Hand timing
03/03/2017 3:22:32 PM
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Basics Here’s my stance on the issue and I meant to post this last season. Maybe it will help some people, maybe it won’t. I am not knocking anyone at all either and not because have access to FAT for those that know me. If you are hosting meets, the number one thing you have to lock down is finish line/results. If you don’t have enough timers, you must recruit some teachers, coaches, or possibly some parents to help. Every person must start their watches on the smoke of the gun and stop their watches once the torso crosses the finish line. It’s imperative to have as many watches as you have lanes. Also need to have at least one person calling out the order of finish along with a person to write down/type in the results. You can’t use watches and time places at the same time… you have to time lanes. During the week, most athletes are just trying to get in good marks, so the place doesn’t really matter… it’s not a championship style meet and awards aren’t given….that’s at least what I preach to my teams. The time is so you can show if your athlete is improving or not going into conference/regional/championship meets. Before we all get excited about hand times, let’s make sure we are timing these young athletes properly and helping each other out in the process. If there are bogus times, let’s fix before we put out for the rest of the world to see. As coaches, we know should know what’s realistic.
Basics

Here's my stance on the issue and I meant to post this last season. Maybe it will help some people, maybe it won't. I am not knocking anyone at all either and not because have access to FAT for those that know me.

If you are hosting meets, the number one thing you have to lock down is finish line/results. If you don't have enough timers, you must recruit some teachers, coaches, or possibly some parents to help. Every person must start their watches on the smoke of the gun and stop their watches once the torso crosses the finish line. It's imperative to have as many watches as you have lanes. Also need to have at least one person calling out the order of finish along with a person to write down/type in the results. You can't use watches and time places at the same time… you have to time lanes. During the week, most athletes are just trying to get in good marks, so the place doesn't really matter… it's not a championship style meet and awards aren't given….that's at least what I preach to my teams. The time is so you can show if your athlete is improving or not going into conference/regional/championship meets.

Before we all get excited about hand times, let's make sure we are timing these young athletes properly and helping each other out in the process. If there are bogus times, let's fix before we put out for the rest of the world to see. As coaches, we know should know what's realistic.
03/03/2017 8:18:40 PM
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This is simply wrong. The rules are very clear that timers are assigned to places, not lanes. If anyone does not know the rules for hand-timing, read the rulebook. Do not use this post as a guide.
This is simply wrong. The rules are very clear that timers are assigned to places, not lanes.
If anyone does not know the rules for hand-timing, read the rulebook. Do not use this post as a guide.
03/03/2017 8:23:08 PM
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@deiselio Some coaches use an IPhone App called "Sprint Timer". I have used it for 4-5 years and had great success. It requires only 1 person to time all 8 lanes in sprint events. It is MUCH more accurate than a stop watch. It also provides photo and/or video finish. Anywhere from 60 - 200+ frames per second (depending on your I-phone or I-Pad and the settings). This App. eliminates any argument of finishing places because there is photo/video evidence of places. The only human error is on the start (and that can be eliminated if you link two Iphones together for start and finish). Technology has put us past using stop watches and the old sprint-8 type timers for laned events. The App will cost you less than a really cheap stop watch! The biggest problem I have had with using this App is OTHER COACHES.., They want to argue and say the App times runners too slow. In reality, they are simply using stop watches (that are never updated or re-calibrated) and are eyeballing the finish while the Sprint Timer App. (that is updated from time to time) is 100% accurate with the finish due to the ability to scroll frame to frame for the times of each runner. By the way...you coaches that have argued with me about your athletes times need to realize you aren't always right just because your 15 yr old stop watch says your kid ran a faster time. Again... 3 great advantages to using this app. 1. You only need 1 person timing, not 8. 2. You eliminate arguing between athletes and coaches about who won (you have photo evidence that you can show them) 3. It is soo much more accurate than using your stop watch ** this app is not what you want to use for events over 400m. There are several other great apps for FREE that make timing those events really easy.
@deiselio
Some coaches use an IPhone App called "Sprint Timer". I have used it for 4-5 years and had great success. It requires only 1 person to time all 8 lanes in sprint events. It is MUCH more accurate than a stop watch. It also provides photo and/or video finish. Anywhere from 60 - 200+ frames per second (depending on your I-phone or I-Pad and the settings). This App. eliminates any argument of finishing places because there is photo/video evidence of places. The only human error is on the start (and that can be eliminated if you link two Iphones together for start and finish).
Technology has put us past using stop watches and the old sprint-8 type timers for laned events. The App will cost you less than a really cheap stop watch!
The biggest problem I have had with using this App is OTHER COACHES.., They want to argue and say the App times runners too slow. In reality, they are simply using stop watches (that are never updated or re-calibrated) and are eyeballing the finish while the Sprint Timer App. (that is updated from time to time) is 100% accurate with the finish due to the ability to scroll frame to frame for the times of each runner. By the way...you coaches that have argued with me about your athletes times need to realize you aren't always right just because your 15 yr old stop watch says your kid ran a faster time.
Again... 3 great advantages to using this app.
1. You only need 1 person timing, not 8.
2. You eliminate arguing between athletes and coaches about who won (you have photo evidence that you can show them)
3. It is soo much more accurate than using your stop watch

