General Question

kevbo's avatar

In the relay in track and field, when did the style of baton passing change to the current style?

Asked by kevbo (25624points) August 22nd, 2008

In the olden days, relay runners would hold their hand out behind them and jog facing forward until the previous runner slapped the baton into their hand. When did it change to the receiving runner facing the tossing runner? Is there a trade off in terms of speed and does that new method significantly reduce the chances of dropping the baton or is it about something else?

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5 Answers

flyawayxxballoon's avatar

Great question!
I just wish I knew the answer…

Personally, I think that the original method makes much more sense than the new one, but maybe that’s just me…

kevbo's avatar

Actually, they just showed a clip of the US men’s and women’s teams dropping the baton yesterday using the old style. Maybe it’s a “corrective action” since yesterday… except it seems that all the countries are doing it.

robmandu's avatar

My wife (former track star) says that the “look behind” technique is still in play for longer distance relays. But the sprint distances have to go off like clockwork and so they next leg person just heads off looking forward.

The person in front must hold his/her hand behind them very steady. Else the pass will likely go awry. When you see someone flailing their arm behind themselves, that’s not good.

flyawayxxballoon's avatar

Maybe, since you’d be able to see the hand-off if you were facing the runner, you’d be able to grab it more precisely, thus reducing your chance of dropping the baton? That’s my best guess.

dalton's avatar

The old way was thew best way. It is up to the passer to get the baton safely into the hand of the next runner.

It is up to the next runner to start at precisely the correct time.

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