Written by Graham Knight, courtesy of UK Athletics
The Sprint and 400m Hurdles events are the most technically demanding single events in the track and field program. In both events the greatest requirement is speed, but the technical demands of efficient and precise hurdle clearances entail the most exacting preparation. The barrier clearances in the steeplechase add a technical element to the prerequisites of speed and endurance. In every event involving hurdle clearances, the athlete who crosses the barrier with the minimum disruption to the running rhythm will have an enormous advantage.
This book, written with care by Ted Grey and illustrated with athlete and coach in mind by Nic Christie, is a long overdue addition to the background material in the hurdle events. The authors take the development of the events from beginner to advanced level because they are both practitioners, who have used their own experiences as coaches as well as information acquired from books, courses, conferences, the internet, and the all-important interaction with fellow coaches and observation of well- prepared athletes.
The Northwood Academy came into being to help the development of hurdlers and their coaches. Hurdlers welcomed the opportunity to train with others of like ability and ambition, while coaches worked with other athletes and were able to share their ideas with others engaged in the same all-consuming “hobby.” It is one of the truisms of our sport that, while the athletes have an indefinite timespan, which depends on many factors, the coaches are usually in it for the long haul.
One of the best pieces of advice I received as a novice coach was that athletes will listen to words but that they will copy demonstrations. If a coach takes it upon himself to show “how,” the athletes will copy what they see with all the inherent dangers. Ted’s words provide an enduring point of reference, but Nic Christie’s illustrations complement them perfectly as well as taking the pressure off the coach to demonstrate the action.
Coaching is often said to be ART + SCIENCE. However, while this book is an addition to the scientific references for hurdling, the coach will still have to back his own judgment and to use the information acquired in an applied way to obtain the best results.
>> Click here for Hurdling for Young Athletes (PDF file, 11 Mb)