Reaction Time and the Oeshitt Reflex

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  • Mike Young
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    Mike Young on #15519

    If you go to any high school track meet around the country and listen up for the feedback between coaches and athletes after the 60m or 100m you’ll inevitably ALWAYS hear someone make a comment about how slow their reaction time was and how it just killed their race. I want to take a look at this phenomenon and see if there’s anything to it. I’ll take a Does / Does Not approach where I’ll prov

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    JeremyRichmond on #80083

    The problem with this reflex is that the athlete usually tries to make up for the late start by putting in greater effort immediately. Hardly ever do you see them approach the race as if they hadn’t started badly. Even with a good start sprint performance can vary and PR’s can be bettered so the athlete should just run a normal race. Nothing like a cool head in a crisis!

    PS the Oeshitt reflex transcends beyond sprinting but manifests in many other aspects of life.

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    davan on #80084

    How do you go about training to stop this? Obviously handicapped starts could work, but that seems like it may be limited in application unless you have a team of people with similar abilities, etc. How would you fix this problem?

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    Gabe Sanders on #80086

    CAMPBELL-BROWN, Veronica JAM 11.01 Reaction time: 0.567

    https://www.shggp.com/reports/re1010040.html

    I’m gonna go with: DOES NOT MATTER…

    In this particular case ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Mike Young
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    Mike Young on #80087

    CAMPBELL-BROWN, Veronica JAM 11.01 [b]Reaction time: 0.567[/b]

    https://www.shggp.com/reports/re1010040.html

    I’m gonna go with: DOES NOT MATTER…

    In this particular case ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thanks for sharing the vid and that is my general standpoint but I think there’s a timing error there. Her reaction time and start mechanics are clearly terrible in that race but having a 0.57 second reaction time is improbable if for no other reason than it would mean she is a 10.60 performer with an average (not even good) reaction time and she hasn’t come anywhere close to that time.

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    Mike Young
    Keymaster
    Mike Young on #80088

    The problem with this reflex is that the athlete usually tries to make up for the late start by putting in greater effort immediately. Hardly ever do you see them approach the race as if they hadn’t started badly. Even with a good start sprint performance can vary and PR’s can be bettered so the athlete should just run a normal race. Nothing like a cool head in a crisis!

    That was my point about the second half of the blog. Athletes inevitably feel as if they have to do something special to catch up. Instead, the mentality should be that they need to just run the same race that they otherwise would. Trying to play catchup never works.

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    Mike Young
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    Mike Young on #80089

    How do you go about training to stop this? Obviously handicapped starts could work, but that seems like it may be limited in application unless you have a team of people with similar abilities, etc. How would you fix this problem?

    Good question. I’m not sure it’s really simple. I’ve used mock meet starts in practice where I’ll give pretend scenarios. In those cases, inevitably someone gets caught in the blocks and it offers an opportunity to see how they react. The handicapped starts oddly seem to have the opposite affect of a bad reaction time….they seem to be motivation, as in, ‘I’m gonna run that m’fer down!’

    I try to teach my sprinters patience and single mindedness with the hopes of not being thrown off in such scenarios. I did however have a case this past indoor where a bad reaction time DID kill a race. One of my sprinters qualified for finals of 60m at USATF with a PR 7.38 and RT of 0.17. In the final, she got caught off guard on the start, had a RT of 0.24 (bad!) and ended up running a 7.48. She was the final person to make the finals and clearly felt the pressure of getting a bad RT and pressed the rest of her race. In a 55m or 60m a bad RT can be difficult to recover from…even if you do have the wherewithal to run an ideal post-RT race.

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    JeremyRichmond on #80097

    How do you go about training to stop this? Obviously handicapped starts could work, but that seems like it may be limited in application unless you have a team of people with similar abilities, etc. How would you fix this problem?

    This is one area in which the coach could really have fun. You could use timing lights just in front of the blocks and accidentally put a slight delay in the triggering of the light for one sprinter. If you had the technology you could give them remote headphones and use a beep with a delay for one of the sprinters.

    These would be as close as possible to the real thing and would really test the delayed sprinter under duress.

    Mike Young
    Keymaster
    Mike Young on #80100

    There is actually new technology, presented at this year’s TED conference, that permits focus directed sound….think laser beam for sound. Each ‘speaker’ can focus sound in a 2-3′ linear space so you could direct a starting signal at one athlete’s lane and have another ‘speaker’ directed at another athlete’s lane with the ‘go’ signal on a slight delay.

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    qpoke on #80149

    I have tried athletes doing the command themselves. This way one athlete has an advantage at the start since they know when the ‘gun’ is going and the other does not have that benefit. I especially use this with my multis doing hurdle starts, i call it the’be prepared for whatever drill.’ it works great especially for multis who need to start day 2 with as little problems as possible.

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