Coaches work closely with the skaters during races, particularly the longer distances, using pre planned schedules to help the skaters maintain consistent lap times. Before racing, skaters select a time that they feel they can skate, based on the weather, ice conditions, their physical capabilities, and the times the other competitors are skating. The key to a good long track performance is to skate each lap at the same speed. By comparing split times, which are taken each time the skater completes a lap, coaches can let the skaters know how they are doing. Coaches stand at the side of the track near the top of the backstretch and communicate verbally and with hand signals. Sometimes the coach simply calls out the lap time and the more experienced skaters convert it into a final time.