If you are doing one of the sprinting races (100m, 200m, 400m), you are likely to be called up to participate in the relay race.
Relays are exciting and are a challenge for the athlete. But the race cannot be won if the baton is dropped. The purpose of the event is to exchange the relay baton around the track circuit for the duration of the race.
To be frank, athletes make it more difficult than it needs to be.
All you need to do is place the baton in the hand of the athlete so they take it in the exchange zone and then continue sprinting in the race.
There are a few different ways to exchange the baton. The most advanced version requires timing, which the team of athletes must master before racing in competition.
What are the ways to exchange the baton during a relay race?
Look and receive
This is where you keep an eye on the person that is handing you the baton. You do not take your eye off the baton until it has reached your hand.
The transition will be slower, but it is unlikely that you will drop the baton.
Accelerate off a mark and keep your hand straight.
Have a marker (tape) and once the person with the baton reaches that mark, you start to accelerate. However, you keep your arm out to have them place the baton in there successfully. You can choose to look back if you need to.
Timed changeovers (Advanced)
Have a marker (tape) and once the person with the baton reaches that mark, you start to accelerate. You will receive the baton on a certain stride (e.g. 4, 6, 8).
You will start to get into the acceleration phase.
Keep your hand static and wait for the other athlete to put the baton in your hand.
What tips can help with exchanging the baton during a relay race?
Keep your hand straight!
Do not wave your hand around. Make sure that it is static so that the athlete that is passing you the baton has a static place to focus so they can hand you the baton.
Make sure the palm of your hand is open.
It sounds simple, but keeping it open will minimise the risk of you fumbling around and dropping the baton.
Keep your arm straight when receiving the baton.
Run in a straight line to build speed and keep your arm and elbow straight when receiving the baton.
Keep it simple
This isn’t complicated. Give the athlete with the baton enough time to hand you the baton. Delay your starting acceleration if need be to make sure the baton goes in your hand.
If you are quite quick, start outside the changeover zone to make sure you receive the baton in the changeover zone successfully.
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