** this app is not what you want to use for events over 400m. There are several other great apps for FREE that make timing those events really easy.
03/04/2017 10:41:20 AM
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Joined: Oct 2008
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I simply do not trust hand held times at all. I agree that the sprint timer app is superior to watches and only requires one individual to know how to begin timing. Even with that I would rather have my team at a meet with FAT.Fortunately we have one school in our conference that has FAT, so we will have one accurate Wednesday meet.
I simply do not trust hand held times at all.
I agree that the sprint timer app is superior to watches and only requires one individual to know how to begin timing. Even with that I would rather have my team at a meet with FAT.Fortunately we have one school in our conference that has FAT, so we will have one accurate Wednesday meet.
03/04/2017 6:25:17 PM
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@RocketRunning That is incorrect. [b]The rule book says the finish JUDGES should be assigned to specific places, but NOT the TIMERS.[/b] They're not the same! The rule book only says one thing about timers: [i]"The head timer shall have general jurisdiction over the assistant timers. Each track event shall be timed by the head timer, two assistant timers and one substitute timer. The time recorded by the substitute timer shall be used only when one of the three regular timers fails to record the time of the event. The head timer shall designate one of the assistant timers to announce the lap times in distance races."[/i] Furthermore, someone who knows as much about everything as you do should know this: [b]the human brain does NOT multi-task[/b] (at least not in terms of conscious focus, neuroscience is quite clear on this). Asking a timer to do two things - judging place and also operate the stopwatch - is asking the impossible. Timers should time lanes in lane races, so they only have to do one thing, operate the stopwatch. There are several rules about judges, but of course at most meets there is only one judge. It's imperative that the finish judge does NOT time anyone, so that he/she can focus solely on the task of judging the order of finish. The procedure described by @deiselio is correct by the rule book, and also the only procedure that makes sense neurologically.
@RocketRunning That is incorrect. The rule book says the finish JUDGES should be assigned to specific places, but NOT the TIMERS. They're not the same! The rule book only says one thing about timers:

"The head timer shall have general jurisdiction over the assistant
timers. Each track event shall be timed by the head timer, two assistant timers and one substitute timer. The time recorded by the substitute timer shall be used only when one of the three regular timers fails to record the time of the event. The head timer shall designate one of the assistant timers to announce the lap times in distance races."


Furthermore, someone who knows as much about everything as you do should know this: the human brain does NOT multi-task (at least not in terms of conscious focus, neuroscience is quite clear on this). Asking a timer to do two things - judging place and also operate the stopwatch - is asking the impossible. Timers should time lanes in lane races, so they only have to do one thing, operate the stopwatch.

