Just switching the blocks to go to 7 steps is at first the easy view, but the strides cut down to get 8 is a motor pattern series that is ingrained with many hurdlers in their early 20s. I do think 7 steps is the future for taller hurdles, but switching to 7 is an enigma because 7 steps was abnormal, and now it looks to be a common theme with elite hurdlers under 13.0. I am new to the 7 step world as I have never done this successfully so I will share my experiences versus wisdom on the issue. Here are three observations.
The step distances require a little more air time and the rate of rising the posture has less time to play with. I need data on Robles and others to see what postural angle they are taking off on because it’s different than the 8 step take offs. How much I am not sure of. The air time is so small it takes a lot of reps to feel like more of a 100m sprinter than 110m hurdler. Timing is suggested to give immediate feedback of the feeling of 7 steps versus the reality of what they are doing. Take of distances is easy, but speed is not.
The abrupt change from a slower frequency of 7 steps to shuffling is a major contrast and athletes can’t get going by hurdle three, they must change before hurdle two! Athletes need immediate change and must be exposed to challenges in order to be comfortable. I don’t have a solution here.
Athletes need to be brave. Setting up a Tall banana hurdle or similar at first may make this an easier transition. We use a 36 inch hurdle and timing the distances between seven steps and eight is vital to show athletes doing 7 steps in practice versus racing with 7 steps. Many can go 90% 7 steps easily. Blind faith to the first hurdle is even worse with 7 because they are use to the comfortable feedback. Athletes need to be timed in order to have accountability with fear.