Category Archives: Recreation Sports

Safe in the Batters Box?

Runners on second and third. The pitch is low and outside and passes the catcher. The scramble is on and the catcher recovers the ball quickly to find the third base runner half way to home plate. Catcher makes a throw to third as runner retreats only to have the ball bounce off the batters bat which is on his shoulder.

The hundred dollar question here is did the batter commit interference? There are several answers to this daunting question.

First, was the Batter still in the batters box?

The batter is not required to leave the batters box on a passed ball unless a teammate is attempting to steal a base, then the batter is required to move out of the defenses way. So, in part 1 of this play, the batter moved correctly and there is no interference.

Has the Batter moved out of the batters box?

In our scenario his teammate is attempting to steal home plate, but then retreats after the catcher recovers quickly. So, on the retreat is the batter to return to the batters box? No, the batter should stay where the ended up on the initial play of the passed ball and steal attempt.

Did the Batter move to serve an intentional purpose?

If it is obvious, which I believe would be difficult if not impossible to distinguish, that the batter aligned himself to force the defender to work around his position to make the throw to third. It is unlikely that this can be determined, but if so, then yes, it is interference.

Was the Batter responding to instructions from the Umpire?

Particularly in little league where players, bless their hearts, follow instructions from the Umpire without giving it a second thought, Umpires often give instructions as a good intentioned part of the learning process.

Unfortunately, any Umpire giving any instruction removes the player being instructed from any liability or penalty arising from that instruction. During the course of any game, Coaches are to instruct and Umpires are to rule on what the Players do.

If we change our scenario slightly, the runner at third has a good lead, but does not attempt to steal home plate and is walking back to the base with his back to the catcher.

With the Batter still in the batters box, there would be no interference as the Batter is protected by being in the box.

Should the Batter leave the box, then his has committed interference as there was no play at home plate and the Batter had no reason to leave the batters box.

If the Batter following the Umpires instructions, then there is no interference as the Umpire is interfering with the game.

Was the batter intentionally getting in the way of the defender, then yes, it would be interference.

What is most important to remember is that the call on the field is up to the Umpire. They can only call what they witness. To argue what they witness does nothing but waste time and frustration everyone.

What you can argue are the rules and how they are applied to an event the Umpire witnessed.

For a complete call, the Umpire must have taken note that the runner attempted to advance on the passed ball. This is the critical moment of the decision as it results in two significantly different decisions.

Players must also be aware of their responsibilities. In our fist scenario, as the runner made an attempt then the Batter moved correctly. The latter found the Batter at fault.

Mr. Dowdy is the father of 3 and after re-entering competitive baseball with his oldest frustration of finding suitable glove is what lead him to become an Official Distributor for NW Kelley USA Click now for a free catalog or sign up your e-mail for special offers.

You can also visit the Hirsch Group site more news/tips/articles on the subjects of baseball, construction, building codes and more that most will find a quick way to fall asleep. You can even stop by the Hirsch Group Blog for current events

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How To Develop A Strength Training Program To Run Faster!

Whether you are a sprinter, middle distance, or long distance runner, a properly executed strength training program will be the key to improving your running times.

If you’re a runner, you MUST strength train correctly. Running for distance, being aerobic in nature, will begin to break down good muscle tissue. You need a strength training program that will keep the muscle you have, and ultimately to build more muscle, that will carry over to faster running times.

Here are some tips to help you develop a strength training program exclusively for runners.

1. Emphasize Your Running Muscles

You should train all of your muscles thoroughly in any strength training program. The body works as a unit. Never neglect body parts, or favor other body parts simply because you like to train them. Give all of your muscles attention, but emphasize the ones that pertain to your sport the most. The running muscles, in order of importance are: Buttocks, Thighs, Calves, Shoulders, Chest, Back and Arms. When you design a full-body workout for running, try to work the muscles in this same order.

2. Train With Full-Body Workouts

Unless you’re a bodybuilder, you should train the full body with each workout. A bodybuilder who is trying to gain a lot of muscle would split their routine in order to work more thoroughly on each body part. An athlete should use strength training as a means to improve sports performance. A full body routine properly addresses the needs of an athlete.

3. Train the Tibialis Anterior

The tibialis anterior is the muscle on the front of the shin. By working on this muscle, you keep a balance with the calves ie. the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles. You need to keep opposing muscles in balance to maximize performance and minimize injuries. The tibialis anterior should also be developed to minimize shin splints. You can perform a foot flexion exercise to work on the T. A. muscle. If you’re serious about running and don’t have access to a foot flexion machine, I’d suggest you get one.

4. Emphasize Your Buttocks Exercise

If you were asked to name the fastest land animals, you might say a cheetah, or an ostrich. The interesting thing about these animals that run so fast, is that they have skinny legs, but very well developed hinds (buttocks). The same with humans. Any runner, sprinter, middle, or long distance, should emphasize exercises that work on the buttocks area. If you have access to a Reverse Hyperextension machine you can work the area directly, with complete safety. If you don’t have one, a barbell full squat with work just fine.

5. Strength Train More Intensely Than You Run

When you strength train for running, you must strive to perform a set until you can no longer complete another repetition in perfect form. Obviously, you don’t run until you drop. That would be counter-productive, and dangerous. Strength training is completely different and should be treated as such. By strength training a muscle to the point of momentary muscular failure, you set the stage for rapid strength gains in the muscle.

6. Strength Train Slowly To Run Faster

Any strength training exercise should be performed slowly and deliberately. This takes the momentum out of the exercise, and therefore maximizes the amount of muscle fibers that are stimulated. A proper cadence when strength training should be about 2 seconds to lift the weight (when you contract the muscle) and at least 4 seconds to lower the weight (lengthen the muscle).

7. Add Weight or Repetitions Whenever Possible

It is so important for runners to try to add weight to an exercise as often as possible, or keep the weight the same and add repetitions whenever possible. This forces the muscles to adapt by increasing in strength. Runners need to do this because the very nature of frequent long runs catabolizes muscle tissue. Strength training in a progressive fashion will help preserve muscle, and ideally, add more muscle and strength to run faster, longer.

Steve Preston is a Sports Performance Specialist in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He specializes in developing sport-specific strength training programs for athletes. He is available for phone consultations, and clinics. For more information go to http://www.sports-strength.com He has recently developed the Champion Strength Training for Runners DVD program. You can check it out at http://www.sports-strength.com/swimming.html

A Cultural Diffusion

In the past, there was only one time of nationality in the NBA ranks. We Americans were the only ones allowed to play in the NBA because the NBA is located where it is. Now, this is a totally different story. Players from around the world are given the chance to play for the league by playing well. A draft allows any player that is at least one year removed from high school to play. There is no discrimination that is used in picking the players. A well represented diverse team is the San Antonio Spurs. They have many players from different parts of the world, from Tony Parker to Tim Duncan.

Is the cultural diffusion that is occurring right now good for the league and everyone else? Without player intervention, there would be less following in the sport. People from China would not have a country hero to root for; people will not find the motivation to follow their hometown players. When people from other parts of the world see people from their country and nationality compete and thrive, it gives them an extra want. It also allows for equal opportunity for all and allows for fans to learn a little about other countries.

Without some of the foreign players who have thrived in the league, we would not see many of the stars we see today. Players like Yao Ming, Pau Gasol and Tim Duncan are all players outside of the United States. We will be used to people just from our place, our universities that it makes it boring. We get to see a totally new side to everything from just looking at how other people from other parts of the world operate.

The NBA is a global thing and should maintain what they have. With more foreign players, more countries will be represented until the NBA is like a community. The NBA needs to reach out to as much people as they can, in order to be successful.

