Legendary track coach Clyde Hart coached 20 relay teams to national championships during his coaching career at Baylor University. In this post he will show you the relay exchange technique that he employed that helped win those championships.
In the video below Coach Hart, who is now the Director of Track and Field at Baylor University, is presenting strategies, drills and teaching points for coaching relays at a Glazier Track and Field Clinic. For information about gaining access to his entire relay presentation, as well as access to hundreds of other great track and field coaching presentations, click the link Glazier Track and Field Clinics.
While given frequently given for credit for developing this highly successful exchange technique, Coach Hart is quick to give point out that former Texas high school coach Wayman Griggs actually showed him the technique. As an athlete at Abilene Christian College, Griggs twice set the world record in the 440 relay.
The technique is quite simple. Coach Hart stresses that it is the outgoing athlete that is key. He/she must get moving fast and let the incoming athlete adjust. The key to the exchange is that the outgoing athlete is going to reach back and snatch or grab the baton from the incoming runner. The incoming runner is not giving the baton, but rather it is being taken from them.
The outgoing gunner will begin sprinting and when he/she hears the call, they reach back and grab. The incoming runner’s responsibility is to signal the runner and put the baton slightly outside the elbow. The outgoing runner is taught to bring his hand back such that his thumb clips his hip and then open his/her hand. The outgoing runner will grab and snatch the baton from the incoming runner. Should they miss, the outgoing gunner simply reaches back again.
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