Hurdle dilema

by Alex J.
(Spuce Grove, Alberta)

My friend is doing hurdles and i feel really bad because she can't do them. So i thought Every time she tries, she knocks over ALL of them... Do you have any suggestions of how she could get better? Her track meet is June 18, so i plan to help her before then.

Thanks for your help!

I wish I could help you more, but I can only guess at what is causing the problems as she hurdles. I'll go into the two most likely causes for knocking the hurdles all around.

First - Is she getting her lead leg up high enough as she runs? This leg is the one you stick right out in front as you do the hurdles. If her timing is off she will jump too late and the front of her foot will kick this part of the hurdle. I really suggest measuring off the start of the race and getting the steps down exactly. She should know exactly how many strides it should take her to get to the first hurdle so she jumps on the same leg each time she approaches this first hurdle. If she is off on the first hurdle, she will be off for the rest of the race most likely.

If she starts to get this first hurdle down, then start extending her practice runs to two, three, or even four hurdles to get a good rhythm.

The second thing that could be slowing her down if her trail leg is banging the hurdle. You have to really be flexible with your trail leg to make sure it is really flat. If your knee is down at all, it can wack the hurdle as you pass.

Make sure you do a lot of stretches like the butterfly, or the "hurdler's stretch" to get used to that bent leg being very high as you run.

This is pretty much all the advice I can give you. One thing you do have on your side is time. If your friend is serious about doing the hurdles and doing them well, she should practice this at least five days a week. If she starts to get it, her confidence will grow. If this is just something she will practice maybe once or twice before the race begins, she won't do well.

Practice as much as you can between now and then!

Happy Trails - Coach Tief

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