When I was a young(er) coach, I thought the key to developing good hurdlers was to teach a lot of hurdle drills.
Trail leg slide this. Walk overs that. Five step trail leg half hurdle this. One step lead leg half hurdle that.
Then I started talking to Tony Veney. He said to focus on a handful of specific hurdle drills that will give you more bang for your buck. To make sure they’re taught a specific way and practiced a specific way.
That hurdle drills are important, but drills are just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to making your hurdlers faster.
Once I backed away from being primarily a hurdle drill tweaker and focused on the speed, power, psychology and workout planning element of the event, I started getting much better results.
But I know what you want. You want the frosting. Because it looks nice and tastes delicious. So, today, I’ll give you what you want. Something you can practice. Or show your athletes so they can learn on their own.
Later in the week I’ll show you how to make a cake. But today, frosting. So here are the first two hurdle drills in Tony Veney’s hurdle progression.
Veney spent six seasons (2003-09) at UCLA as an assistant coach for sprints and hurdles. Veney established himself as one of the premiere hurdles and sprints coaches in the nation. Fifteen Bruins earned either indoor or outdoor All-American status under Veney. He also coached six Pac-10 Champions and four NCAA West Regional Champions. Veney also served as the recruiting coordinator at UCLA.
Before joining the North Carolina A&T Aggie Family, Veney’s latest coaching position was as the head men’s cross country and head men’s and women’s track and field coach at Ventura Community College. His other collegiate experience includes stints at Portland State (2001-03), the University of Oregon (1998-01) and Cal State Los Angeles (1996-98).
Veney began his coaching career in 1976. He served as Occidental College’s head women’s track and field and cross country coach until 1979. In 1983, he returned to the college ranks as the assistant track and field and cross country coach at Cal State Northridge. In 11 seasons, Veney coached three NCAA National Champions, 33 NCAA All-Americans and 15 conference champions.
A USATF Level I, II and III Clinician and certified USATF Master of Coaching, Veney has produced two sprint and hurdles training videos, has written two sprint and hurdles training manuals and published a sprint/hurdle book called “Conditioning for Track & Field.”
There is also an international component to Veney’s background. Veney was the head women’s coach for Team USA at the Goodwill Games in Brisbane, Australia in 2001. Eleven years earlier, he was the Olympic Festival Sprint Coach. Veney was also the sprints coach at two Pan American Games, the 1991 Junior Pan Am Games in Kingston, Jamaica, and the 1995 Senior Pan Am games in Mar Del Plata, Argentina.
Veney graduated from UCLA in 1976 with a B.A., degree in history. As an athlete for the Bruins, he was a part of two Pac-8 and NCAA Championship teams.