Over ten years ago, a former strength and conditioning coach for the Tampa Bay Rays said in a firm tone that he didn’t speak hand times. I have used that phrase nearly every month, since so many people talk about time like it’s a subjective quality. I am not against hand time for coaches, but I don’t speak hand time for comparisons or for real record keeping. Electronic timing is a must, and a healthy reminder of the importance of what we are timing can be found here in Michael Boyle’s article regarding the NFL combine. Ironically, this information along with the NFL.com site share that not too many people are running as fast as we hear. I wrote five articles about timing and practice, and I like to video and use chronometers, but lately the additional use of Freelap has liberated me in many ways. Timing and teaching are not incompatible, and I find that the feedback of velocity and the feedback of the body and track help athletes calibrate sensations.
Mentioned in my Key Performance Indicators for the 110m Hurdles, I am using Freelap for sled work as much of the discussion has made me see what the specific velocities are with various loads. Splits and Zones are now more precise, as I am looking a decay rates as well as curve speed vs flat speed. So many options have made me rethink a lot of what I was doing was not as precise and guided as it should be. Speed kills, but without timing we don’t know how well our training really is. Even tempo I am doing splits to see how aggressive one accelerates and if they are going 75% speed. Time is our most precious commodity, and it seems for some odd reason we don’t time as much as we should. Timing doesn’t interfere with teaching, since the video camera is just as invasive and people need to be comfortable with the inevitable. Testing and Training are one and the same, but without actual timing or data, we get into sports science fiction instead of good data collection.