There are several rules about judges, but of course at most meets there is only one judge. It's imperative that the finish judge does NOT time anyone, so that he/she can focus solely on the task of judging the order of finish. The procedure described by @deiselio is correct by the rule book, and also the only procedure that makes sense neurologically.
03/04/2017 9:44:39 PM
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@CoachGeorgeRJR I agree. It drives me crazy when I go to meets and coaches insist on timing places.! You might have 3 timers that all think they timed the 2nd place finisher. What do you do then??? There will be athletes with no time and no one knows finishing order. I understand schools not having FAT., it is too expensive. Very few schools can afford FAT, But there is no reason to have questions about pretty accurate times and finishing order. Coaches need use the technology available and we can all avoid most issues with meet management and times.
@CoachGeorgeRJR I agree. It drives me crazy when I go to meets and coaches insist on timing places.! You might have 3 timers that all think they timed the 2nd place finisher. What do you do then??? There will be athletes with no time and no one knows finishing order. I understand schools not having FAT., it is too expensive. Very few schools can afford FAT, But there is no reason to have questions about pretty accurate times and finishing order. Coaches need use the technology available and we can all avoid most issues with meet management and times.
03/05/2017 10:06:22 AM
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[quote=CoachGeorgeRJR] That is incorrect. The rule book says the finish JUDGES should be assigned to specific places, but NOT the TIMERS. They're not the same! The rule book only says one thing about timers: "The head timer shall have general jurisdiction over the assistant timers. Each track event shall be timed by the head timer, two assistant timers and one substitute timer. The time recorded by the substitute timer shall be used only when one of the three regular timers fails to record the time of the event. The head timer shall designate one of the assistant timers to announce the lap times in distance races." [/quote] Good point. My mistake. But the rule book assumes a judge for every place (or really, two), and only a single set of timers for the race, i.e., only first place. Which would be acceptable if we only cared about finish order and treated times as an afterthought, which is the exact opposite of how most people approach the sport now. And it is also the complete reverse of what was suggested in the original post, which was a single judge for all the positions and individual timers for each runner. [quote=CoachGeorgeRJR] the human brain does NOT multi-task (neuroscience is quite clear on this). Asking a timer to do two things - judging place and also operate the stopwatch - is asking the impossible. Timers should time lanes in lane races, so they only have to do one thing, operate the stopwatch. [/quote] 100% agree on the multi-tasking point, and have made it to students and my own kids many times. But consider the two situations: - watch for the person in third place at the exact moment his torso hits the finish line; - watch for the person in third place at the exact moment his torso hits the finish line, and at that moment press a button your finger is already resting on. The second situation is more mentally challenging, but it's not MUCH more challenging. The majority of the mental focus on the actions of timing happens at the start (which is also the source of most of the errors.) It's not remotely on the level of the kid who claims to be paying attention in math at the same time she is snapchatting with friends in three other classrooms. At this point, meets with hand-timing are virtually certain to be seriously understaffed. People are going to be attempting multi-tasking. This is probably not the most challenging combination you could think of. [quote=CoachGeorgeRJR] There are several rules about judges, but of course at most meets there is only one judge. It's imperative that the finish judge does NOT time anyone, so that he/she can focus solely on the task of judging the order of finish. The procedure described by @deiselio is correct by the rule book, and also the only procedure that makes sense neurologically.[/quote] The procedure described is no more correct, and arguably less so, than having people serve as both timers and judges when a meet does not have sufficient officiating staff (as when timers/judges are also the umpires). The rule book does not preclude holding multiple officiating roles, and does make assumptions of way more competent officiating staff than exists at a high school meet, including a specific reference to judges for each place. If you are going to do that, and meet the expectation today that every competitor receive an official time, combining the judge/timer roles is the only realistic solution for most high school meets. I spent a lot of time in the last 12 hours searching for more guidance on this. There is nothing beyond the rule book for HS track. But I found many examples from USATF associations and foreign bodies that included phrases like "timers should be assigned place, NOT lanes" or "first-place timers." Nothing ever suggested assigning timers to lanes. This is not controlling, but since we are talking about meet management best practices, it seems relevant. I'd make a couple of other practical objections to the idea of a single finish line judge and lane timers. The first is that in my experience, picking and timing a single place is a much more widely held skill than being able to successfully pick places for 6-8 athletes at a sprint finish line. I am very good at calling the finish order of a race as athletes cross, maybe because I did a whole lot FAT work in the 90's with very rudimentary equipment, where it really helped to have the rough finish order before you started reading the picture. Or maybe I'm just special. But I haven't seen many people who do it well, and I've been around a whole lot of coaches who can pick and time a place quite accurately but could not pick an entire race. The second issue is, good hand-timing is not nearly as widely held a skill as you would like. Not only do we often have to call on inexperienced timers to fill out a crew at regular season meets, but many coaches are embarrassingly bad at it. The people who are good don't seem to be affected by having to pick a place while timing, and those who are bad are bad even if they are focused on a single athlete. If timers are assigned places, we can give the timers known to be bad the least important places. If we assign lanes, the winner, or 2-4 places that are most likely to be really close, could get the bad timers.
CoachGeorgeRJR wrote:
That is incorrect. The rule book says the finish JUDGES should be assigned to specific places, but NOT the TIMERS. They're not the same! The rule book only says one thing about timers:

