Tag Archives: Trail Leg

4 New Ideas For Coaching The Hurdles Clearance

Liven Up Hurdles Practise For Kids With These 4 New Learning Activities

I’m always searching for novel ways to “dress up” hurdles practice for kids.

Here are four of my most recent creations.

Hurdles Learning Activity 1

Lead & Trail Set Up

This activity simply adds a target (pegged half pool noodle) to traditional lead leg and trail leg step-past drills. Other “targets” (e.g. witches hats) may work just as well.

The targets help to externally cue the movement by orientating the direction of the lead and trail leg knees.

Activity 1: Lead Leg Step-Pasts

  • The athletes march past one side of the hurdles, performing a lead leg action alongside each hurdle with the leg closest to the hurdle.
  • With each lead leg action, the knee is lifted to point or “shoot” at the target (noodle).
  • Swap to the other side of the hurdles and use the other leg for the next effort.
  • Ensure that the kids don’t get lazy with a low lead knee and end up “shooting” the ground rather than the target.

Activity 2: Trail Leg Step-Pasts

  • The athletes march past one side of the hurdles, stepping past each hurdle with the outside leg and performing a trail leg action over each hurdle, using the leg closest to the hurdle.
  • Point the lead knee at the pool noodle as it is lifted to the front. Pull the trail leg over the hurdle and through until the trailing knee and the toes of the trailing foot point (“shoot”) at the noodle.
  • Swap to the other side of the hurdles and use the other leg for the next effort.
  • Ensure that the kids fully complete the trail leg action before lowering the foot to the ground.

Hurdles Learning Activity 2

Hurdles 90 degrees

This activity is designed to force the athlete into a target lead and trail leg technique.

  • The athletes step over the hurdle, leading with the leg nearest to the noodle. In this example, the child would lead with the left leg and keep to the right of the noodle.
  • The noodle helps to keep the lower leg vertical by preventing it from swinging wide to the left.
  • The two hurdles along the lane line guide the trail leg. i.e. The child is encouraged to”drag” the trail leg along the first hurdle and bring it down inside the second hurdle.

Hurdles Learning Activity 3

Hurdles Dot x2 Noodles

In this particular activity, the athletes simply step over the hurdles, touching down their feet on the dots (left foot on yellow, right foot on red) and avoid touching the hurdles and the pool noodles, which have been pegged into the ground. In this particular instance they lead with the right leg over both hurdles.

The dots on the ground guide the athletes’ feet, working as external cues, and in doing so, also influence the path of the lead and trail legs.

The pool noodles “squeeze” the athletes’ lead and trail leg action into a narrower corridor, making it less likely either foot will divert off course. The noodles ensure that neither leg is is swung too wide.

A combination of the dots and the pool noodles combine effectively to result in a basic lead and trail leg action, often with minimal verbal technical cueing from the coach.

Hurdles Learning Activity 4

Hurdles Noodle Constraint 2

This activity sees the kids run over the hurdles – completing a full lead and trail leg – while keeping between the noodles. As in the example above, the pool noodles “squeeze” the athletes’ lead and trail leg action into a narrower corridor, helping to ensure that neither leg is is swung too wide.

Over To You!

Get creative! Regardless of the activity that you are coaching, consider how you can introduce task constraints and external cues, and ramp up engagement in novel ways. I would love to hear what you come up with. Let me know by leaving a reply/comment or by using the contact details below.


If this post helped you please take a moment to help others by sharing it on social media. If you want to learn more I encourage you to leave questions and comments or contact me directly.


20150614_154020-1Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes and founder of the blog coachingyoungathletes.com. Learn more about him here and connect with him on TwitterFacebookLinkedin, Anchor or via email.

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