COACHING THE SPRINT HURDLES
By: Tony Veney
USATF Women's Sprint Development
of the Sprint Hurdles
the difficult areas to manage as a coach is the development of
your sprint hurdlers (110 meter High Hurdles / 100 meter High
Hurdles). The books out there will give you plenty of technical
things to learn and apply, but what I want to touch on is the
practice session itself. One of the biggest problems continues
to be the fact that we take our best sprinters and sprint them
and then take our second-tier sprinters and hurdle them. We must
test all sprinters for hurdling and take advantage of all the
explosive work hurdling gives the sprinter. Some of this country's
best sprinters were also hurdlers and despite the problems that
come from mixing the two, you must be a top "flight sprinter"
(I did not say world-class) to be a great hurdler. Now, if the
sprinter shows no aptitude or heart to be a hurdler, then you
are wasting your time trying to get them over the sticks.
14-day plan and stick to it, attempting to get in as much work
as possible over the barriers. And by the way, let's refer to
them as sticks rather than barriers, which has a more negative
label. Two weeks is better than one-week plans because you can
break your plan down into the following:
Eliminate 2 Sundays
b. Eliminate 2 days of rest
after the hard days
c. Eliminate 4 days for competition
(2 meets per week)
d. Eliminate 4 days for medium
e. 2 days to run over the
sticks really hard
sprinters should be careful that the coach remembers that the
meets constitute hard days and that will leave you time to only
run hard one day that week with a dual meet and Saturday invitational.
The hard running the stick sprinter gets during the two meets
per week will give them all the speed endurance work they need,
so you can get your stick specific work on Mondays. An example
of a possible cycle could be:
Warm-up Drills - with goal for the week's work to be acceleration
3x30m @ 95% with 3 minutes rest Short jumps (standing long/triple/3-5
bounds) 3x3 each 4-6 starts over 2H set at 7.8 women/8.5 men apart
and 27-30" women/33-36" men 4-6 starts over 4H set at 7.8/8.5
apart and 27-30" 33-36" high. This is all that you do--this does
not look like much work to some, but if it's done right, you have
worked very well. And with two meets this week, you have had a
Relaxed tempo runs - 100's/150's or 180's or pool workout Handoffs
Meet day and the stick sprinter may sprint both stick races and
because they possess good coordinative ability; they also make
good long jumpers.
Same as Tuesday.
Rest day or walk-through day - swimming or handoffs/starts
Relays (maybe both)
Same as last week's start practice, except using a weighted vest/uphill/pulling
Same as last week.
the sticks low and close will allow the stick sprinter to keep
the sticks coming at you in a competition fashion. A "Competition
Factor" (C.F.) must be planned for at practice so you can keep
the level of focus as high as possible. You cannot expect them
to run regular spacing over the regular stick height. You only
ask for one hard race at a meet, so how can you expect to get
reps at practice over the same thing?
keeping the sticks low and close, you keep the movements as fast
as you need them to be for a competition, and the spacing and
height of the sticks is close enough to require regular stick
movements. This is just a thumbnail sketch for the sticks. You
can tow over sticks, uphill sticks, downhill sticks, tire sticks,
sticks into/against the wind, or wearing a vest.
the second week is done, you can decide that flat running away
from the sticks is needed to work on the top end. So use the medium
days to work on technical aspects of the sticks. Also, when you
finish your non-sticks workout, finish up with some stick running
so you can still build on your stick rhythm. When you run with
stepover mechanics, it takes you away from the shuffle rhythm
that is so characteristic of the sticks. This is why stick running
after a full sprint workout helps to reinforce the stick rhythm.
Running your stick sprinters on the first and third legs of the
relay are positions that require quicker rhythm and is more conducive
to assisting the stick movements.