"The head timer shall have general jurisdiction over the assistant
timers. Each track event shall be timed by the head timer, two assistant timers and one substitute timer. The time recorded by the substitute timer shall be used only when one of the three regular timers fails to record the time of the event. The head timer shall designate one of the assistant timers to announce the lap times in distance races."

Good point. My mistake.
But the rule book assumes a judge for every place (or really, two), and only a single set of timers for the race, i.e., only first place. Which would be acceptable if we only cared about finish order and treated times as an afterthought, which is the exact opposite of how most people approach the sport now. And it is also the complete reverse of what was suggested in the original post, which was a single judge for all the positions and individual timers for each runner.

CoachGeorgeRJR wrote:
the human brain does NOT multi-task (neuroscience is quite clear on this). Asking a timer to do two things - judging place and also operate the stopwatch - is asking the impossible. Timers should time lanes in lane races, so they only have to do one thing, operate the stopwatch.

100% agree on the multi-tasking point, and have made it to students and my own kids many times. But consider the two situations:
* watch for the person in third place at the exact moment his torso hits the finish line;

* watch for the person in third place at the exact moment his torso hits the finish line, and at that moment press a button your finger is already resting on.

The second situation is more mentally challenging, but it's not MUCH more challenging. The majority of the mental focus on the actions of timing happens at the start (which is also the source of most of the errors.) It's not remotely on the level of the kid who claims to be paying attention in math at the same time she is snapchatting with friends in three other classrooms.
At this point, meets with hand-timing are virtually certain to be seriously understaffed. People are going to be attempting multi-tasking. This is probably not the most challenging combination you could think of.

