by Nicolette Mok
Precision is important when passing a baton during a relay race, as fumbling would cause a team to lose seconds in a race where every moment counts, while dropping a baton would result in disqualification.
In order to maximise your chances of widening a lead between you and your competitors, it is essential that all members of a relay team are adept at the fundamentals of passing and receiving the baton.
While there are two standard relay events in athletics, the 4 x 100-metre and 4 x 400-metre races, the passing techniques are generally the same. Here, we present a brief guide on how best to pass and receive a baton during a relay race.
Receiver to have hand outstretched and lifted up on command, ensuring palm is flat facing the passer. Photo: SportSG
Firstly, ensure that all members of your relay team are aware of the specific positions that they are supposed to move off from. The baton, however, does not change hands at the exact spot where the receiver is waiting. Instead, the receiver should begin jogging forward as he or she sees the passer approaching with the baton.
When the passer is ready to hand the baton over, he or she will give an audible cue – usually a call of “up” – and the receiver will raise his or her arm in preparation.
The receiver’s arm should be outstretched and high, positioned at the back of the body. The palm should be facing the passer. The passer will then place the baton in the receiver’s hand while both are running; the receiver will grip it between his or her thumb and forefinger.
The receiver should receive the baton with the opposite hand of whichever hand the passer is holding the baton. Photo: SportSG
The receiver should take the baton in the hand opposite of the one that the passer is holding it in. For instance, if the passer is holding the baton in his or her right hand, the receiver should run slightly towards the right of the lane and receive the baton in his or her left hand. The receiver is free to switch hands after receiving the baton if he or she feels more comfortable doing so – as long as the next runner is aware of which hand to receive the baton from.
One important thing to note would be the relay zone. All batons must be passed within this zone, which is marked out by yellow paint on the track, as pictured above. Failure to do so would cause your team to get disqualified, so it is important to ensure a good understanding between both passer and receiver!
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So whether at an entry level or embarking on a pathway to excel in it, the ActiveSG Athletics Club is your first choice!