Fundamentals or Advanced Training? I don’t think drills are bad but they tend to fail to prove that they transfer as much as we think to believe. Some drills may have different effects on various athletes and various times of development. A drill at an early stage may teach a part but at advance levels may hinder change. Some drills are just physical tools to stretch or strengthen parts of the event and allow athletes to display their natural CPGs (central pattern generators). I am not of the belief that their must be accountability with drills as athletes like doing them as they are easier to find success in. Not running well? Do drills and work on technique. Coaching is not just plugging in a few cues or drills. I hope we should use the term derivative exercises more than drills to ensure we are not over drilling. I think banana hurdles are useful for athletes that are trying to work on running off the hurdles. Based on the research of top hurdling, the steps off the hurdles can be drain peformance by parasitic errors, such as departure angles and upper body mechanics.
Running over the small hurdles allows a gradual increase of frequency to be infused into the step patterns of 42 inches, so when the trail leg is fixed (technique wise) via take off angle, it can meet the ground when it lands without the common error of dropping of the center of mass and or have a slow step down. Drills can’t replicate this very much but they can allow a feeling that is right when the trail leg is fixed. Another problem with a take off angle that is too vertical is that is really adds a lot of stress to the body as the COM is too high, thus adding flight time and higher eccentric landings that can beat up a hurdler. I think that athletes should do more general eccentric work as well as correcting the departure angle of the take off. Many times a rushed take off will cause a vertical strike vs a vertical strike and roll, causing the trail leg not to bey delayed and slowing down the recoil of the elastic reflex. The flexors of the hip are stretched only when the pelvis and led leg create a split of the femurs, not jut having the right take off distance so the athlete needs to dive into the hurdle to create a good pelvic position.
There are no rules to mini hurdles but only specific rationale to use such a tool. Many drills are shown during documentaries of elite athletes and developmental athletes can be seduced into using them,and this, is a major problem. Perhaps that drill got them from 13.2 to 13.0 but would cause a 14.0 hurdler major problems as it may be inappropriate? We are currently using the banana hurdles for specific work of running off the hurdles and overclocking the step patterns between the hurdles. I am seeing improvements between the hurdles now but we then need to have the air mechanics sped up to keep the pace of the improved ground speed.