If I have a “thing”, coaching hurdles is it. It is the combination of the technical/art and, perhaps selfishly, the need to have an observer/coach when hurdling which means I always have something to do.
I have had the very good fortune along the way to attend clinics where G. Winckler and Boo Schexnayder were both presenting and I wish I was involved earlier so I could have met instead of just reading Wilbur Ross’s work. As well I count many other IMO very good hurdle coaches among mentor contacts.
I mention those names not to name drop but with each of those contacts and those unnamed, my thinking regarding teaching hurdles changed, sometimes a bit, sometimes a lot and much on this website has gone into reinforcing or debating certain aspects. So I find this discussion very interesting, thanks all.
I have found, generally, once there is a basic understanding (knowing how similar good running mechanics and hurdling are, lead/trail of both arms and legs primarily through what are most often described as hurdle drills but very much so that further coaching using those reference points is clear) and when you can see there is no fear in using speed going at a barrier, that overall time is better spent doing “full” hurdle runs (various rhythms, various heights and including in a mix of lead legs). But then, as the athlete advances, I suspect (this is where a particular athlete I have in mind is at right now) the need for more exact “drills” returns.
A personal situation I recall that I will likely never forget was going to a camp with quite a few other competent age group hurdlers where the progression of the camp lead all athletes through various drills. The athlete I coached was among those least proficient but not as it turns out because he was not a good advanced but beginning hurdler, but because it is not our/my MO to spend tons of time doing “drills”. He knows the “basics” but I view my job as helping to get him over hurdles to be competitive not to have him be the “best” at any particular drill. I use hurdle drills, as Mike mentioned above, far more often for mobility than actual hurdle specific work.
I must say one of the very common things I have seen that I have not “understood” is doing a lot of hurdle work beside/adjacent to the hurdle (as opposed to going over the center). The explanation given, that it allows you to focus on that or fewer aspects at once, I understand but I am sorry, I just have trouble convincing myself to agree with it. One of the basic premises is to make training as similar to competition as possible and I just do not “get” how being able to go at near full speed beside yet “at” a hurdle and then just do lead (or trail) has advantages compared to going over the center. Am I being that obtuse?