One idea I’ve been stressing to coaches this year is that workouts don’t teach the skill of acceleration (like this hurdle push drill does!). Or top end speed. Or sprinting in general.
Instead, the ‘workouts’ we use in practice are the byproduct of specific skills we are trying to teach to our sprinters.
This is a critically important distinction!
The more tools you have (and the greater the variety of tools) in your toolbox, the easier it will be for you to teach your sprinters how to accelerate properly. And the easier it will be for them to learn.
To accelerate efficiently, consistently and violently, sprinters must not only be able to *push* their leg down and back, but also *punch* the swing leg knee forward in a piston-like, scissoring action.
For the coach and the athlete – easier said than done.
One of my favorite new hurdle push drills for helping athletes *feel* this pushing/punching action is a drill I call the Cusano Hurdle Push Drill. It’s named after Wheaton College (MA) Head Coach (and 2012 CTF Clinic Sprints Instructor) Dave Cusano.
He adapted the idea from his time as a member of the United States bobsled team! It really clicked in my mind when he said, “Either you’re pushing the bobsled or it’s pulling you.”
I like that!
In this video, you can see me using the hurdle push drill in practice. And not just with one athlete, but how I do it in the real world where I have over 70 kids in my group.
In order to maximize the benefits of this drill, there are some specific things you must teach, cue and correct or else it will quickly devolve into a bunch of kids goofing off with hurdles. And Coach Thomas doesn’t tolerate that kind of crap on speed days!
If you want to know exactly how Coach Cusano teaches and progresses the hurdle push drill, as well as how I use it with my high school kids, it will be taught, practiced and explained in detail by Coach Cusano at this summer’s 2012 Complete Track & Field Summer Clinic.
If you haven’t registered yet, I highly recommend you do so today!