Saturday, 13 Jul 2024

Using Radar to Measure Speed

Radars are fascinating devices that utilize electromagnetic waves to detect the speed of objects. In the realm of fitness testing, radar holds immense potential for measuring the velocity of runners or throwing implements. This article will explore the purpose, equipment requirements, procedures, target population, limitations, accuracy, range, and interesting facts about using radar to measure speed.

Purpose: Measuring Peak Speed

The primary objective of using radar is to measure the peak speed of an object. Whether it’s a ball in various sports or the arm and bat of an athlete, radar can effectively capture these speeds. The data obtained is invaluable for performance evaluation and improvement.

Equipment Requirements

To employ radar for speed measurement, a radar device is essential. These devices can range in price from a few hundred dollars to thousands. Depending on the specific application, there are handheld radars or those that can be mounted on tripods or placed on the ground.

Pre-Test Procedures

Before conducting the test, it is crucial to explain the procedures to the subject and ensure the equipment is properly calibrated. By establishing a standardized pre-test routine, accurate and consistent results can be obtained. For detailed pre-test procedures, please refer to the Auralpressure website.


Radar devices offer the flexibility to record peak velocity for various objects, such as balls or the arm and bat in sports. It is vital to position the radar gun directly in the line of travel of the object to obtain accurate speed readings. Failure to do so may result in measuring only a component of the object’s true speed.

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Target Population

The applications of radar for speed measurement are extensive. It can be used to measure running speed in sprinters, throwing speed in sports like baseball, cricket, softball, and hitting sports like tennis (serve speed) and golf (swing speed), as well as punching hand speed in boxing.


It’s important to note that radar guns do not provide information regarding the object’s position. To measure peak speed accurately, the radar must be positioned directly in line with the moving object. Failure to do so may compromise the measurement accuracy.


The accuracy of radar devices varies from model to model, with resolutions ranging from +/- 0.1 mph to +/- 1.0 mph. Determining the exact accuracy requires calibration against an object of known speed.


The range of radar devices varies as well. Some models can measure the speed of a moving object from as far as a mile away. This flexibility allows for assessing speed in different scenarios and sports.

Fun Fact

Did you know that “RADAR” stands for Radio Detection and Ranging? It was invented by Bryce K. Brown of Decatur Electronics in March 1954.


Q: Is radar limited to specific sports for speed measurement?
A: No, radar can be used to measure speed in various sports, including sprinting, baseball, cricket, softball, tennis, golf, and boxing.

Q: How accurate is radar in measuring speed?
A: The accuracy of radar devices can vary, ranging from +/- 0.1 mph to +/- 1.0 mph. Calibration against an object of known speed can help determine the specific accuracy.

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Q: Can radar measure speed from a distance?
A: Yes, radar devices have different ranges, with some capable of measuring speeds from as far as a mile away.


Using radar for speed measurement is a valuable tool in fitness testing. By accurately capturing the peak speed of objects, such as balls or athlete’s body parts, trainers, coaches, and athletes can track progress, identify areas for improvement, and optimize performance. Remember to position the radar directly in line with the moving object to obtain precise readings. With a range of applications across various sports, radar provides valuable insights into the dynamics of speed and performance.

For more information on using radar to measure speed and other fitness testing techniques, visit