Hurdling is, because of its technical and energy demands, an exciting and challenging event. The technical component of hurdling is clearly much greater than in sprinting, yet the concept of the hurdles race must be one of a sprint, with adjustment for each hurdle. The stride pattern for sprint hurdling is a 7 to 8 stride pattern to the first hurdle followed by a 3 stride pattern between the hurdles. Appropriate drills can be used to help develop the athlete's hurdling technique.
Sprint Hurdling Technique
The Start and Approach
In sprint hurdling the first hurdle is only some seven or eight strides away so the athlete must come upright at the 3rd or 4th stride, much earlier than the sprinter. To enable this to happen the block spacings will have to be slightly altered. When using an eight stride approach the take-off foot is placed in the front block.
The athlete must attack the hurdle and aim to clear it, by approx. 17 to 18 cm, as quickly and efficiently as possible, raising their centre of gravity only a little more than in a normal sprint action.
The last stride of the approach to the first hurdle is shortened in order to allow the take-off leg to move rapidly under the hips. This ensures that a fast effective drive can be made across the hurdle. . The take off distance is 1.98 metres to 2.29 metres (6½ to 7½ feet) from the hurdle. The body's centre of gravity is ahead of the foot on take off 
Action of the leading leg:
Action of the trailing leg:
Many young athletes have a tendency to drop the trail leg off to the side after it has crossed the barrier. This has the effect of making the first stride short and pulling the athlete off balance. The trail leg must be pulled through high and fast so that the first stride is fast  & .
As in sprinting, the arms act to balance the body and counter the rotations produced by the legs. The arm opposite to the lead leg actually leads the action into the hurdle and pushes/dives forwards as the lead leg rises . The other arm should be taken back in a normal sprinting action. As the trail leg comes round the leading arm swings back and wide to counter the rotation of the trail leg .
Running Between Hurdles
Three strides are used to cover the ground between the hurdles. To achieve this, the athlete has to modify his sprinting technique to make it fit the gap. A fast leg cadence and a shorter stride length is needed. The athlete may have to use a lower knee lift than in normal sprinting with an emphasis on leg speed. The correct range of movement and speed can be achieved by training over hurdles that are slightly closer together than normal.
Key Hurdling Points
The ratio of the distances from the hurdle for the take off point and landing point is approx. 3:1. e.g. the athlete takes off 3 metres from the hurdle and lands 1 metre past the hurdle.
Have a look at the Sprint Hurdles Photo Sequence of a young Colin Jackson and see if you can see the same key points.
Hurdling is dangerous on wet grass or any other slippery surface. It is also dangerous for children to run over hurdles in the opposite way to the correct running direction (i.e. with the feet of the hurdles on the far side).
It is important to help the athletes in the learning situation, by using adapted equipment, lowering the hurdles and altering the distance between hurdles.
Hurdles Touchdown Times
The following facility will provide you with some checkpoint hurdle touchdown times that can be used when aiming for a particular time goal for 100m Hurdles for women, 110m Hurdles for men and 400m Hurdles for men and women.
The calculations are based on the touch down down times of the top hurdlers at Olympic games. For a given finishing time the % of that time for each hurdle has been calculated and then averaged for a number of top hurdlers.
Enter the target time, select the event, for 400m hurdles select the gender and then click on the "Calculate" button.
A training program has to be developed to meet the individual needs of the athlete and take into consideration many factors: gender, age, strengths, weaknesses, objectives, training facilities etc. As all athletes have different needs, a single program suitable for all athletes is not possible.
The following is a basic annual training program for the 100 metre, 200 metre, 400 metre and the Sprint Hurdle events.
The specification for the hurdle height depends on the event distance, gender and age.
The following evaluation tests can be used to monitor the sprint athlete's development:
Rules of Competition
The competition rules for this event can be obtained from:
The reference for this page is:
The following Sports Coach pages should be read in conjunction with this page:
The following books provide more information related to this topic: