As many coaches prepare for the start of their outdoor seasons they start to wonder what drills they have in their coaching inventory and what level of experience their athletes have in the hurdles. A drill that we use at the Complete Track and Field Clinic that we find most useful for beginners and experienced hurdlers is called “Discounted Hurdling Drill or Shortened Hurdles Drill.”
This drill allows an experienced hurdler to work on the rhythm of the race, and a beginner to learn what it is like to three-step in a hurdle race.
Discounted hurdles can be spaced as far apart as you want but should not exceed the normal competition hurdle spacing. Early season spacing can start at 6.5m for girls, and 7.5m for boys. Mid-season spacing can be 7.25m apart for girls, and 8.00m apart for boys.
* Coaching Resource: Hurdle Acceleration & Program Design Considerations with Mat LeMaire
I recommend spending two weeks at a time working at a specific spacing before I increase the spacing 25cm with an experienced hurdler. A beginner looking to learn how to three-step may need to start with spacing less than 6.5m/7.5m, and you may also find that you need to spend more time at a specific spacing based on what you are seeing as the coach.
A common question is “How many hurdles should you have set up?” The answer would depend on what your use and intent is for this drill. A beginner looking to learn how to three-step might only have 3-4 hurdles set up. If you are using this for speed endurance training for an experienced hurdler you could set up a flight of 10-12 hurdles.
For coaches who train in limited space indoors, you could do a turn around. For example, when I had a hallway of 30m to train in we would do 3 hurdles down one side, and 3 hurdles back. This allowed us to get a total of 6 hurdles done in one repetition.
Always set the first hurdle at the first hurdle mark for competition spacing from the start line.
Program Design for 300 & 400 Hurdles
In the video provided below, the first hurdle is measured to the race spacing. Each hurdle after is spaced at 7.75m.
*** Press Play to see a sample of the special preparation phase of my annual plan: