Sunday, April 25, 2021

Timing question from Jim Crowhurst

Trying to keep up with the new technology.

In Track & Field we have Fully Automatic Timing systems (FAT) that are started less than 0.01 of a second after the gun goes off. Hand timers start timer off when seeing the gun go off, which over the years has been decided it takes the average timer about 0.24 seconds to start their watch going.
I see new systems out there like SprintTimer - Photo Finish
It says the timer can either be started by hand or by the sound coming from the gun.
Looks like meets are turning these times in as FAT.
Looks to me like if they are starting the times by hand they should be rounded up to the nearest tenth of a second like hand times- hand time 11.22 becomes 11.3.
Or if they are using sound devise not sure what to do because times look to need to be increased by even more than 0.24.
Speed of sound is 343 meters per second.
So the sound of a gun going off from about 90 meters away, where the starter stands, for the 100 meter race would take about 0.262 seconds to reach the finish line.
More like 0.364 for the 200 meter race.
Or about 0.25 for the 300 meter race.
Loved to hear some thoughts on this.
I keep records for my site and am trying to get up to speed on this.


Anonymous said...

All the issues you raise are valid and show why use of a certified FAT system is required to provide true FAT times. As this is not an authenticated and authorized/sanctioned timing system, any times coming from it should be treated as hand times. Round up to the .1 and add the specified conversion factor.

Anonymous said...

Agree with the poster above. They are hand times.

As you mentioned it is important to round up before adding the .24.

I think the older coaches all remember the late beep from timers at the finish and then trying to figure out why 5th place had a better time than first and just assigning a time. I’ve seen more than 1/2 second added to “hand times” by coaches in the stand. FAT is the only accurate timing.

And while we are at it we need to talk wind gauges. This, along with FAT should be the standard of every dual.

Patrick D said...

There are many uses and advantages to SprintTimer for both meets, time trials, and workout tracking (splits, for instance). I'm a big fan. It allows you to start "on release" (faster than pressing the button), it's one person starting, and it's automatic on the finish (more accurate). I do NOT use the automated start based on audio/sound. There is an option to hook it up to a digital start gun, but I haven't even tried that one yet.

It does NOT replace FAT and marks should not be listed as such. Marks should be listed as hand timed in, or on sites that track official marks, and especially area records (like Jim's site).

This is a great reminder.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the poster because there is another function where you press a start button and a beeping sound from the device starts the runners. That is actually NOT CONSIDERED HANDTIMED. How could it be?

I get the auto start from the gun sound, etc being an issue, that function I do agree might be considered off, even though there are adjustments in the system for that as well.

Again, if you have not used SprintTimer yet then get it (it's very inexpensive) and try it out before making an opinion on it. It's a great app and it can almost just as easily replace FAT especially in longer races.

Hank said...

Does NFHS, USATF, and others certify Sprint timer as an approved FAT system?


Anonymous said...

@11:45. I don’t think you have any idea what goes into accurate timing. Is your camera aligned perfectly on the finish to 1 pixel wide?

Is it better than hand timing? Yes. Is it as good as FAT... NO!

Potrebic said...

I find it interesting that many find it binary. It's either FAT or it **MUST** be treated exactly as hand timing. Hand timing isn't even "one" thing. There are different rules/guidelines. Some in this thread say round-up and then add 0.24. Yet has different guidelines depending on the specific race.

Hand timing is often total crap. With rando parents starting and stopping watches. No "adjustments" can be applied to those marks that increase the quality of the results.

I've used SprintTimer a couple times and think it's a great tool. And it's not FAT. And it's better than hand timing by a million milliseconds. And if someone uses SprintTimer and doesn't realize that the speed of sound is slow... well, then they're like the rando parents who are bad at operating a stopwatch. Also, isn't proper hand timing suppose to trigger off the smoke (light) not sound? That's how I was trained???

With SprintTimer, for those that don't know, one can work with multiple connectes devices so that one device is always next to the starter, regardless of distance from the finish line.

Also, while I've not used this feature, I believe it has an adjustment for speed of sound. So that if you're just using one device at the finish you can indicate your manually trigger it on the sound and that the sound is 120 meters away, etc.

SprintTimer is a tool. Just like FAT equipment. The quality of the results is a combo of the tool in use and the person using it.

I'm happy kids are getting some opportunities.

Potrebic said...

It's also interesting that folks mostly get concerned about timed events on the track. FAT vs hand, etc. I rarely hear people express concerns over the quality of marks from the field events. Are the bar set accurately. And the marking and tape measuring of SP, DT, LJ, TJ, etc.

Yikes I've seen sketchy things. I'm sure we all have. People not knowing how to measure (e.g. LJ/TJ is a parallel measurement to the landing mark... it's NOT from the center of the board to the mark, how to measure SP and DT). Many places were errors are introduced.

And then there's knowing the rules. I smile when I hear coaches (real coaches) giving the wrong (obsolete) rules for SP/DT that they must leave the back half of the circle "under control". The under control part was removed a few years back.

This year, in dual meets, especially for the average athletes... I'd cut kids some slack. Let them have fun. Let them compete.

Albert Caruana said...

That is a great point about the field events. I sometimes wonder if the high jump bar is measured accurately, if the long jump marks are measured correctly etc. You can also add wind-aided performances in both sprints and field events.

That is the biggest reason for going with place advancements as opposed to advancements by marks set at meets that may not follow all the rules correctly.

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