Hurdling is an exciting and challenging event because of its technical and energy demands. The technical component of hurdling is much higher than in sprinting, yet the concept of the hurdles race must be one of a sprint, with adjustments 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. The block spacings will have to be slightly altered to enable this to happen. The takeoff foot is placed in the front block using an eight-stride approach.
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 slightly more than in a usual sprint.
The last stride of the approach to the first hurdle is shortened to allow the takeoff leg to move rapidly under the hips. It ensures that a fast-effective drive can be made across the hurdle.  The takeoff distance from the hurdle is 1.98 metres to 2.29 metres (6½ to 7½ feet). The body's centre of gravity is ahead of the foot on takeoff. 
The action of the leading leg:
The action of the trailing leg:
Many young athletes tend 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 leads the action into the hurdle and pushes/dives forwards as the lead leg rises . The other arm should be taken back in normal sprinting action. As the trail leg comes around 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 are needed. The athlete may have to use a lower knee lift than in normal sprinting with an emphasis on leg speed.
Key Hurdling Points
The ratio of the distances from the hurdle for the takeoff 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.
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 vital 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 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 touchdown times of the top hurdlers at the Olympic games. For a given finishing time, the % of that time for each hurdle has been calculated and then averaged for several top hurdlers.
Enter the target time, select the event, select gender and then click on the "Calculate" button.
A training program has to be developed to meet the athlete's individual needs and consider 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 an annual training program for the 100 metres, 200 metres, 400 metres and Sprint Hurdle events.
The specification for the hurdle height depends on the event distance, gender and age.
Sprint Hurdles Men
Low Hurdles Men
Sprint Hurdles Ladies
Low Hurdles Ladies
The following evaluation tests can be used to monitor the sprint athlete's development:
Rules of Competition
The competition rules for this event are available from:
If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is: