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How To Improve Reflexes

Having good reflexes is essential in go-kart racing. From the moment the lights go out and carnage ensues on the first lap, all the way up until the checkered flag waves. The ability to quickly react to your surroundings and acting accordingly requires good reflexes. And just like our muscles, reflexes need to be trained as well. With that, here are five ways to test and improve your reflexes.

Part I: Tennis Ball Drills


Tennis Ball Drops
tennis ball drops

The first exercise of this tennis ball trilogy is the well-known Tennis Ball Drops. Almost every driver does this from the first rung of the motorsport ladder, all the way to its pinnacle, Formula 1.

The exercise involves a trainer holding two tennis balls, level to the face of the driver. From there, the trainer drops the tennis balls, with the goal being that the driver must be able to react quickly and catch the balls before they hit the ground. Chances are that while the driver’s reactions may be lightning fast, he/she struggles to catch the tennis balls. If this is the case, the driver can start with an easier variation. It involved the trainer counting down from three down to one. From there, the trainer will drop both tennis balls and the driver must catch them.

Once this is mastered, the exercise can be done with the more difficult variation. This time, the balls that will drop vary. It can be the left, it can be the right, or both can be dropped simultaneously. Therefore, the driver must be ready for all possible scenarios. On top of this, there will be a lack of a countdown, meaning the driver must be ready at all times.


Juggling
juggling

For a more casual and fun activity, juggling may be the right one for you. Despite being known as a fun hobby and a cool trick to show your friends, juggling also improves hand-eye coordination and reflexes. This is because similar to racing, being aware of ALL your surroundings is key to success.

One to three tennis balls are the usual amount of balls used for juggling, with the difficulty increasing the more tennis balls are used. It will definitely take some time to juggle even one ball, much less three. But make no mistake that juggling is a good activity that can help you pass the time as well as sharpen your senses.



Wall Ball Bounce
Wall Ball Bounce

For a more advanced drill, the wall ball bounce is a true test of not just reflexes, but also reaction time, hand-eye coordination, and being able to adapt to sudden changes around you.

There are two ways to do this exercise. First, which is the easier variation out of the two, sees the driver himself throwing the tennis ball at any direction within his/her peripheral. From there, once the ball bounces back, the driver must be able to catch the ball.

The second variation of this exercise involves two people, the driver and the trainer. The latter will position themselves behind the driver, with the driver still facing the wall just like in the previous variation. Then, all the driver will do now is be ready, because the trainer will now throw the tennis ball towards the wall at a random time, and the driver must be able to catch it.

Contrary to popular belief, while it may seem easy from the outside, the physics involved tells a different story. Aside from the direction in which the ball is thrown, there are many factors which can affect the final position of the tennis ball, making it difficult to anticipate, meaning that the driver must rely on their reflexes to be able to make the catch.

Part II: Reflex Training Devices

From Tennis ball drills we now move on to special reflex training devices that provide a unique experience for training and improving a driver’s reflexes. These come at a much higher asking price, but the price is very much worth it. Here are two of the best reflex training devices that are great for any racing driver.

BATAK Apparatus
BATAK Apparatus

This device, which is often attached to a wall, emits a light from any of the seven buttons. This is the more well-known of the two devices as videos of drivers using this for training are all over social media. The drill involves the driver pressing the buttons that light up as fast as possible. An important tip when doing this exercise is that the driver must assume a squat position as this can improve focus and reaction.

Despite the fun you can have with these, it does come at a hefty price. For $900-$1000 Australian dollars, you can rent one of these machines.

BlazePod
blaze pod

Last but not the least, we have the Blazepod. A more convenient version of the BATAK apparatus, the blazepod consists of 5 buttons (as shown in the photo) which can be adjusted to suit your reflex training needs.

Similar to the BATAK, reactionary drills are also done with the Blazepod, with the only difference being that the driver assumes a plank or push-up position to increase the difficulty of the drill.

But what separates Blazepod from the BATAK is that you can use this to practice pattern recognition. Drivers like Max Verstappen have used this drill on certain occasions. It involves the five buttons lighting up in a random order. And once the pattern has been played, the driver must then recreate the pattern.

Blazepods come at varying prices. But from our research, 4 pods come at the price of $450 Australian Dollars. Furthermore, when compared to the BATAK apparatus, the Blazepod is a better investment as it is cheaper, more convenient, and easily portable due to its small size.

And that concludes our article on reflex drills you can do to prepare yourself for on-track racing. In reality, this is only a fraction of what racing truly is. If you want to expand your knowledge on the world of karting and motorsports, then Kart Class has the right program for you.

At an affordable price, you will be under the guidance of 18-time Australian Kart champion David Sera who will teach you the ins and outs of racing through educational videos and hands-on guidance.

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