NBA fan
By Jonathan T Chin

Kentucky Derby- Preview: “The Run for the Roses”

The countdown to the 2010 Kentucky Derby starts now with some of the favorite horses on list. While some people choose their horses by their names, numbers, or the color of the clothes of the riders, most people are collecting as much information as possible about the horses. Many also read the views of racing experts, since the reasons behind their views are usually better than a favorite color, even if you disagree with their choices. Much of the appeal of the Kentucky Derby and, of course, its growing attraction for international tourism, is that it is a classic.

This race has been celebrated each year since 1875, when the Churchill Downs was built. There are many who wait all year just to see the best horses in the country run, betting at least $ 100, and allowing their attention to run alongside the most exciting minutes of this sport. For the experts, four of the favorites on their list are Lookin at Lucky, Sidney’s Candy, Ice Box and Endorsement, who could surprise in the Derby since Eskendereya is out of the race due to an injury in one of his front legs.

On the one hand, Sidney’s Candy is without doubt one of the favorites to win this edition of the Kentucky Derby. His tremendous campaign in California led him to the Triple Crown with the label of favorite and silenced many of those who thought he was only good on synthetic track. His three last victories in the Santa Anita, San Felipe and San Vicente Derbies definitely placed him as one of the favorites to win the race. On the other hand, Lookin at Lucky, who is the two-year champion, remains the undisputed leader of a generation. This horse is trained by Bob Baffert and has been a favorite for his great speed and performance during the last two seasons; this year he has placed in 1st at the Rebel Stakes and 3rd in the Santa Anita Derby. Then comes Ice Box, who is one of the real closers of the bunch.

Trained by Nick Zito, Ice Box took his last triumph at the Florida Derby on March 20th. His efforts at the Gulfstream Park also earned him a reputation as a strong closer for the Kentucky Derby. Ice Box has won 3 of 7 starts and is in sixth place of the Derby’s graded stakes earnings list with $457,500.

Last comes Endorsement, who is trained by Shannon Ritter. Endorsement surprised during the preliminaries of the Derby 2010 at the Sunland Track, which is the second most important race and is used as preparation for the Kentucky Derby on May 1st. Ridden by Robby Albarado, Endorsement astonished the favorite Conveyance and won by three bodies.

With this victory, Endorsement won a place in the Kentucky Derby and left no doubts about his chances in the “Run for the Roses”. Before this victory he won at Oakland Park as well. Both Ice Box and Endorsement have proven their capability of beating solid fields and great opponents.

The 2010 Kentucky Derby will take place this Saturday May 1st at 6:14PM ET at Churchill Downs. We hope that this Kentucky Derby will prove as exciting for its bettors and followers as it is for us. Note: Breaking news, Endorsement is out of the Derby due to a leg fracture. About the Author Ally White is a top senior copy writer on Horse Racing and sports action for the sportsbetting www.instantactionsports.com/. Feel free to reprint this article in its entirety on your site, make sure to leave all links in place and do not modify any of the content. .

Go-cart Construction

For some the thrill of go carting begins before the actual ride. Kids and adults enjoy building their own go-carts for the self-satisfaction. Building a go cart is essentially a simple task because of the simplicity of most go cart designs. For decades taking on a go cart construction project has been a typical father-son bonding activity. It is also a hobby that is just plain fun for anyone, any age. Go carts are the perfect do-it-yourselfer because they are a complex machine that runs like a car, but not too complex where ordinary people cannot comprehend the construction.

These days it is not difficult to find the information you need to get started on building go carts. The internet has innumerable resources for all types and designs of go carts. The hardest part for you is choosing the design you want our homemade go cart to resemble. Perhaps the most helpful piece of knowledge for making that decision is to know what your uses of the go cart will be. You will most likely be choosing between a street cart or an off-road set of wheels.

Children looking to make a go cart with little or no adult help are fortunate enough to have easy access to blue prints and go cart kits, making the job easier. With a set of go cart plans to build off of you are made aware of all the necessary building materials and construction tools. Knowing these things prepares you to make a list and find all the equipment.