CoachGeorgeRJR wrote:
There are several rules about judges, but of course at most meets there is only one judge. It's imperative that the finish judge does NOT time anyone, so that he/she can focus solely on the task of judging the order of finish. The procedure described by @deiselio is correct by the rule book, and also the only procedure that makes sense neurologically.
The procedure described is no more correct, and arguably less so, than having people serve as both timers and judges when a meet does not have sufficient officiating staff (as when timers/judges are also the umpires). The rule book does not preclude holding multiple officiating roles, and does make assumptions of way more competent officiating staff than exists at a high school meet, including a specific reference to judges for each place. If you are going to do that, and meet the expectation today that every competitor receive an official time, combining the judge/timer roles is the only realistic solution for most high school meets. I spent a lot of time in the last 12 hours searching for more guidance on this. There is nothing beyond the rule book for HS track. But I found many examples from USATF associations and foreign bodies that included phrases like "timers should be assigned place, NOT lanes" or "first-place timers." Nothing ever suggested assigning timers to lanes. This is not controlling, but since we are talking about meet management best practices, it seems relevant.
I'd make a couple of other practical objections to the idea of a single finish line judge and lane timers. The first is that in my experience, picking and timing a single place is a much more widely held skill than being able to successfully pick places for 6-8 athletes at a sprint finish line. I am very good at calling the finish order of a race as athletes cross, maybe because I did a whole lot FAT work in the 90's with very rudimentary equipment, where it really helped to have the rough finish order before you started reading the picture. Or maybe I'm just special. But I haven't seen many people who do it well, and I've been around a whole lot of coaches who can pick and time a place quite accurately but could not pick an entire race. The second issue is, good hand-timing is not nearly as widely held a skill as you would like. Not only do we often have to call on inexperienced timers to fill out a crew at regular season meets, but many coaches are embarrassingly bad at it. The people who are good don't seem to be affected by having to pick a place while timing, and those who are bad are bad even if they are focused on a single athlete. If timers are assigned places, we can give the timers known to be bad the least important places. If we assign lanes, the winner, or 2-4 places that are most likely to be really close, could get the bad timers.
03/05/2017 11:45:04 AM
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@RocketRunning It's much more than just "watch for the person in 3rd place." You have to DETERMINE which person is in 3rd place, which involves comparing them to everyone else in the race. That means using judgement, and that's a higher-order function. If the race is close and you're timing lanes, EVERY timer has to determine the order of finish for EVERY runner, and also operate the stop watch. How many times do two timers time the same person, judging them to be in different places, while another runner doesn't get timed? In my experience, it happened at least once every week. Watching for the person in lane 3, though, never gets more complicated, and never involves judgement. It's much closer to automatic. Every runner always gets timed, because you take the judgement and decision-making out of the timers hands. A separate finish judge with experience is superior to 6 different finish judges who could see a race differently. The finish judge only has to differentiate between close runners, because the timers will know when the runner in their lane was obviously 1st, or last, etc. The goal is to have an independent judge to call the close ones. [b]Question: why does your view of finish judging and timing in XC differ from your view in track?[/b] In cross country, having an independent finish judge and separate timers is a universally accepted process. Why should it be different in track? It's the same skill for the finish judge, and it leaves the timers to just hit the buttons at the right time, which is the goal. We don't have timers trying to time XC runners AND call the close finishes at the same time, do we? Why should we in track? In one place you say (correctly) that operating a stopwatch correctly is harder than people think, and then in another place you say it's not a big deal to add higher-order thinking to challenge the stopwatch operator. Those two ideas don't make sense together! If working a stopwatch is more challenging that people think, why not simplify their job as much as possible? When hand timing, the times are ALWAYS secondary to the places. Times can be (and often are) adjusted when timers make mistakes. Since place takes primacy (by rule), it only makes sense to have a single judge concentrate solely on place. A finish judge using one of the phone or tablet apps referenced by Coach McLamb can get the order of finish correct every time, and quickly, with a spacing of 0.033 seconds for a 30 fps camera. There's literally no reason not to use that technology at this point. I'm sorry, but you're simply wrong on this, from top to bottom. Timing places is MUCH harder than timing lanes, and MUCH more likely to lead to errors. It's OK for you to admit to being wrong every now and then, you know.
@RocketRunning It's much more than just "watch for the person in 3rd place." You have to DETERMINE which person is in 3rd place, which involves comparing them to everyone else in the race. That means using judgement, and that's a higher-order function. If the race is close and you're timing lanes, EVERY timer has to determine the order of finish for EVERY runner, and also operate the stop watch. How many times do two timers time the same person, judging them to be in different places, while another runner doesn't get timed? In my experience, it happened at least once every week.

Watching for the person in lane 3, though, never gets more complicated, and never involves judgement. It's much closer to automatic. Every runner always gets timed, because you take the judgement and decision-making out of the timers hands. A separate finish judge with experience is superior to 6 different finish judges who could see a race differently. The finish judge only has to differentiate between close runners, because the timers will know when the runner in their lane was obviously 1st, or last, etc. The goal is to have an independent judge to call the close ones.

Question: why does your view of finish judging and timing in XC differ from your view in track? In cross country, having an independent finish judge and separate timers is a universally accepted process. Why should it be different in track? It's the same skill for the finish judge, and it leaves the timers to just hit the buttons at the right time, which is the goal. We don't have timers trying to time XC runners AND call the close finishes at the same time, do we? Why should we in track?

In one place you say (correctly) that operating a stopwatch correctly is harder than people think, and then in another place you say it's not a big deal to add higher-order thinking to challenge the stopwatch operator. Those two ideas don't make sense together! If working a stopwatch is more challenging that people think, why not simplify their job as much as possible?

When hand timing, the times are ALWAYS secondary to the places. Times can be (and often are) adjusted when timers make mistakes. Since place takes primacy (by rule), it only makes sense to have a single judge concentrate solely on place. A finish judge using one of the phone or tablet apps referenced by Coach McLamb can get the order of finish correct every time, and quickly, with a spacing of 0.033 seconds for a 30 fps camera. There's literally no reason not to use that technology at this point.

