible, because we don’t have a face for the dart board yet. We don’t know if we’re fighting a rangey Karate guy or a muscle hamster wrestler. So the best plan of attack is to raise up our own athletes’ skill floors to make them as balanced as possible. What this looks like is fixing deficits in a fighters skill set and working on weight class specific qualities. If we know our athlete is lacking leg strength compared to their weight, we boost that. If we know that at bantamweight aerobic capacity is a key indicator of success, we sprinkle that in. We want to make them Mario! Raise those lower stat bars to make them as even as possible so they are ready for any race that gets thrown at them. 

Then when there’s another name on the dotted line, we can start bumping up those stat bars that we know are tailored to this fight. Need more speed for this guy? Start turning him into Yoshi. Heavy grappling approach and need some strength? Bam! We’re turning you into Donkey Kong. In camp it’s all about specificity and making the athlete the best version of themselves in the context of the game plan. This requires open and honest communication from coaches on the skill side and the strength side in order to come up with a comprehensive game plan for the athletes performance. The less you talk, the less chance you have of having a specific impact.

So to sum up, out of camp we’re looking to lift the floors of deficient skills to be as balanced as possible. In Camp, we’re looking to raise those ceilings that give us the advantage for this particular match up. 

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