The beauty of building your own go cart is in the work and effort put into the construction and the pride that comes with the finished product. Little money is needed to build your own go cart, however, if you are in the market for a fancy, self-made set of cart wheels, there are more elaborate plans to follow. For kids building go carts with their parent or friends, or for adults who enjoy go cart construction as a hobby, most all building materials are scraps that can be picked up around the house or easily found other places.

An even easier way to build your own go cart is to buy a go cart building kit. Kits can be ordered online and they include every material you need to complete your own go cart, even the engine. Young kids are capable of completing a project themselves by following the guide included with go cart kits. The kits will be more expensive than using scrap materials, but you will probably have a sharper looking end product, although the quality or look of a go cart is not why all people build their own. Go cart kits are great for those who want to save time by not having to search for the building materials, but some people still prefer getting all done themselves, completely from scratch. The choice is yours.

Mitch Johnson is a successful freelance author that writes regularly for http://www.atv-parts-n-accessories.com/
, a site that focuses exclusively on atv reviews, as well as tips on choosing parts and accessories. His articles have also been featured on recreational automotive sites such as http://www.go-cart-plans-n-kits.com/ and http://www.best-scooters-n-mopeds.com/

Youth Football The First Week of Practice What Do You DO?

The First Week of Football Practice

For many youth football coaches they reserve the first week of practice for “conditioning” with no pads. For some this is a league rule, for others this is a traditional preference.

Why Many Do What they Do

For many youth football coaches, what they do in this first week has a lot to do with what they did as a kid when they played youth football or maybe how they practiced in High School 20 years ago. I know when I first started coaching I just used the same practice drills and approach I had used as a youth football player 25 years prior. We did all the things I had suffered through, monkey rolls, hills, crab drills, grass drills, firemens carrys, butt rolls, laps, pushup, sit-ups, squat thrusts, gassers, line drills, etc etc We were a team that was never going to be out-conditioned we were going to win that 4th quarter, blah blah bah.

Why We Changed

That all changed about 10 seasons ago after I had the pleasure of coaching with a former High School coach, Jay Smith that had coached at Canyon Springs High School in California. His teams had won two USA Today National Championships. This coach did things significantly different than most of us had been used to, no grass drills, no monkey rolls, no crab drills, no gassers, if it wasn’t football related he didn’t do it. This coach took a 2-8 team and turned them into a 10-0 team in one season in the most competitive division in the league I had teams in. While most of us were initially very skeptical of his methods, the results could not be argued with. He took the very same kids and had very different results than his predecessor using a totally different approach to football practice.

The Results

It made me examine everything we were doing. We looked at our practices to determine exactly how each and every drill or activity was helping us reach our goals. In the end we gutted about 80% of what we were doing in favor of an entirely different practice methodology that focused on developing football skills and youth football teams, not pushup or monkey roll champions. In the first year of going to this at the time revolutionary process, the aggregated winning percentage of the program went from the 30-40% area to 61%, in the following season it rose to 81% and our program won the “A” League Championship in all 3 age groups ( had never been done before or since), ages 8-10, 11-12 and 13-14. In addition, our “B” programs did extremely well also, with several division and League Championships to boot.

Your First Week Goals SHOULD be:

Consider doing things a bit differently this season if you are looking for different results than you’ve had in the past. These are our goals for the first week of no pads practice:

Evaluate players for positions and put them into the correct position on offense and defense that fits the players abilities and the teams needs best.

Teach the players how to interact properly with the coaching staff and other players. This is what many people refer to as learning how to be “coachable”.

Develop an enthusiasm within the kids for playing football and playing on our team.

Teach the fundamental building blocks of base blocking and tackling (yes without pads and without contact)

Teach the base numbering system and play calling system for the offense.

Teach proper stances and splits.

