After watching highlights from the Penn Relays, especially the 4x100m relay, there are two things evident to ensure the “stick goes around the track”, and that is:
- Don’t take off too early (or too late)
- In the Push Pass, it is the incoming runner’s responsibility (with the baton) to get it to the outgoing runner.
If you are the outgoing runner, KEEP YOUR ARM AND HAND STEADY. Do not have it flailing all over the place. Granted, this is not easy as your legs are moving anywhere from 10 to 12 meters per second. So it’s natural to have your arms swinging in oscillation with the opposite leg.
Here is a video on YouTube that shows the Botched pass analysis on the Final Exchange at the 2016 Penn Relays “USA vs. the World” Men 4x100M.
The commentator (Carol Lewis?) has the right words of wisdom: Let the Driver Drive!
Don’t Take Off Too Soon
One of the biggest mistakes for the outgoing runner is “don’t take off too soon”. But when the incoming runner hits the GO mark, you have to go. No holding back.
In a perfect world, that “Go Mark” is about 25 “steps in your spikes” behind the acceleration zone. (this is about 7-8m behind the acceleration zone hash mark, or 17-18m behind the acceleration exchange zone)
If you are privy to advanced timing equipment, you would be measuring 50m splits, ideally from the 70-120m segment of the incoming runner. (with the exchange occurring between the 90-110m marks or zone)
A lot of coaches worry about baton speed in the exchange zone, but at the end of the day, it’s leg speed all the way that matters. The legs will carry you to a sub 38 second 4×100 relay and the baton is just bonus. Just execute the fundamentals, get 3 crisp exchanges, and the 50 meter segment above will speak for itself. In ideal conditions, you are looking at 4.62 seconds.
Why 4.62 for 50m?
Since 8x50m = 400m, and 4.62 x 8 = 37 seconds, add 1 second for acceleration out of the blocks, which makes 38 seconds in a perfect world. See Valeri Borzov – Training Procedures in Sprinting that uses the 1.0 second rule from crouch to flying.
And a sub 38 for the men’s 4x100m will probably be good enough to medal.
If you can get the stick around.
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