Hurdle Tips

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What plyometrics drills are helpful for hurdlers?

Skip Your Way to Better Hurdling

Not only hurdlers, but all runners and jumpers can benefit from one of the simplest plyometrics drills: skipping. Just like you did in elementary school, but with the goal of lifting your knees high enough so that your upper leg is parallel to the ground. Alternate legs, and continue “high skipping” for about 50 meters. Rest, and repeat 4-6 times after a workout. This drill will build leg strength and help hurdlers refine their technique. Skipping also can help runners achieve a more efficient stride and mitigate the distance runners' tendency to shuffle as they get tired late in a race.

   
What plyometrics drills are helpful for hurdlers?

Skip Your Way to Better Hurdling

Not only hurdlers, but all runners and jumpers can benefit from one of the simplest plyometrics drills: skipping. Just like you did in elementary school, but with the goal of lifting your knees high enough so that your upper leg is parallel to the ground. Alternate legs, and continue “high skipping” for about 50 meters. Rest, and repeat 4-6 times after a workout. This drill will build leg strength and help hurdlers refine their technique. Skipping also can help runners achieve a more efficient stride and mitigate the distance runners' tendency to shuffle as they get tired late in a race.

   
How can I get faster at running the hurdles?

Hurdles

Running hurdles is a technically difficult event, requiring superior coordination and clean form.

If you're serious about running hurdles, consider reading "The Science of Hurdling and Speed" by former Canadian Olympic coach Brent McFarlane. Many coaches recommend this book.

Many runners find that they gain the most in speed by working on their form. Younger runners especially can be so focused on simply clearing the hurdle, that form is forgotten.

One drill that may help is to set a hurdle - at regulation height - against a wall and practice "lead and trail legs." This exercise helps build good hurdling form by removing the "distraction" of running.

Go at the wall with your lead leg as if you were approaching the hurdle at a run. Your toes should be cocked up and your lead knee slightly bent when you make contact with the wall. At the same time, rise up on the toes of the trailing foot. Your back should be only slightly bent, and your shoulders square.

As you're doing this drill, bring your lead arm (the one opposite your lead leg) up to shoulder height, and bend the elbow at about 90 degrees - it should appear almost as if you could be about to look at a watch on your wrist. Your trailing arm should be cocked at about 90 degrees, with the hand at about your hip.

Remember not to look down at your knee. When you're racing, you should be looking ahead to the next hurdle as your clearing each one. Hurdlers who look down at their knees as they clear each hurdle have to reorient themselves with each hurdle they clear.

This may be a bit difficult to follow in writing. If you can, have an experienced hurdler demonstrate this exercise for you - it's a common one.

This drill can also help you with your four-step, since it allows you to practice leading with either leg.

Beyond that, practice, practice, practice. Set up a couple of low hurdles at regulation distance from one another and work at four-stepping between them.

   
Do all hurdlers train the same way?

The Hardest Race You'll Ever Run

Hurdles training is different for the high hurdles than it is for the longer, intermediate-height hurdles. High hurdlers need to be quick, fast like sprinters, yet even more flexible. The longer the legs, the easier it will be for the athlete to take the appropriate number of steps, three, between each hurdle.

Intermediate hurdles need to be as flexible and technically coordinated as the sprint hurdlers, but need to train more like quarter milers, because that is what the end of the 300m hurdle race feels like, except you still have to lift your legs over the hurdles to finish. Both high and intermediate hurdles should do the same drills and can warm up together.

   
Why should I try the hurdles?

One Leg at a Time

The hurdle events. Now, why would anyone invent a race where obstacles are actually put in your path, obstacles as high as your hips that you are expected to get over while not losing stride or tripping, and while running as fast as you can? It often seems like a crazy event.

The hurdles is one track and field event that combines speed, flexibility, coordination, strength, technique and conditioning like no other event. And, if you want to run an event that all track and field spectators watch, whether they favor the sprints or the distance races, run the hurdles and you'll be a star.

   
How can I get ready for hurdle coaching?

P, P, P, P

Plan, prod, prepare, practice. How do you get ready for hurdles coaching? Plan your workouts. Prod other coaches and talented athletes for information that can help your runners.

Prepare for the season by gathering all of the video materials, plyometric equipment, hurdle gear, etc. that you'll need. Practice explaining drills and workouts aloud to yourself or to other coaches to see how well you can articulate the technical aspect of your event before you try it out on your hurdlers.

   
What are the hurdle events?

Short or Tall?

What are the hurdle events? In high school track and field, they are the 100m high hurdles for girls, the 110m high hurdles for boys, and most often the 300m intermediate hurdles for both boys and girls (some high schools run the 400m hurdles).

In college, the high hurdle races are the same, though the height of the 110m hurdles for men is higher than it was in high school. The intermediate hurdles change to the 400m hurdles, the men's hurdler are again three inches higher, with ten hurdles over the course of the race. In indoor track there are no intermediate-height hurdle races, and the high hurdle races are either 55m or 60m, run on a straightaway.

   
What are some effective ways to teach hurdle technique?

Go to the Cinema

Do you like movies? If you are a hurdle coach, you had better like them because you'll need to watch a lot of film! Hurdle coaching is very technical. Not only do you have to be able to explain, possibly demonstrate, and know what hurdlers need to do with their limbs and for training, you also need to be able to visualize the small or sometimes big things that hurdle athletes are doing that are holding them back from progressing.

These things are often difficult to recognize at full speed, so filming athletes and critiquing their technique by viewing and showing film will allow you, the coach, to make sure you get it right, and will help the athletes get a picture of what they do need to correct.

   
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