Teach the explosive first step and for the offensive linemen their explosive first 2 steps.

For backs (we determine who our backs are at the first practice), seating the ball and ball security. Learning proper body lean and accelerating through contact (dummy contact).

Teach the base defensive formation, the goals and base philosophy of the defense.

At the end of week 1 all players will be in their offensive and defensive positions, know what positions they are in and what it is called.

Key Concepts Used to Accomplish These Goals

Some of the things we do to make sure we accomplish these goals:
Keep all movements in the 6-7 second range with maximum effort. Allow 30-50 seconds (depending on strenuousness of movement) for recovery. For things like fit and freeze reps that require just a couple of steps there is no reason for going at a pace slower than 1 rep every 12 seconds for linemen. For first 2 step drills, you should be able to do a team rep every 6-10 seconds. The keys to this methodology is a very fast practice pace, no wasted time or movements, small groups, lots of technique perfecting form instruction/drills and lots of fit and freeze reps. To teach all the above we don’t have the time to set aside to do traditional conditioning. Like many Colleges and High School teams we condition withing the fast paced confines of our regular practice or within the context of a fun evaluation or team building game.

The first year we went to this methodology we were a bit nervous, we had always been conditioning fanatics. We were always going to win through better conditioning, but our results were mixed. Our first game using this methodology was Labor Day weekend 8 seasons ago and it was about 95 degrees out and about 80% humidity, it was a steam bath. We were really concerned about our kids being able to play 4 quarters of football in those kinds of conditions as we had not run a single gasser or lap in the 4 weeks leading up to this game. The end result was our kids won that first game in a blowout after leading by just 2 touchdowns at the half. As it turned out the team we beat ended up in 2nd place at seasons end behind my team. I might add we are a no-huddle team and the game goes that much faster for us and usually results in about 30% more offensive snaps in most games.

Kids Need More Conditioning? Really?

The thing that really impressed me from this game was what happened after it. Many of the boys on this team had older brothers playing in the following game, so the kids stuck around. What did these kids do after this game in 95 degree heat? The went behind the game field in the warm up area and were playing full speed touch football including kickoffs and punts on a 60 yard field. These kids weren’t sitting under a tree exhausted from the game, they were going all out for another 60 minutes, almost non-stop in 90 degree heat!

While our competition may be practicing 5 nights a week and conditioning their brains out, we are practicing just 3 nights a week and our kids were not only having fun, but they were learning the game.

The moral of this youth football story is to seriously consider everything you do in practice to see if there is anything that should be cut out so you can concentrate on developing great fundamentals as well as a love and appreciation for the game in your players.

All of these drills and games as well as daily minute by minute practice plans for your entire season are in the book “Winning Youth Football a Step by Step Plan” by Dave Cisar.

Dave Cisar-
Dave has a passion for developing youth coaches so they can in turn develop teams that are competitive and well organized. He is a Nike “Coach of the Year” Designate and speaks nationwide at Coaches Clinics. His book “Winning Youth Football a Step by Step Plan” was endorsed by Tom Osborne and Dave Rimington.

To See Dave Teams in Action or to Sign up for his free tips and drills newsletter go here: Football Plays

Cheapest mode of transport: Enjoy economical ride

Two-wheelers are considered to be the most efficient and cheapest mode of transport even on busy roads. Electric bicycle, Moped, bikes and scooters not only saves time but also reduces tension when it comes to parking. These small in size and easy to drive vehicles are light and compact as compared to cars. Therefore, in this increasing traffic and congested roads parking can be done in a little space anywhere. To save more money, two wheelers can now also be run on gas fuel, which offer its users the most economical mode of transportation.

Even those who owed cars are now more dependent on their two-wheelers which provides them better access in heavy traffic. These competent vehicles are swift and can be driven conveniently from place to place without any worry of high cost with gas propellant motors. Easy on the pocket and uncomplicated to operate, they turn to be the best cheapest mode of transport when it comes to parking. Unlike big cars they can be parked in small gaps and can also be serviced easily.

