Head start (positioning)
In positioning, a head start is a start in advance of the starting position of others in competition, or simply toward the finish line or desired outcome. Depending on the situation, a head start may be inherent, obtained by special privilege
A privilege is a special entitlement to immunity granted by the state or another authority to a restricted group, either by birth or on a conditional basis. It can be revoked in certain circumstances. In modern democratic states, a privilege is conditional and granted only after birth...

, earned through one's accomplishments, or granted mercifully by an opponent.

While not guaranteeing success, a head start will increase such chances.

In sports

In competitive sports, such as a race
A sport race is a competition of speed, against an objective criterion, usually a clock or to a specific point. The competitors in a race try to complete a given task in the shortest amount of time...

, a head start refers to a start ahead of other competitors, allowing a shorter distance to the finish line.

The idea of a head start may seem unfair. But in some cases, a head start is an advantage that may be earned by one more of the competitors.

Also, adults who are racing against children may provide children with a head start, knowing the children are slower, and wanting to allow them a chance to win.

In multiple-event or multiple-day competitions, such as the modern pentathlon
Modern pentathlon
The modern pentathlon is a sports contest that includes five events: pistol shooting, épée fencing, 200 m freestyle swimming, show jumping, and a 3 km cross-country run...

, the final event may use a head start where the leader of the competition starts first over his opponents based on the time or points advantage. In modern pentathlon, the points leader after the first four events takes a head start in the 3,000 metre cross country event based on his lead over his opponent. The first competitor to the finish line wins.

In baseball

In baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

, base runners
In baseball, baserunning is the act of running around the bases performed by members of the team at bat.In general, baserunning is a tactical part of the game with the goal of eventually reaching home to score a run. In fact, the goal of batting is generally to produce baserunners, or help move...

 who are attempting to steal bases
Stolen base
In baseball, a stolen base occurs when a baserunner successfully advances to the next base while the pitcher is delivering the ball to home plate...

 or advance more bases in the event of a hit
Hit (baseball)
In baseball statistics, a hit , also called a base hit, is credited to a batter when the batter safely reaches first base after hitting the ball into fair territory, without the benefit of an error or a fielder's choice....

 may attempt to get a head start off their base before the pitcher
In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throwsthe baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the...

 throws his pitch. This may be risky, as the pitcher could throw the ball to the respective infielder, and if the runner cannot get back before the ball arrives in the hands of the infielder, the runner may be picked off
In baseball, a pickoff is an act by a pitcher or a catcher, throwing a live ball to a fielder so that the fielder can tag out a baserunner who is either leading off or about to begin stealing the next base....


In traffic

In traffic, at a red light
Traffic light
Traffic lights, which may also be known as stoplights, traffic lamps, traffic signals, signal lights, robots or semaphore, are signalling devices positioned at road intersections, pedestrian crossings and other locations to control competing flows of traffic...

, many motorists will start to inch up in anticipation of the light turning green (watching the signal of the perpendicular traffic). This will give them a head start on other motorists on the road.

In achieving a goal

A head start could be an improved start in an attempt to achieve some goal, such as in one's education or the completion of a task. In such cases, the head start is usually earned by working harder or by using more efficient means of reaching that point.
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