Thanks for your contributions Ryan and rcfan2.
I’m assuming this is a high school athletes or is this age group (USATF/AAU)?
While I’ve seen similar progressions in the high school kids – much of which is attributed to transitioning from 5 > 4 or hopefully 3 stepping – I’ve not really seen regression of that magnitude year to year. That said – almost all the girl’s I’ve coached seem to have a season where they plateaued – and struggled to match the previous season PR’s. There may be some regression – but it’s far less than a second. In most cases their bodies are changing – and it sometimes takes time for them to adapt. The boys seem to have a more linear improvement year to year (they tend to get bigger, stronger, smellier, hairier…hah, hah)…
Disclaimer – I typically had between 4-10 hurdlers (I coach both genders) per year…
Those are referencing high school athletes training year round. Probably would have been good to include that minor detail. 😛 For sure a lot of it has to do with kids switching down to 3 steps. Or in my cases, learning to three step well. Most of my kids don’t have their technical abilities match their physical abilities in the first year. That could be a flaw in my coaching, but I don’t think it is. Once an athlete’s technical abilities match their physical abilities, progression slows down quite a bit. Hurdles are a somewhat unique event in track and field for that reason, especially since there is a huge difference between the boys event and the girls event. Progression in girls is no easy feat for the reasons you’ve already alluded to.
The hurdle athletes at this school (https://www.athletic.net/TrackAndField/EventRecords.aspx?SchoolID=235) often train year round as part of a club and have seen improvements like I’m talking about. Predictions aren’t perfect, but if we match an athlete to where they are in the improvement curve we should have a good idea of what they can accomplish.
If these aren’t the improvement rates you see, what do you see? And could you specify if they train year round, only track HS track season, etc. Obviously, one athlete with 9 months training per year and one with 3 months training per year is not a fair comparison. I hope this thread will eventually see year to year and month to month progressions for a variety of events/levels/coaches.
EDIT: Another detail that I feel is overlooked about progression in hurdles is the speed of the athlete. If I have boy whose 100m progression might look something like 12.6->12.0->11.6->11.35 then yes I can see an obscene drop in hurdle times by year into the mid 14s. But if I have someone conversely who might be 13.0->12.5->12.2->12.0 then that athlete might never break into the 15s.