With such effectual features, two-wheelers are in more demand especially ebikes in India . To consume this stipulating demand, numbers of leading manufacturers like Yamaha, Honda, Tomos and many are inclined to provide their superlative, innovative, strylish two-wheelers in cost-effective range and even in different color patterns. These motor vehicles are suitable for those with limited budget to enjoy inexpensive long rides.

For daily commuters they are perfect mode to travel to nearby market or any other place. No matter, whatever may be the need; this surely comes to be an ideal choice for those looking for budget oriented personal transport. With principle manufacturer brands one can simply add style in restricted budget as well.

Small in size and easy to drive vehicles are light and compact as compared to cars. These competent vehicles are swift and can be drive conveniently from place to place without any worry of high cost with gas propellant motors.

Naman writes about the cheapest mode of transports available and about different transportation facilities available worldwide. For more information plz visit at www.ebikeindia.in

The Responsibilities of Owning an Airsoft Gun Go Beyond Safety

Whether you like informal skirmishes in woodland areas or are involved in major role playing at organized sites, Airsoft guns allow for relatively safe combat play. Owning one, however, comes with a lot of responsibilities that go far beyond simply taking proper care of your firearm and playing by the rules when you’re actually using it.

One of the most important things you can do as a gun owner is educate others who might not be familiar with its uses. There is a great deal of controversy surrounding combat play and the guns used, especially in the United States. Many people who have never participated in a game or fired a gun don’t understand what all the fuss is about. They may assume you’re interested in them in order to cause trouble or intimidate others, which could not be farther from the truth.

Explain to people your interest in group combat play, teamwork on the field and how skirmishing and military simulations are organized. Stress the importance of playing by the rules and that combat play is actually very controlled. It is important to stress that there are no physical confrontations permitted and strict rules for safety are enforced. When others hear about the excitement of woodlands skirmishing and closed quarters strategic battles, many are intrigued enough to give it a try themselves.

It’s also essential to teach others about the differences between an airsoft gun and a standard gun. Most people are afraid of simulation guns because they think these weapons will do serious harm. Like any weapon they can cause injuries if used improperly, but they aren’t deadly. As a matter of fact, if handled appropriately, they are no more dangerous than a paintball gun or BB gun. Take the time to show anyone with questions the small pellet ammunition and explain the lower firing velocity compared to a real weapon. Also reassure them that safety gear is worn at all times to protect participants during combat play. Finally, let them know that you would never use your gun for anything other than the intended purpose, which combat play or, occasionally, target shooting in the property environment.

Another responsibility for every gun owner is proper respect of the gun. Being an irresponsible gun owner can be just as dangerous as being an irresponsible standard gun owner. While you may not be able to shoot and kill someone across the street with your airsoft gun, a toddler who gets his hands on a loaded gun could certainly injure himself with it. Don’t ever leave your gun out where others can get their hands on it. When not in use it should be in its case and on a shelf out of reach of children. It is important to always leave your gun unloaded when not in use.

Keep in mind just how realistic an airsoft gun looks and treat it with as much care as a standard gun. It’s certainly part of the appeal, but it can also frighten people and confuse law enforcement officials. You always must respect others while transporting your gun. Don’t ever have it loose in your car or carry it with you. If it is mistaken for a concealed weapon or unlicensed firearm there is a possibility you could get into a difficult situation. Others might be wary if they are unfamiliar and it would certainly make others look down upon its uses. Don’t ever remove the orange marker on the tip of your gun. In the United States this is illegal and can lead to criminal charges. Its main purpose is to notify others that this is not a standard weapon.

Remember, an airsoft gun is meant for recreational use. Treat it and others with the respect it deserves.

Andy West is a writer for Trinity Airsoft which specializes in the manufacture and distribution of gas pistols and other automatic electric guns like an airsoft gun
. For more information please visit TrinityAirsoft.com.

