Reaction time is the ability to respond to what a person hears, sees or feels. Reaction time in a sport setting is best exemplified by a sprinters ability to start quickly off the blocks in reaction to the sounding of the gun. Reaction time is a fitness component that acts as a precursor to other fitness components, for example, as mentioned with a sprinter down on the blocks, the athlete will use this component to react to the starters gun then activating muscular power. Reaction time is heavily based on the person’s nervous system. The time it takes to process information from the brain to the muscles is the most important factor when considering reaction time.
There are many factors that affect reaction time be it in normal life to sporting situations. The simple factors been arousal levels and the relevance of the event in question. If the event or situation is life threatening, it more inclined to illicit a quicker response than if the situation is relaxing or more mundane. Age is the main factor affecting reaction time in athletes. At an elite level it is more likely that an outsider will be able to notice the reaction time of an athlete slowing from the start to the finish of their career. Age is also the main factor affecting reaction time in normal human beings. This is the case especially in the elderly where the nervous system begins to slow down and the response to stimulus gets slower because of the slowing of brain function to the muscles. Sensory information begins to take longer to reach the muscle as we get elderly and this affects our reaction time greatly. We can also train our nervous system to an extent. The factor been training is exemplified by a 100 meter sprinter who is very quick at reacting to the start gun because they have trained for it. A normal human will take longer to react because they haven’t trained their sensory system to react to the stimuli of the start gun. Other smaller factors include visibility and fatigue. Fatigue comes up in most factors affecting fitness components but in this case not been able to concentrate the nervous system or muscular fatigue where the thoughts are with the sore muscles will also affect reaction time.
TESTING REACTION TIME
The ruler reaction time test is simple and easy way to test simple reaction time.this test can be done in a couple of different ways but the most effective is to use a one meter ruler, stand on a chair and have the athletes thumbs lined up at zero on the ruler, drop the ruler randomly and where the athlete catches the ruler with their two thumbs can be measured as their reaction time.
The other simple way to test reaction time is a simple computer click test. The link below is the actual test but in this particular version the person has to click the stop button when the background of the screen turns the different colour mentioned at the top. This will give you an instant time and can be used to measure reaction time. This can be found by clicking on the following link: http://www.topendsports.com/testing/reaction-timer.htm