Thinking about how versatile hurdles (especially the mini “banana” hurdles) are in a speed and agility program has been on my mind I guess for the last couple weeks. In programming, I know I have sued them for jumps and hops (plyometrics) and also for quick feet drills when I speed and agility sessions over the last two summers at SST. Needless to say, I thought of them as quite a useful piece of equipment for these sessions! However, this year my ideas on some of this have changed because of two reasons which are related to one another:

1) As my training philosophy has developed, I’ve realized that I need to design programs or speed/agility sessions so that sport performance is improved, not just that a training effect is achieved.

2) Reading Coach Mike Boyle‘s book Functional Training for Sports, I once again learned something that left me with the “how did I not think of this already” thought in my head.

So, here’s my take on hurdles:

  • They are great for plyometrics!
  • Using them for quick feet shuffling-type agility drills promotes a high-knee, step-over typer action (the Ah-Ha moment out of Coach Boyle’s book), yet in sport, athletes will keep their feet low to the ground when shuffling to their right or left or taking crossover steps. If I want to train lateral movment or agility via shuffling or lateral running then I would rather opt to use a piece of equipment which lies flat on the ground so that the movement can be performed as it is in the sport.

To continue with this thought, it isn’t that I feel that these quick feet type drills don’t develop the intended result, just that after considering the athlete’s sport, it appears that there are better drill choices or pieces of equipment to use.

Anyways with that said, I realize I haven’t blogged in oh, AGES, so I’ll do my best to get back on track!