Couples Bodybuilding: A New Trend?

Couples bodybuilding? Sounds like a concept for a new reality show, but bodybuilding as a couple has many advantages to it, aside from the obvious health benefits. One of the motivations bodybuilders typically have is attaining goals. Psychology Today notes that competition is among the top motivating factors in sports. Having something to strive for or fighting to achieve a goal before someone else can provide an added incentive.

Most bodybuilders will tell you that personal goals and personal satisfaction are some of their main reasons for seriously pursuing bodybuilding. When you add a partner to the mix, you now have someone to push you and share your triumphs and failures and point out areas that need improvements.

If you are starting bodybuilding together as a couple, you will soon discover that it is more than just weight training and building muscle and reducing body fat. It is also a lifestyle change that involves developing a routine to maintain progress that has already been made, while concentrating on specific areas that need improvement as well as a focus on the correct nutrition to properly gain and maintain the muscle that you build.

Bodybuilding as a couple has many benefits. These include sharing a common interest, safety (having someone to spot you during workouts or warn you if you are pushing yourself too hard) and encouragement (in relation to bodybuilding it is often easier for someone else to notice your progress before you do or encourage you if you get frustrated along the way).

Pride in what each partner accomplishes and what you accomplish together is another incentive of bodybuilding as a couple. It also helps form a deeper bond as you not only share in the joy of accomplishment, but endure the same frustrations while working to attain a goal.

After developing a steady routine, the concept of bodybuilding as a couple can continue into the competition phase of the sport. Training for a bodybuilding contest can be grueling, it can also be alienating for a partner who does not share your love of bodybuilding. While there will be differences in bodybuilding competitions for men and women, the basic goals are similar and so are the workout and diet routines.

Even couples at different stages of bodybuilding can benefit from each other. At first it may seem like you are playing catch up if one partner is more experienced than the other, but eventually things will even out as you share nutrition, weight-training strategies and even work on pose routines. Bodybuilding with a loved one also helps avoid off-season weight gain.

Part of the thrill of bodybuilding is attaining goals, doing so with a partner can lead to some creative rewards. These may include a special dinner where calories and fat content do not have to be monitoring for once or a relaxing massage after a hard day of working out and training or having your partner do a private pose routine just for you.

Benefits Of Couples Bodybuilding

• Shared interest
• Additional motivation
• More incentive to reach goals

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Go Karts – Becoming a Racing Enthusiast

Imagine – ripping your torso as you hit a curve launching your sprint kart down the circuit. Pressing on the accelerator as you exercise dead-on hand-and-eye coordination determining the smartest way to turn the drift in the 21st minute of an hour-long enduro race. Or perhaps be a spectator – routing for the likes of Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher as they race neck-and-neck on the last lap. Guess what – you are breathing and witnessing (even smelling the distinctive aroma of clay dirt on the dirt track) the atmosphere that comes with go-kart racing.

Developed in the 1950?s by pilots with a zest for tinkering with motorcycle engines to propel simple frames, go-karting extended internationally after the construction of the first go-kart by Art Ingels in Pasadena. Before dwelling on it’s mass European appeal and discussing the pinnacle of Formula 1 racing, let’s backtrack for a second. Riding go-karts (or karting) is the best way to break into professional racing. It is the simplest means of exploding your chassis down the track before getting into the sophisticated arena of professional racing. Single cylinder engines, basic chassis models, and lack of speed producing components provide go-kart racing with the air of simplicity, geared towards beginners and novices.

The concept of sprint karting comes to our mind when we think of the prototypical kart & track in amusement parks, recreational areas, and arcade palaces. Impeccable karts with sleek designs and sturdy frames rip through on short tracks, usually made from asphalt or concrete – ranging from half a mile to a mile in length. Sprint karting is divided into classes (think boxing middleweights and welterweights) that distinguish engine-types (two-and four-cycle), driver (classified according to age and weight), brand of kart (Yamaha and Honda are popular choices), and specifications. No carbon-fiber made frames and McLarens built with lightweight materials here! Sprint karting is a simplified, scaled-down form of professional go-kart racing with shorter tracks, downgraded technology, less experienced drivers, and downgraded components across the board.

