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Attention 4x1 afficionados

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  • Attention 4x1 afficionados

    excerpt from home-page-linked Spikes article

    THE WORLD'S BEST EXCHANGE RATE

    “The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour,” reads a Japanese proverb. Or, in the case of Japan’s 4x100m relay team, by the conduct of just 37.60 seconds. SPIKES finds out how four athletes, none with a personal best quicker than 10 seconds, defeated a host of the world’s fastest sprinters.

    Despite its surprise factor, Japan’s Olympic relay success did not come from nowhere. It was the result of years of biomechanical data analysis with meticulous attention paid to baton exchanges.

    Since the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton, the Japanese team have employed the underhand (or up-sweep) baton exchange. The front runner receives the baton at waist level with his palm facing down. Unlike with a traditional down-sweep exchange, the up-sweep fits with the natural movements of top speed running and allows the giver to be closer to the receiver at the moment of exchange, ensuring minimum loss of speed.

    But there’s another argument that supports the technique. “The foremost reason for using the underhand pass is that it is least prone to errors,” explains Shunji Karube, director of sprint events at the Japanese national federation (JAAF).

  • #2
    up or down, you're still going to lose time if you don't have the two runners at maximal speed when the exchange made.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by gh View Post
      up or down, you're still going to lose time if you don't have the two runners at maximal speed when the exchange made.
      Indeed, but the point is, all other factors being equal (which is what a coach must base his/her ideals on), the up-sweep sure seems like the better choice, which is not what many western countries do.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Atticus View Post
        excerpt from home-page-linked Spikes article
        Very interesting and sensible, thanks for posting.

        Comment


        • #5
          I have been preaching the superiority of the upsweep pass for sixty plus years. At OAMC in the 40s-50s we even used a blind upsweep pass in the 4X440.
          It has always made more sense to me than running tentatively, looking back over your shoulder,waving you arm above your head while the incoming runner has to raise arm above natural running motion and bring baton down.
          I'm glad the Japanese finally figured that out.. I will admit, we never fine tuned it down to a 7 cm adjustment.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by lonewolf View Post
            It has always made more sense to me than running tentatively, looking back over your shoulder,waving you arm above your head while the incoming runner has to raise arm above natural running motion and bring baton down.
            Isn't that just a matter of training? A well trained team doesn't look back or wave.
            A question regarding the original text: "allows the giver to be closer to the receiver at the moment of exchange, ensuring minimum loss of speed." Isn't being closer counterproductive? I always thought being closer means the receiver started a bit too late which means losing a few 1/100s of a second. If you are closer than you absolutely have to be, don't you always lose time?

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            • #7
              Like lonewolf I've extolled the superiority of the upsweep since I joined this board in 2003. I coached girls sprinters for 21 years, and we did the upsweep from Day 1. Two dropped batons in 21 years. Two.

              Is it faster? You better believe it. Here's my breakdown of the Rio mens final, posted on my FB page the day after.

              Ultimately the truest measure of 4x100 exchange speed is the difference between the 4x100 relay time, and the total season-best open times of the members. For the US men, that difference was 1.94 seconds, Jamaicans 2.33 seconds, and the Japanese quartet were 2.68 seconds faster in the relay than their total 2016 individual season best times.
              Also, the fastest 4x1 I coached - 47.87 - had exactly one girl with sub-13 PR. The math doesnt lie.


              And as I've said on this board, don't look for upsweep from a US national team during our lifetimes. You'd have better luck wrestling a polar bear than changing US national team 4x1 methodology(results be damned)
              There are no strings on me

              Comment


              • #8
                Last year the German w4x1 ran 41.62 in Mannheim, 2.9 faster than their best 100m times.
                In 2011 a German w4x1 ran 43.42s to break a very old GDR U20 ER, 3.47 faster than their 100m SBs.
                Math may not lie, but it doesn't tell the whole story either.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Actually, there is a bias in the time differential. If you are using athletes that are 100m specialists competing at the highest level they work more on their start, they run at the fastest venues, and they have more races under top conditions and their marks will be better than if you had the same number of 'observations' at the same venues as the athletes that are not competing at the top. [Also, use Basic times for the comparisons, or you again get a selection bias in your statistics.]

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                  • #10
                    Love the story, I wish it was longer. I also WISH the US team would take heed. Since we are on the subject, I will update the US men's 4x100 record of futility in championship meets:

                    1995 Gothenburg DNF (heats)
                    1996 Atlanta Silver
                    1997 Athens DNF (heats)
                    1999 Seville Gold
                    2000 Sydney Gold
                    2001 Edmonton DQ (final)
                    2003 Saint Denis Gold
                    2004 Athens Silver
                    2005 Helsinki DNF (heats)
                    2007 Osaka Gold
                    2008 Beijing DNF (heats)
                    2009 Berlin DISQ (heats)
                    2011 Daegu DNF (final)
                    2012 London DISQ (silver medal taken away for doping)
                    2013 Moscow Silver
                    2015 Beijing DISQ (final)
                    2016 Rio DISQ (final)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      So if I'm reading you correctly norunner and 26235, you're both saying the handoff edge is an illusion, that indeed Japanese were even on legspeed with the US and Jamaica.

                      Okie-doke...
                      There are no strings on me

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hail! the Bud Winter Jet Sprint Relay Pass
                        used it all thru HS we never dropped the stick
                        IIRC 1968 US OG 4x400 team used it too
                        Tom Hyland:
                        "squack and wineturtle get it"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          No, what i'm saying is: You can't base your assumption on one race. There are plenty of examples for very fast down-sweep relays, i guess even the US has provided at least one. The 40.82s relay of 2012 should be around 2.8.

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                          • #14
                            Certainly it's possible to run a very efficient 4x1 with the overhand(blind squirrels, and all that lol), but it takes more practice, and precision, two factors the US in particular is woefully short on heading into international championship meets due to the Trials system. As noted in the article, the main advantage of the underhand is it's adaptability when a particular exchange is going south(especially, in my experience, when the incoming runner is running up on the outgoing).

                            Consistency, to be sure, is in the corner of the underhand.
                            There are no strings on me

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by guru View Post
                              And as I've said on this board, don't look for upsweep from a US national team during our lifetimes. You'd have better luck wrestling a polar bear than changing US national team 4x1 methodology(results be damned)
                              Why is that????

                              Comment

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