New Indicators in Hurdles- Drilling Down the Steps


As the 7 or 8 step controversy continues, I wanted to avoid that discussion until I have information to make a good decision on what I believe on who should do what. Direct Linear Transformation data from Pablo Gonzalez is interesting, since we can now look at pattens of how the three unique steps are behaving among multiple athletes and between men and women. Nothing earth shattering, but the nice thing is we are starting to get evolution from the brilliant Milan Coh study of Collin Jackson. I feel that in order to get more athletes in the 12.8 and under area, we need to see what role each step has and see what allows for more successful performances. If we look at the 12.80 by Aries, you can see that no one area was at a higher level than 20 years before, it’s just the entire race was more complete and he was rather error free and clean through the hurdles.

Are we running faster in the 110m because of 7 steps or are the faster 110m hurdlers choosing 7 steps? After reviewing the data we are seeing some slower taller sprinters not loosing ground because of the start while some former 8 step athletes are likely benefiting from more consistent acceleration patterns. What I propose is to see on a foot sensor to see how the take off (not touch down) is creating momentum over the hurdle. Are the times similar but the speed faster from having a more active and different take off distance? We need to think about hurdle 1 more as it sets up the race. Some think that hurdle 3 is the magic zone, but all parts of the race matter. My next investigation is how to get athletes to run better performances by compromising areas to have the whole better than just one aspect.

We need to see more than flight time and running time. Step length and placements are fine with microgait technology, but I am interested in how this is influenced by training and how testing can reveal why things are working or stagnating. What errors are just style differences and what mechanical things hurt speed in and out of the hurdle? When is an athlete using a 7 step approach to fix a step issue or when is one masking the problem? Future considerations will need to see causation and not correlation with why things are getting faster, not just 7 steps.

Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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