Sprint Testing

Sprint tests can be conducted in more ways than ordinary races. The different setups in SprintTimer therefore come in handy, for example, you have the option to choose from either convenient ”timing gates” or the more accurate Photo Finish.

Many tests are over a 10-40 m distance, which is favourable since it means that you might use Start Sender without an external network. It is usually possible to connect two iPhone/iPads directly to each other over 30 m (40 m with luck). Below I have described some alternative setups that hopefully can inspire you to find the best configuration for your test.

The start
Sprint tests can be started in threes different ways: Conventional start, start without reaction time and flying sprint.

If you are using a conventional start, the timing set up will be the same as for a conventional race and you can use an external starter or a ”Self start”.

Some tests, however, are conducted so the clock starts when the runner starts, i.e. the reaction time is not included in the time. Most notable of these tests is the 40 yard dash that is a part of the American football SPARQ test. There are two ways to achieve this with Start Sender.

  • Use motion detection and place the detection zone on, or just in front of, the runner. When he is in starting position and still, activate the detection.
  • Set Start Sender to manual start and ”Start on” to release. Then place the iPhone on the ground and let the runner press the start button. He will automatically release it when he starts.

Another common sprint test is the flying sprint. It is often timed with timing gates, which is practical, but not 100 % accurate since you can’t be sure if it is the arms and not the torso that triggers the clock. SprintTimer allows a set up very similar to timing gates, by using motion detection in Start Sender.

The finish
The finish set up can either be Motion Finish for quick turn around and voice feedback, or Photo Finish for maximum accuracy. The new Auto finish in Motion finish here come in handy.

Example 1: Flying sprint with two timing gates.
Open Start Sender on the first iPhone/iPad set it to ”Start Clock on Motion”. Aim it at the start line. Open Motion Finish on the other device. In the finish set up, set ”Start recording” to a small number e.g. 1 s. Turn on ”Stop at first detection” and ”Voice”. Goto ”Start setup” and connect Start Sender. When the devices are synced, you are ready to run.

Activate motion detection from either device and let the runner pass. The ”Stop at first detection” makes the second device register and speak the time and return to the initial state. You can then activate the detection for the next runner. When the tests are done, you can press ”Results” and get all the times


Example 2: Flying sprint with two photo finishes.
This set up requires more work but gives more documentation and potentially a little higher accuracy. You need three devices, one running start sender and the other two Photo finish. Place the two Photo finish device at the start and finish line respectively and set ”Start after” and ”Finish length” to appropriate (small) numbers. Sync with Start Sender.

Start the clock manually in Start Sender when the runner approaches. Check the photo finish on both devices, mark both images and calculate the difference between the times.

Example 3: individual sprints with Photo finish and a Results list
Say that you have 15 athletes that should run 2×30 m with conventional start. First, create a start list with each name appearing twice (you might give them different heat numbers) and import it to the finish line iPhone. Set that device to Photo finish. Set the device at the start to Start sender and Self start.

Let the runners themselves press ”Play” on the start device. When they have finished you can mark the race by bringing up the start list and mark the appropriate runner. It is no problem to use the same start list for different races. When you are finished, you can export all results as one file. The only disadvantage is that you can’t save a photo finish image with marks since it will contain all times.