Thursday, October 06, 2016

About What You'd Expect

In Eli 15.2s Science class this week, they measured reaction times.

Oh yeah, you can see where this is going.

The teacher explained that the limit of human reaction speed is .1 seconds. Below that, it's considered a false start in track because it's not possible to react more quickly.

They used what's commonly called the Reaction Time Ruler Test. Here's a description from the link:
The person to be tested stands or sits near the edge of a table, resting their elbow on the table so that their wrist extends over the side. The assessor holds the ruler vertically in the air between the subject's thumb and index finger, but not touching. Align the zero mark with the subjects fingers. The subject should indicate when they are ready. Without warning, release the ruler and let it drop - the subject must catch it as quickly as possible as soon as they see it fall. Record in meters the distance the ruler fell. Repeat several times (e.g. 10 times) and take the average score.

What was Eli's reaction time, based on this test?


In another version, his time was so  low that the teacher told the student tester that he must be doing it wrong. So he walked over and did the testing himself, and Eli got the exact same result.

That's why just having a high level of technique in a sport isn't enough, because you must also have enough time to use the technique. That's why players always talk about the game "slowing down" when they're dialed in, because their reaction time is so good on that particular day that it gives them extra time to react.

Even a hundredth of a second is a substantial difference at a high level.

I did a goofy online test (here) and could consistently get in the .21-.23 range (although this is probably more accurate, and I was getting in the .25-.27 range). I'm going to ask Eli to take one of these and I'll let you know the results.

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