To investigate if error correction processing (ECP) algorithms in timing lights are able to eliminate or to reduce measurement errors (ME) and false signals due to swinging arms or legs.
First, a dummy was used to check if ECP generally works. Second, 15 male sports students performed sprints over 5 m and 10 m. Timing lights with ECP and a high-speed camera as a gold standard were used to simultaneously capture the athlete when passing the timing lights at start, 5 m and 10 m, respectively. ME of the timing lights were calculated for hip and upper body.
The dummy condition revealed that ECP is able to eliminate ME. In real sprint conditions, ME was highest for timing light at start and when using the hip as a reference. Overall, out of 120 trials only four false signals were not detected by ECP. They all occurred at the start timing light, with highest ME being 0.263 s (hip) and 0.134 s (upper body). Regarding 5 m and 10 m, all false signals were eliminated.
As proven through video analyses, ECP eliminated almost all false signals. Largest ME at the start timing light were associa ... mehrted with a distinct forward leaning of the athletes. Therefore, clear instructions concerning starting posture should be given to further improve measurement accuracy of the start timing light. This approach could also enhance comparisons between athletes. Nevertheless, based on our results, timing lights employing ECP can be recommended for measuring short sprints.