Karting can appear to be an individual sport from the outside – in some cases it can be – but for the majority of cases there is a form of team behind each driver. These teams come in all shapes and sizes from Mum and Dad to a professional race team, with this comes the ever increasing importance of clear communication. With the amount of time, effort and money that goes into racing, stress levels are naturally high. Without strong communication, friction can be caused and a driver may not necessarily achieve their full potential.
Before approaching a karting event there are a number of factors that should be thought about:
There is one fundamentally important fact that a driver and their team will often forget; they are all there for the same thing, to achieve the best possible position that they can. Whether it’s the driver themselves, their mechanic, their team boss or their supporters, they are there to finish as high up the results sheet that they can. Arguing over silly things wastes time, time that could be better spent moving forward. When things aren’t going the desired way, teams must work together. Just like anything in life their will be differences of opinions, but these must be discussed rather than argued. Each team member’s opinion should be respected and considered, with the one main objective in mind.
Language and understanding Karting from the outside can be incredibly difficult to understand simply because of the language. Anyone involved in karting will be able to relate to a Monday after a race weekend. When someone deprived of they joys of karting asks how their weekend of racing went, followed swiftly by the blank look as they are told about how they struggled with ‘bogging’ in the final, or how the driver wasn’t ‘jacking the kart up’ properly. The simple fact is that there a huge number of ways the people around the paddocks, across the country, will use different language to explain what they think the kart is doing. When a new team relationship is formed, a number of problems can occur a difference in language is used. Changes could be made to the kart that will make the kart worse if the setup decisions are made around a misunderstanding.
Teams must work hard to insure that everyone is on the same page with communicating, nobody should feel afraid of asking questions if they are unsure. Getting the most from team members Everyone responds differently to specific forms of communication. The stress of karting has already been spoken about, it should therefore be understood that people can become very sensitive and need encouragement. A shy driver for example may need gentle, positive encouragement, while another driver may need direct and strong instruction to motivate them. The important thing to remember is that everyone is different and can be different depending on a situation or their mood. Experience is the best tool in successful communication, team members should continually strive to improve as better results and more enjoyment will follow.