Principles and Techniques of Hurdling
for the Hurdler
An eight stride pattern to the first hurdle is most common for hurdlers. Seven strides may be used by the rare strong hurdler. If a hurdler has a dominant left leg it should be used in the blocks as the lead leg. It will also be ussed as the take-off leg when clearing the hurdle. If this is the case then no adjustments need to be made.
The problem arises when you have a tall, strong athlete who finds eight strides place them to close to the hurdle. In this event, there is a need to change his block placement and place the right foot forward at the start.
Whether using a seven or eight stride pattern to the first hurdle, in each case the take-off should occur from 6 1/2 - 7 1/2 feet from the hurdle.
The arm opposite the lead leg reaches forward toward the toe of the lead leg. The opposite arm is brought back, bent at the elbow just as if it were part of the normal running stride. It should not be thrown to the side to aid in balance..
The uppder body leans forward into the hurdle to aid in sustaining momentum after the hurdle is cleared. The eyes remain looking forward to the next hurdle. If the body is held too upright on the clearance, the hurdler will have to raise his center of gravity higher to clear the hurdle. This will also cause the hurdler to be leaning back upon clearance, destroying momentum.
As the hurdler begins to clear the hurdle, the lead arm is rotated outward as if opening a door and brought down and back. This rotation will keep the elbow in to the body. This action will also cause the body to straighten and the lead leg to drop. The dropping of the lead leg causes the trail leg to come through more quickly. As with the lead leg the trail leg is brought through knee first with a high knee action. It passes under the lead arm which is passing back at this moment.
The opposite arm is now brought forward to aid in the preparation of the step toward the next hurdle. The foot should strike the track first on the outside and then roll inward and up onto the ball of the foot.
The main problem to avoid in clearing the hurdle is that of "floating" over the hurdle. The clearance must be an active one to maintain momentum and proper sprinting form.
The main mistake a hurdler will make is galloping between hurdles instead of sprinting in order to acheive the three strides. The stride must be quick and regularly spaced. By galloping, the hurdler is overstriding to much and will lose speed.