From 4 to 3 (Part 2)

March 28, 2017

Scout Hayashi, the four-stepper transitioning to three-stepping that I blogged about last week, had another meet since that last post, and she did very well. Last week, she ran 16.81 hand-timed, which translates into 16.9, which translates into 17.14 automatic timing. This week, she ran a prelim and final, running 16.62 in the prelim and 16.49 in the final.

In last week’s race, on an asphalt track, she took eight steps to the first hurdle, and four between all the rest. In this week’s races, on a rubberized surface, she three-stepped the second hurdle before four-stepping all the rest. In the final, it looked like she was moving fast enough to three-step the third hurdle, which she acknowledged afterward. But because we hadn’t had a chance to get in any work together between last week’s meet and this week’s, she didn’t want to risk three-stepping beyond hurdle two.

The video above provides footage of her 16.49 race in the finals. She’s in lane three. Not visible in the video – in lanes five and six, next to the winner in lane four – are two girls Scout outran who both three-stepped all of the hurdles. Their three-step action was very effort-ful, with exaggerated arm action. This race therefore confirms my assertion that three-stepping in and of itself does not make a hurdler faster. If the three-step is a cumbersome three-step, then it can actually be counter-productive. When every stride is a reach, it’s time to rethink one’s approach. Even though four-stepping means taking more strides, it allows for a cut-step, which creates momentum into and off of each hurdle. Three-steppers who take bounding strides between the hurdles would probably be better off four-stepping at least part of the way.

With Scout, since we’ll be able to get in more practice time this coming weekend, we’ll work on maintaining the three-step through hurdle three, and maybe even hurdle four if things go well enough. As I discussed in my last blog post, we’ll work on getting her hands and knees higher between the hurdles.

Meanwhile, we’ll also work on improving her four-step. She’s having balance issues when she alternates, so we’ll need to work on keeping her arm action tighter over the hurdles. She is also clearing the hurdles higher than I would like, so we’ll need to work on lowering her clearance by having her drive her knee at the bar. We’ll also need to work more on getting her to stop locking her knee when she extends it. That’s with both lead legs. If these aspects of her hurdle clearance improve, her four-step will eventually get so fast that it will feel too crowded to four-step. That’s the point we want to get to.

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