Hand Timing Question

Sorry if this question has already been covered however I was not able to find the answer through a search.

I understand the concept that hand timing is .24 seconds faster than FAT with a competent timer when the gun is at the start line.

My question is could someone tell me the differential between FAT and a timer who is also doing the commands from the finish line assuming the person is impartial and not using there quick thumb to please the runner.

I would feel that the timing would be near FAT as the clock would start exactly with the command, and also the noice would have to travel to the start line, and the timer would have an accurate view of the finish.

It might give you a worse time than FAT.

Gun at finish line. Say timers start timing .13 after of the gun since it is so close to them. Sound from the gun would take .3 (sound is like 340m/s) to reach the runners. So in that case you’d end up with a time .1 to .2 slower than FAT.

As always with normal hand timed races, it depends on who is timing this stuff. If you really concentrate and look at the flash from the gun you should be able to hand time within around .15 of FAT not .24 or more.

Try to refine hand times in order to make them closet to FAT is really quite a waste of time. There is nothing consistant about handtimes. IF you time a run from TV or from the Computer screen 3 of 4 times you’ll get different results. So even one person can vary the time of exactly the same run. I have ran 5.55 hand in the 50m yesterday. I know that it would’ve given me something like 6.0 Electric. And not 5.80. And here pops another problem. Which is when people run a good hand time they don’t know how good they really are. Some people add 0.24 and say the electronic time!!! These people might be very well fooling them selves. While others would say that this is a good INDICATION of where I am at any one point. So hand time should be just used as an indication of where some one is at any one point. Like good, bad , vey good, etc… While electronic times are used to give exact and precise numbers. Use a Video Camera from time to time to check your times. And you’ll be shocked about how much the hand times are varying all around the session while electronic are just more stable and close to each other within the session and also ( sadly ) much worse! But its the plain truth!

Your reaction time to visual stimuli is almost twice as long as to auditory stimuli. A reaction time of 0.24 s to a visual stimulus is thus probably even better than average.


Twice as long? Where do you get that?

For about 120 years, the accepted figures for mean simple reaction times for college-age individuals have been about 190 ms (0.19 sec) for light stimuli and about 160 ms for sound stimuli (Galton, 1899; Fieandt et al., 1956; Welford, 1980; Brebner and Welford, 1980).

Many researchers have confirmed that reaction to sound is faster than reaction to light, with mean auditory reaction times being 140-160 msec and visual reaction times being 180-200 msec (Galton, 1899; Woodworth and Schlosberg, 1954; Fieandt et al., 1956; Welford, 1980; Brebner and Welford, 1980).

And I agree hand timing is very inaccurate when timed by people who don’t care about the race. However, we used to have one of our hurdler’s little brother time our races and without fail he was within .15 to .20 of our FAT times. We called him ‘the FAT machine’ because he was ALWAYS in that range. Just take his time and add .2 and you wouldn’t be disappointed. It’s another story when grandpa times your race and gets you at 10.5 when you really ran 11.30.

I´ve noticed that my HT are longer than Electronic and i believe this is because of the end of the race ( finishing line ).
Electronic stops exactly when you´re passing over finish line as HD use to stop the chrono when do you think you´re passing over the line but the true is that, time passes while stimulous is going from nervous system to fingers so, to be more acurate, you have to stop the chrono about 5 to 10 meters before finish line which would be definetely a damn fool thing to do.
Does any of you have tryied Sprint Star ? Does it realy work ? :confused:

Haha yea that’s the last thing you need is for a highschool coach to stop the timer even earlier you’ll have kids runnin 3.9 in the 40 and 9.9 in the 100

This was based on experiments conducted on myself, which, I admit, may not necessarily be representative. My reaction time to visual stimuli was usually about 0.24s and to auditory stimuli about 0.14s.


I train a women’s softball team and one of the things that I keep track of is their home to 1st times. I do it 2 ways. In practice, I time from first movement. I game situation, I don’t even watch the batter. I go by the crack of the bat.
The eye plays tricks on you. Visual is very inaccurate. I end up timing a lot of foul balls and even when the ball hits the catcher’s mit.
Excellent observation.


I use a stopwatch a lot during my track workouts. I time everything from my recovery times, my 50m walks, and most importantly the interval itself. The method I use for timing my intervals is usually from the moment my first step hits the ground to the time i cross the line. I’m not worried about 100th’s like most of you sprinters are, but the tenths do make a difference.

I ran a 1:56.73 FAT time, and my time on our record boards is 1:56.5 is this standard practice? To convert FAT to handtime, if you’ve got older records?

It can be close to a half second difference in the 100 and 200. So what ever your time hand time add .5 for FAT.

There are so many variables that it’s tough to have a rule for everyone- for example, the closer to the sideline the slower (closer to electric) the time- farther back allows you to anticipate the athlete’s crossing of the line- but you can compare your own timing to electric as long as you time in the same way and from the same viewpoint to get an accurate idea of what to expect.

Here in Brazil, they ( Oficials ) use to add .24 from HT to electronic in 100m races.
But this is not a rule either non-valid as international results.

Yes this is true. My experiences have been during meets. We would time the same way for everyone and then compare FAT to HT.

.60 difference between HT and FAT was the average.


do you have a loose guide line to follow when figuring out projected competition times from practice times?

Only for the way I time and how they start (from stand- first full motion. For me, I add approx .65 to arrive at an estimated E time.