I'm sorry, but you're simply wrong on this, from top to bottom. Timing places is MUCH harder than timing lanes, and MUCH more likely to lead to errors. It's OK for you to admit to being wrong every now and then, you know.
03/06/2017 9:52:19 AM
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@CoachMcLamb I agree that technology should be embraced. The funny thing is that all coaches go to meets with their stopwatches and back up times on their own. Well, if you have coaches who have watches, get all of them at the finish for the straight lane races and get it done... that's my thinking. I've been to a meet where the Sprint app was being used and I thought that was pretty cool. I believe that app is like 5 bucks.
@CoachMcLamb I agree that technology should be embraced. The funny thing is that all coaches go to meets with their stopwatches and back up times on their own. Well, if you have coaches who have watches, get all of them at the finish for the straight lane races and get it done... that's my thinking. I've been to a meet where the Sprint app was being used and I thought that was pretty cool. I believe that app is like 5 bucks.
03/06/2017 10:01:14 AM
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Furthermore, if coaches are more concerned with place of finish during the week when there's nothing on the line... I think that's a little weird. An athlete finishing 1st with a bogus time is not going to help them with qualifying for the regional meet. There's nothing more frustrating than going to a meet and your athletes' times are way off and now you have to play psychologist for those kids. LOL This is why we saved/raised money and had some donated to get FAT, so when we host, we try to get it as correct as possible.
Furthermore, if coaches are more concerned with place of finish during the week when there's nothing on the line... I think that's a little weird. An athlete finishing 1st with a bogus time is not going to help them with qualifying for the regional meet. There's nothing more frustrating than going to a meet and your athletes' times are way off and now you have to play psychologist for those kids. LOL

This is why we saved/raised money and had some donated to get FAT, so when we host, we try to get it as correct as possible.
03/06/2017 12:00:29 PM
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We use the SprintTimer Photo Finish app and it works fine. If you use the start sender or a wired mic at the start, it's Fully Automated. If schools are using coaches with stopwatches, at least have someone with a video camera or cell phone to record the finish. That way if the order of finish is in question, you can view the video. My only concern about the SprintTimer App, is that the times are still treated as hand timed with the .24 added. I think .14 should be added since only the start is hand timed and the finish is photo. It's more accurate than a stop watch and should be treated as such if possible.
We use the SprintTimer Photo Finish app and it works fine. If you use the start sender or a wired mic at the start, it's Fully Automated. If schools are using coaches with stopwatches, at least have someone with a video camera or cell phone to record the finish. That way if the order of finish is in question, you can view the video.

My only concern about the SprintTimer App, is that the times are still treated as hand timed with the .24 added. I think .14 should be added since only the start is hand timed and the finish is photo. It's more accurate than a stop watch and should be treated as such if possible.
03/06/2017 1:05:42 PM
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@CDoug It's definitely in the gray area between hand time and fat. The problem is the frame rate of the camera. Even at 60 frames per second, it's not accurate to the hundredth. But it's definitely accurate to the tenth in a way that hand timing isn't. I'm not sure what we can do with that.
@CDoug It's definitely in the gray area between hand time and fat. The problem is the frame rate of the camera. Even at 60 frames per second, it's not accurate to the hundredth. But it's definitely accurate to the tenth in a way that hand timing isn't. I'm not sure what we can do with that.
03/06/2017 1:20:05 PM
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@CoachGeorgeRJR Yeah it's a gray area but with many of the app updates and newer Apple products the frames per second have improved. The iPad and version that I use times with 120 frames per second. I think the latest iPhones and iPads are even higher. If I'm not mistaken that's equivalent or better than the Eagle Eye and Flash Timing 60 FAT systems.
@CoachGeorgeRJR
Yeah it's a gray area but with many of the app updates and newer Apple products the frames per second have improved. The iPad and version that I use times with 120 frames per second. I think the latest iPhones and iPads are even higher. If I'm not mistaken that's equivalent or better than the Eagle Eye and Flash Timing 60 FAT systems.
03/06/2017 1:40:30 PM
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[quote=CDoug] My only concern about the SprintTimer App, is that the times are still treated as hand timed with the .24 added. I think .14 should be added since only the start is hand timed and the finish is photo. It's more accurate than a stop watch and should be treated as such if possible.[/quote] @CDoug My understanding is that the overwhelming percentage of the average error in hand-timing is at the start. I believe the 0.24 comes from the assumption the timer reacts to the start but can anticipate the finish and thus get it almost exactly right. If this is true, having an exact photo time of the finish is the same as quality hand-timing recording the finish. The adjustment should not be different than any other hand-timing. I do think it places the athletes at a disadvantage against ordinary hand-timing - because having one (presumably good) timer start the clock should reduce errors, and currently so much hand-timing is bad! Deviations from the 0.24 in hand-timing are mostly going to be on the high side, because a timer missed the start. (It's hard to start your watch too early.) If a sprinter runs numerous hand-timed races during season, they are likely to catch a "favorable" time at least once. Even if timing errors were symmetrically distributed, the fact that only the best time of the year counts means that more frequent and bigger errors work in the hand-timed athletes favor in qualifying.
CDoug wrote:

My only concern about the SprintTimer App, is that the times are still treated as hand timed with the .24 added. I think .14 should be added since only the start is hand timed and the finish is photo. It's more accurate than a stop watch and should be treated as such if possible.


@CDoug
My understanding is that the overwhelming percentage of the average error in hand-timing is at the start. I believe the 0.24 comes from the assumption the timer reacts to the start but can anticipate the finish and thus get it almost exactly right. If this is true, having an exact photo time of the finish is the same as quality hand-timing recording the finish. The adjustment should not be different than any other hand-timing.
I do think it places the athletes at a disadvantage against ordinary hand-timing - because having one (presumably good) timer start the clock should reduce errors, and currently so much hand-timing is bad! Deviations from the 0.24 in hand-timing are mostly going to be on the high side, because a timer missed the start. (It's hard to start your watch too early.) If a sprinter runs numerous hand-timed races during season, they are likely to catch a "favorable" time at least once. Even if timing errors were symmetrically distributed, the fact that only the best time of the year counts means that more frequent and bigger errors work in the hand-timed athletes favor in qualifying.
03/06/2017 2:11:44 PM
Coach
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 260
@RocketRunning I would have to disagree with that. Have you ever used the app? There is no way that someone can see the exact time someones torso crosses the line. At my meets, I use the Sprint 8 Timer as a backup for every race when I'm using the iPad app. The hand times on the Sprint 8 timer are most of the time faster than the app, as there is a human element of judging when the torso crosses the line, so timers are usually too early. I compare the times of athletes that I time with the app with there FAT times. Adding .24 is too much for the app when photo shows the exact time the torso crosses.
@RocketRunning
I would have to disagree with that. Have you ever used the app? There is no way that someone can see the exact time someones torso crosses the line. At my meets, I use the Sprint 8 Timer as a backup for every race when I'm using the iPad app. The hand times on the Sprint 8 timer are most of the time faster than the app, as there is a human element of judging when the torso crosses the line, so timers are usually too early. I compare the times of athletes that I time with the app with there FAT times. Adding .24 is too much for the app when photo shows the exact time the torso crosses.
03/06/2017 2:13:05 PM
Coach
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 114
@CDoug I think once the app truly picks up steam and more people request the "associations" to recognize it as FAT, then maybe. I understand your point completely though. There should be at least one person at a meet who have some type of app to help at the finish line.
@CDoug I think once the app truly picks up steam and more people request the "associations" to recognize it as FAT, then maybe. I understand your point completely though. There should be at least one person at a meet who have some type of app to help at the finish line.
03/08/2017 1:57:19 PM
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@deiselio 2.99
@deiselio 2.99
03/08/2017 2:15:17 PM
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Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 114
@popeka That's even better.:-]
@popeka That's even better.
03/08/2017 2:28:46 PM
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Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 144
@deiselio just downloaded today I am excited to see if it can be used by an old distance runner at our home meet today LOL! Wish us luck (will have back up just in case)
@deiselio just downloaded today I am excited to see if it can be used by an old distance runner at our home meet today LOL! Wish us luck (will have back up just in case)
03/08/2017 9:31:43 PM
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Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 147
Downloaded it as well, started using it during practice today just to get used to it. Got a bit of extra use out of it when discussing leaning with one of our sprinters and had them finishing to show what I was referring to. Definitely plan to utilize this app for my home meets.
Downloaded it as well, started using it during practice today just to get used to it. Got a bit of extra use out of it when discussing leaning with one of our sprinters and had them finishing to show what I was referring to. Definitely plan to utilize this app for my home meets.

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