Other forms of karting include enduro racing. Endurance racing, or “enduro” for short is a prolonged version of sprint. Propelled by aerodynamical butterfly steering, enduro karts are an upgrade over sprint karts – participating in races lasting an hour or more. Dirt, oval tracks is the staple of endurance racing and is more prevalent in the Midwest than anywhere else. Because of the long racing period, special emphasis is paid to durable karts and pit stop maintenance than focusing on just speed. In runner’s terms, enduro is a marathon – not a sprint. If you sacrifice chassis and tire maintenance for speed throughout the course of a race, reaching the finish line is out of the question.

Behind every successful sprint car are its well-performing components, specifically its frame, engine, and tires. The dynamics of a go-kart is two-fold: to be built to withstand the rigors of racing and to serve as the backbone for speed. Usually made of steel, frames have the option of being flexible or not. Flexible frames mean easier maneuvering along the track, especially when turning as to maintain good “side bite” and control of the kart. Because non-professional go-karts have no sophisticated traction and suspension system to withstand bumps, frames are usually subject to more punishment. Sprint kart tires usually do not have indented grooves, as they are soft in nature and more suited to all-terrain.

900 BHP horsepower engines are the norm for souped-up Honda Formula One karts. Capable of reaching speeds of 200+ mph, they represent the all-out nature of karting technology. For the novices, a simple 2-cycle engine will do! Running on gasoline and electricity instead of petrol (typically mixed with other fuels to suit environmental conditions for Formula One, ) sprint karts run on either 2-cycle or 4-cycle engines. 4-cycle engines are the weakest engine around, with horsepower topping 20 HP. Think of the power needed to run a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner – that’s how much power a 4-cycle engine exerts. 2-cycle engines are typically associated with the likes of Vespas (European motor scooters) and mopeds. These go up to 90 HP. Added cylinders (individual horsepower generators in go-karts) can boost horsepower, adding pure speed & power to your machine. Perhaps 10-cylinder Formula One kart engines and its incredible capabilities ring bells to you now!

Want pinpoint control over the speed of your go-kart? No problem here! Go-karts have basic transmission systems with gears that control speed to its desired amount. Coming with clutches, shifter karts (a popular type of sprint kart that allows you to move at a certain amount of speeds) make the best use of engine power when zipping along a straight path or maneuvering over the short or wide curve. Depending on the amount of cylinders and engine, shifter enthusiasts can lay opponents in their dust blazing trails up to 90 mph. Shifters usually run on larger road courses known as road racing. It is flush in structure with qualification criteria like class of kart, weight of driver, etc. Honda, Kawasaki, and Yamaha are popular suppliers of engines. These companies are at the forefront of karting technology, regularly tinkering with what’s already available or creating new concepts of their own.

Sprint karting opportunities are available to everyone. If you want to enjoy it as a form of recreation instead of competition, visit your local track and rent a kart! Make sure to sign any insurance waivers and become acquainted with the rules and regulations! If you like to compete, inquire from within. Sprint karting is one of the least expensive sports out there. People from all walks of life and all economic backgrounds can drive a kart, or even purchase their own with a powerful engine. There are many karting schools available all over the nation that will let you ride their karts for a nominal fee. In essence, karting is more than a pastime. It is a bonafide sport capable of preparing you for more advanced karting by helping you shape your judgment, hand-eye coordination abilities, and technological/dynamical know-how of the instruments you’re using.

Michael Walker is a freelance author providing information about a variety of go-kart topics including go kart kits
, go kart frames and go kart engines
. His articles prove to be both a useful and entertaining resource of valuable information for the karting enthusiast.