Tuesday, September 27

How Athletics and Pokemon Are Not That Far Apart

Any fan of A Hot Cup knows we love the Pokemon games. Sure, there are plenty of duds that have come out with the Pokemon moniker on it (e.g. Hey You, Pikachu!, Pokemon Rumble), but as far as the actual RPGs go, they're great. And even better, athletes can use them as a training device, since Pokemon and athletics share several characteristics.

Practice, Practice, Practice
Any sport, regardless of what it is, requires practice. Sure, you may be naturally good with a basketball, but to really excel, you'll need to put in a lot of effort, whether it's shooting hoops at the gym, dribbling around snowmen during the winter months, or passing off a wall when you can't find anyone to pass back. Similarly, in the world of Pokémon, no trainer is going to waltz up to the Elite 4 and win. Building a solid team takes time and practice, and that practice comes in the form of battling and leveling-up.

Supplement the Workout
Of course, making it to the elite level isn't just a matter of doing time in the gym, whether in sports or Pokemon. Athletes have a few different methods of supplementing, whether it's protein shakes or powders, nutritional tablets, or something as simple as carb-loading. Pokemon and athletics aren't far apart--say you want your Charmander to get some more Attack power; you feed it some Protein. Or perhaps your Golduck is a little low on HP; just toss it some HP Up vitamins and you'll see its strength go up. The right balance of training and supplementing creates a solid physical specimen.

Tests Before Glory
Never will an athlete be crowned champion by winning their first match or game. Yes, the goal is the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, World Series, Stanley Cup, World Cup, the U.S. Open, Masters...whatever the peak accomplishment of your sport may be. But you don't just snap your fingers and appear there. Tests occur along the way. Last year's Packers are a great example. With a multitude of injuries, including season-ending ones to their starting running back and tight end, the Pack could have, well, packed it in and waited until next season. Instead, they used an unbelievable season from QB Aaron Rodgers to propel themselves into a wildcard spot. Once in the playoffs, Green Bay defeated the NFC's 1, 2 and 3 seeds before dismantling the Pittsburgh Steelers to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. And once again, Pokemon and athletics intersect. Before ultimately beating the last champion, the trainer must go through many battles, but specifically he or she must conquer the region's eight gyms, defeating the leader and their cronies in each. Only then will they get a crack at the grand prize: the title of Pokemon League Champion.

With video games moving more and more into realistic settings, the ways athletes can use them to train will continue to improve. For now, though, Pikachu and pals offer a solid blueprint of what it takes to become an elite athlete.

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