Getting Started with Flats or Spikes
Updated: Oct 27, 2021
To access most of the data collection and visualization features in Flats or Spikes requires a little bit of setup. To get started, you need to Add Athletes (or additional coaches) and Create Meets. Once you have completed setup for a Meet, your team can then collect split / finish times for that event on the day it is scheduled. We will also show you a very quick way to test the system yourself rapidly.
Adding athletes is easy. You can add athletes one at a time, add them in bulk from your phone’s contacts, or even add them by copying their information into a spreadsheet template that we already created for you when you created your team. Adding an athlete requires you to provide the person’s first and last name along with their 10-digit mobile number (the email address is optional).
Adding Athletes Individually
Adding Athletes with Contacts
Adding Athletes Using a Spreadsheet
Creating a Meet / Race / Training
To collect data, you need to create a Meet with at least one race and assign at least one athlete to the race(s). You can do a quick test by creating a meet at a new location, confirming the details of a race, and adding athletes to the race. You can also assign split timers if you want, but anyone on the team can collect data regardless of whether you assign them. We recommend a quick test of the platform first by creating a race today with yourself in it.
A Quick Test
You can test the system quickly yourself. We go into detail about the process for collecting and reviewing results below. Create a meet and race for today, confirm the race details, and assign yourself as the athlete in the race. You can then collect data on yourself to try the data collection screen out. Start the race and tap the Split Time button for each split, including the finish split. Then stop the race clock, exit the data collection screen, and tap on View Results in the Data Tab.
Video Overview for Collecting Times and Viewing Results
As the coach, you should designate team members (other coaches, parents, athletes not participating in the current race, etc.) to go to each of the split locations and the finish line to use the Flats or Spikes application on their phone to record when the athletes in the race pass by that location. Note that it is critical for your team to collect the finish times for each athlete even if the race has a timing company carrying out that function in an official capacity. You can add official race times later.
As the coach, you can also collect splits if you wish, but we anticipate you will want to be at the starting line with your athletes to see them off. This likely leaves you with the job of starting the race clock when the gun goes off. Note that the phone that starts the race does NOT need to be the phone that collects the split or finish times - share the work with your team!
Once you have created a meet, a data collection card will automatically show up on the Data tab. Any team members, can tap the Collect Splits button to get to the data collection screen. Only coaches can start the race clock(s), but all other team members will see the clock once it’s started. The data collection screen allows split timers to collect video for review later. We recommend split timers record video of all runners passing by their split location and to stop recording when runners are not passing by (it is fine to create multiple videos and they will be stored on the phone). You can turn off the video screen when not timing to save battery power with the shutter icon. Split times are captured by tapping the bottom-right button that says Split Time. An athlete can be assigned to that split time when it is created or anytime later that day.
Starting a Race
The Universal Timing System is automatically engaged once the data collection screen is started. A coach starts the race on their phone by tapping the start button. If the race has multiple flights, you’ll see a start button for each flight. Once a race (or flight) is started, the Universal Timing System engages hyper-accurate timing across all devices on the team. This clock appears instantly on all other team members’ phones who are using the data collection screen, and any split times they record will automatically be in sync with that start time.
Capturing Split Times
The split timer should first select the split where they are standing to collect data. As your team’s runners approach the split location, the timer should record video of the athletes as they pass by the split location because this will allow them to review the order and times of runners with the coach later and to correct any mistakes that might have been made in the moment.
When a runner reaches the split location, the split timer taps the Split Time button, and the time from the Universal Timing System will be recorded and a Time Tag Icon will appear in the tray at the bottom of the screen. An athlete must then be assigned to that split time, which can be done by tapping the Time Tag Icon to bring up the assignment screen where you select the athlete that passed the split location at that time. The timer need not worry if the athletes are passing by the split location too fast for them to assign the athletes to the time tags in the moment - as long as they record video and tap the split time button for each athlete that passes, then they can go back later and use the video to assign the athletes to the correct time tag. Whenever an athlete is assigned a split time, then the total time since the start of the race or flight is calculated, the data is uploaded to the cloud, and the split time is sent to all other team members’ phones.
The split time window to the right of the screen controls which splits you see and can capture. Selecting this will also show you the split times that others are capturing in real time giving you live results for the meet.
Video Overview for Collecting Times
As split and finish times get captured, Flats or Spikes begins calculating total times, split interval times, split pacings, and split pacing deviations; however, Flats or Spikes requires that all splits that you set be collected with the most important being the finish line (or split). Pacing results will not be available if any split for a given athlete is not collected. If any splits were missed, the recorded video can be used to find when the athlete passed that split and add new times or adjust times if you need to do so.
Once all timings are available, all results and charts become available. These include charts of split to splits, team spread, and split time deviations, which can give you a real sense of the performance of an athlete during the race. It is easy to see when athletes start too quickly and then either try to set a better pace or start slowing down until the end. Never before has it been easier to communicate with your athletes about the importance of pacing strategy for them in real time right at the end of the race to re-evaluate strategy and learn new lessons to drive continual improvement.
Video Overview for Viewing Results
Want a Demonstration?
We are happy to continue the conversation about Flats or Spikes, and what the platform can do for your team. Use this link to set up a Demo time for us to talk to you about your team.
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Contact Us to Learn More or to Help Setup Your Team
If you have any questions, comments, or thoughts about Flats or Spikes, send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you want us to help you set up your team, we can also do that. Finally, if you’d like to talk to us directly, set up a time to talk to us or get a demo of the functionality of Flats or Spikes, use this link to set up a meeting with us.
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