by Nicolette Mok
Hurdling may seem daunting, but as long as you familiarise yourself with a specific rhythm, you’ll realise that leaping over the hurdles is not as challenging as it might seem. To get into this rhythm, you should begin by practising some basic hurdling step drills.
To start, prepare three to four mini plastic hurdles. These will help you get better accustomed to the correct fundamental steps without the fear of hitting the full-sized hurdles. It is important that newcomers to this event get used to the rhythm so that they do not end up hesitating in front of the actual hurdles.
The number of steps taken varies among individuals, but most novices start out with a five-step preparation. Photo: SportSG
Line the small hurdles up in a row in front of you, spacing them as you would the full-sized ones in a 100m (women’s)/110m (men’s) event – typically around eight to nine metres apart. The steps and rhythm that you’re about to practise should not differ from what you would use with full-sized hurdles.
Decide on the lead leg that you will be using to cross the hurdles. In most cases, a person’s lead leg is the one that’s opposite of his or her master hand. If you are a right-hander, then you would probably be leading your steps with your left leg.
Stand a distance away from the first mini hurdle and place your lead leg behind your trail leg. Take your first step using the your lead leg before moving into a five-step run before crossing the first hurdle. Note that these five steps do not include an extra preparatory one before the jump.
Plastic hurdles make it easier for beginners who are learning how to hurdle, and helps to build confidence in the process. Photo: SportSG
The number of steps taken varies among individuals, but most novices start out with a five-step preparation, before progressing to the three usually taken by world-class athletes, as demonstrated by Team Singapore hurdler Kerstin Ong in the above video. To facilitate your internalisation of the routine, try counting out loud while working on your drills.
Once you’ve gotten the rhythm and are more confident of tackling higher hurdles, try out different drills using the full-sized ones!
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