Important information for using timing gates
The distance between the start-line and the first timing gate (cones A – Figure 1) has been shown to affect 5-m sprint times (3). Put simply, the greater the distance, the faster the sprint time as it allows the athlete to generate more speed before crossing the first timing gate. As the 5m sprint is a measure of acceleration, it is recommended that the start-line is position 0.3m behind the first timing gate in accordance with Altmann and colleagues (3).
The height of the timing gates has also been proven to significantly affect the performance results (4). When testing, it is therefore imperative that a standardised, consistent protocol is used to reduce variances within the data. For example, it may be suggested that the gates are always set at a consistent height of 1-metre.
- Participants should thoroughly warm-up prior to the commencement of the test. Warm-ups should correspond to the biomechanical and physiological nature of the test. In addition, sufficient recovery (e.g. 3-5 minutes) should be administered following the warm-up and prior to the commencement of the test.
Starting the test
- Participant ready’s themselves on the start-line (positioned 0.3m behind the first gates – cones A) in a standing split-stance start position. NOTE: it is important for reliability that the participant always uses the same starting stance.
- Participant should be counted down ‘3 – 2 – 1 – GO ‘.
- If the test administrators are using a stopwatch, then the time keeper must stand at the finish line and perform the countdown and time the sprint.
- On the ‘GO’ signal the participant must accelerate maximally to the finish line as quickly as possible.
- Each participant MUST complete a MINIMUM OF THREE SPRINTS, each separated by a 2-3 minute rest if reliable results are desired.
After the test
- Once the test is over, some subjects may react to the previous exertion. To reduce any problems, the subjects should rest, either sitting or standing, for at least 2-3 minutes. If the subject feels ill or goes quiet or pale, they should lie down with their feet resting on a chair. Note: never leave the participant alone after the test.