How to Fix a Lazy Hurdle Trail Leg

Posted by Latif Thomas

If you attend clinics and seminars with any degree of regularity, you know that some of the best information gets shared between sessions and at the social when talking shop with presenters and other coaches.

That’s why I think the Q&A aspect of Coach Veney’s new Advanced Hurdle Development program is extremely underrated.

Today, I’m sharing an exchange currently taking place between Coach Veney and a coach I know does an excellent job with his high schoolers. I left out the name of the coach and the link to the video he shares because we host these programs on secure, members only sites for a reason:

Coach: I have a girl who at touchdown looks great. The foot strike is underneath her hips and she really propels herself into her sprint coming off the hurdle. It’s funny though bc she definitely cast her next step out. It’s not driven back into the ground as it should. So my question is would these drills help her in learning to push back without screwing up her great TD leg? Am I over thinking this bc we are taught to look backwards for correction to faults.

A 'lazy' trail leg causes deceleration off of the hurdle.

A ‘lazy’ trail leg causes deceleration off of the hurdle.

Coach Veney: Coach, good question. If she is getting her foot underneath her center, is she slowing down when it happens. Her foot could land under her center but if it was just thrown out in front and her body merely caught up with it, then that’s a problem. There can’t be any casting since that means something is thrown out in front and stops moving for a moment. I believe you should examine the program to see if it suits your needs. It is far more comprehensive than the first one so be ready to dig in. The fact that your hurdler has been able to get her foot down is good but you’ve got to get them to run the foot from the hip into the ground and not from the knee down into the ground.

Coach: I dont think she is slowing down on her TD. Its the step after that where she is casting. If you have time heres the video. the :30s mark is where you get the best view: (Log In to see the athlete video clip)

Coach Veney: Boy, where do I start? She does so many things well first of all.
1. Here trail leg stays nicely folded and the left arm moves well timed up with the trail leg.
2. Her touch downs are nicely vertical.
3. the last two hurdles her cut step is pretty good going into the hurdle
4. pushes off and leaves the trail behind her (nice).

1. She falls away from the direction of the run (leans back)going into the take off.
2. The take off appears to be on top of her take off foot, but the touchdown is casted and waits for her body to catch up with her foot. She needs to pull the foot under her center with the hip but instead lets it wait on the ground to come up and hit her.
3. Straight lead leg flip and her foot continues to rise even after it passes the top of the hurdle board (causing her to float).
4. Even though her trail leg is folded nicely coming off the hurdle, she lets the trail foot reach out as if trying to cover more distance between the hurdles. This instead, creates braking forces when her trail foot lands in front of her center.

As soon as she sees her lead hand in front, she must begin to work the ground. If she can clean up some of the errors leading to the take-off, she will really start to fly. She has really good upside potential. What’s her PR?

She is slowing on her TD for the first 3 hurdles but her last 2 are pretty good. I forgot to ask: what’s the spacing on the hurdles?

Coach: Spacing on that one was 7.8m

Wow…thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it. Her PR is 15.33. Just a junior. So, I’m just trying to get out of her way to a degree bc shes still pretty young.

Again, thanks a ton

Coach: So, based on what you are saying about a small number of drills and hammering them thus, allowing her to adjust properly. I’m thinking that the hurdle runoff and the box drop hurdle run off will help her the most with the aforementioned issues we talked about.

Coach Veney: She is still loading up going into the hurdle so a 1.90-2.0m tape before each hurdle is going to very helpful. Every error we see comes from the take-off. The run off drills will help but we have to work out what happens before that. She looks good at 7.8. The shuffle boards will help as well because it forces you to put your foot down into the ground rather than just leaving it out there.


Good stuff, right?

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Latif Thomas - Latif Thomas owns and operates Complete Track and Field and serves as the Co-Director of the Complete Track and Field Clinic at Harvard University, the largest track and field clinic in the United States. A popular speaker and presenter at some of the largest coaching clinics across the country, Latif has true passion for the sport and it definitely shows. Over the past 19 years, he has coached more combined League, Division, All-State, and New England Champions in sprints, hurdles, and jumps than he can count. Follow @latif_thomas on Twitter.

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