Developing the HS Sprinter/Hurdler/Jumper

Developing the HS Sprinter/Hurdler/Jumper

Posted by Latif Thomas

Last winter, when I spoke at the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches annual clinic, one of my talks was about how to effectively coach the kid who competes in the sprints, hurdles and jumps — a sprinter/hurdler/jumper. Or, at the very least, more than one event group.

Chances are that your athletes, especially your top kids, compete in multiple event groups and finding a safe and effective training balance is one of your biggest challenges.

Based on the positive feedback from the presentation, I was asked to cover this topic again and will do so at the 2012 US All Star Track & Field Clinic in Atlantic City. This particular session is scheduled for 11am on Thursday, December 13.

In my two years at my current school, athletes have set 20 school records in the sprints/hurdles/jumps, as well as the Team Heptathlon State Title in 2011.

I thought I would share the first few slides of that presentation with you today. I’m considering turning this into a full on program so if you’re interested in more on this topic, leave your feedback and, of course, attend the clinic in AC in December!


– Latif Thomas

Follow me on Twitter: @latif_thomas

Latif Thomas owns and operates Complete Track and Field and serves as the Co-Director of the Complete Track and Field Clinic, the largest track and field clinic in the United States. A popular speaker and presenter at some of the largest coaching clinics in the country. Over the past 15 years, he has coached more combined League, Division, All State and New England Champions in the sprints, hurdles, and jumps than he had the emotional strength to go back and try to count. Follow @latif_thomas on Twitter

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  • amy cook

    Want more. Probably biggest challange at small understaffed school is covering all the bases. AMy

    • Latif Thomas

      @amy cook:

      I know exactly what you mean! I will address this topic more often in my articles/videos/emails and also begin turning it into a viable coaching resource. Thanks for the feedback!

  • Joe Lykes

    I would be very interested in a full program for jumps, hurdles sprints. I have been doing this for forty two years successfully but am always looking for others ideas and approaches.
    Many of or athletes are ranked high in multiple events state wide and I also have some kids who participate in multi events and do well. A comprehensive program layout would be one I am very interested in. Thanks, Joe Lykes – Track and Field Coach – Colts Neck HS

    • Latif Thomas

      @Joe Lykes:

      I’m on it! If you have specific questions let me know so I can make sure they get addressed.

  • Carl Law

    Please make this into a program

    • Ian

      Hey Latif,

      Looking at this late, but I really enjoyed it.

      Have an 17 year old female athlete.. 100m (low 12s), 200m, LJ (18s), TJ (36s). Her fourth year on the team. Want to minimize injury risk, and not having her hopping around from one coach to the other in practice. League meets on thursdays, which make things a little awkward. This presentation seems to address exactly that. If you have any more insight/advice on what to do, that would be greatly appreciated.

      • Latif Thomas


        I’ll post more of the presentation after I give it in Atlantic City later this week. With Thursday meets you will have to consider the meet as part of training so it will be just a heavy neuro day so I would go real easy on Friday and then get back into it on Saturday. You may consider changing the weekly training structure such that the Thursday meet is the equivalent of the Saturday meet in a traditional set up. To minimize injury risk you are going to have to make sure all of the workouts between event groups are synchronized to address the same energy systems each day. I refer heavily to this program when writing my workouts and progressions:

  • Galen Carlile

    Good start! As a jump coach, I get frustrated when I never see the sprinter/jumper. I have been thinking on how to solve this problem.

    In light of “some sprint related material each day (including acceleration work) and days for neural, general, and extensive what would your workout for 1 week look like considering these factors?

    • Latif Thomas

      @Galen Carlile:

      Week 1 probably isn’t a good example because it’s more of a general ‘let’s see what I have and do some general conditioning’. But, at the HS level, I’m a big believer in a heavy foundation of general biomotor development and teaching posture and technique. So, generally speaking, for a true jumper, i.e. someone who is going to jump for points at the state meet, my ‘week 1′ is something like:

      M: Accel work. Short horizontal plyos. Lift
      T: Jump Runs
      W: Easy day where they probably just learn/review RunRunJumps
      TH: Resistance work or possibly measure approaches off runway. Low intensity plyos. Lift
      F: Some type of tempo. Probably 150s and then skip for height/distance
      SA: Set up/take off drills and some extremely basic HJ mat drills
      SU: Off

  • Julie Gilchrist

    I have been coaching a 15 yr old boy who I noticed at a school athletics carnival 3 months ago. He has had no athletic training previously and his Long jump PB was 4.95m. He has been increasing his jumps consistently until a few weeks ago when he went from 5.73 to 6.39 (he fell back onto his hand so his jump was actually around 6.70) and won the state title for his age group. This was his first major competition. Nationals are in 2 weeks. In the time since I have not been able to get him to replicate it. His approach is consistent and he hits the board relatively well each time. What would you suggest I focus on for the next little while? Help!

  • Mark Hoffman

    Looking for feedback on my current program. I’m the head coach and also coach sprinters. I have a jumps coach and a hurdle coach. We all share kids and do most of the workouts together. The assistants are in charge of technique drills. I handle the overall speed/conditioning. The layout is like this during the early and middle parts of the season.
    M – Technique, Speed Endurance, Strength
    T – Extensive Temp (Intervals)
    W – Recovery Running/Stretching, Strength, Pool
    R – Technique, Speed, Strength
    F – Meet Prep
    S – Competition
    You can see we have three technique days. Some years we have had the kids do both in the same day. Not full technique workouts, but part of each. Like Latif says, it was very difficult to make sure kids didn’t overdo one or both and get injured. Another year, my top four high jumpers were also our top three hurdlers. So we switched to saying, “Today is hurdle priority day.” or “Today is jumps priority day.” The only day they would do both would be Friday and then only sparingly so as not to get fatigued for the meet the next day.
    Not sure which of these methods worked the best. We’ve had some decent depth in the jumps the last few years (swept the conference relays in long, triple, and high). Downside is the 400 times have not been very good as more time has been spent on technique and short speed.
    I have CST2 and Latif’s presentation on training the 400. Will be watching the 400 material in the coming weeks and have viewed most of CST2. Very helpful. Any other sharing for what coaches are doing to develop a complete program would be much appreciated.

    • Latif Thomas

      @Mark Hoffman:

      I’m confused by some of your terminology. Monday you say ‘technique’ but also speed endurance. You do both on the same day? Tuesday you say ‘Extensive Tempo’ but Wednesday you have recovery running. I consider ET to be recovery running so can you clarify that a bit? Also, why only one speed day for jumpers and sprint hurdlers?

      Not trying to question your programming, I just can’t find the pattern in the set up so I can’t really give very good advice.

  • John

    Hey Latif,

    I just wanted to ask you a question. Im coaching a high school kid, he is a sprinter and he was running really fast and good, unfortunately he got injured and missed 2 weeks of training due to this injury. This is mid in the track season. How long will it take for him to get back as he was before getting injured? I mean how many weeks of training till he get at his best again?


    • Latif Thomas


      Ultimately that depends on how big his training base is. The longer (overall in life as well as this season) he has been training the more quickly he will return to ‘pre injury’ shape. But, assuming he is no longer constrained, mentally or physically, by the injury, he should be back to ‘his best’ in 2-3 weeks. But, again, that is a guess based on many generalities as I do not know anything about this particular athlete.

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  • James

    Thank you sir. Please turn this into a full program. At our public high school, which employs two coaches for a 100-man track team, our greatest difficulty is training our hurdler/jumper/sprinters.
    Ideally, could you please provide an example workout plan for the tri-athlete (400IH-LJ-TJ-200-400)? At institutions like ours, there’s not much foundation, so our best athletes have less of a chance pursuing college careers.

  • Don

    I would very much be in favor of turning this into a full program. There really isn’t a whole lot of info concerning multi-event training for the high school athlete. You can, for example, find some info on what Jessica Ennis is doing for her training, but that doesn’t really translate over to training high schoolers. I have a daughter who is interested in the heptathlon, and last year as a sophomore in high school she high jumped 5′ 7″, ran a 15.2 100m hurdles, and long jumped 19′ 2″. She has some ability as you can see, but the direction and planning she needs for her practices is uncertain at best. And she wants to start pole vaulting this year as well. So any help we can get to have her moving in the right direction with her training would be awesome! So please put a program together!

  • Latif Thomas


    I’m glad to help point you in the right direction, but I simply don’t have the time to write out a full season plan for a multi eventer, especially without knowing specific details such as primary event, age, etc. With this type of athlete, hurdle technique is going to be the least important technical skill to develop so I would focus my efforts on the lactic tolerance qualities required in the 2/4/4IH, do approach work in lieu of traditional speed days and spend your strength & power development time on the bounding skills the athlete/s need/s to be effective off the board and through the TJ phases. But, if you ask specific questions I can give more specific answers.

  • Latif Thomas


    Wow!! Great performances! Where do I get some girls like that!? You’re correct in your assertion that following Jessica Ennis’ program is probably not the best course of action. A program I highly recommend that addresses the jumps training (but not technique), the bulk of her speed work, strength & power development (but not hurdle tech) would be this program:

    It’s based on the jumps, but, for examples, my hurdlers and jumpers do the same plyos on the same days (not always, but mostly always). Point being, the commonalities between events are close enough that this program can serve as the model. Outside of CST2, it is the resource I go to most often for ideas, etc.

  • Michael Grether

    Yes, this would make a great program. Then again, all of your programs are great.

    Speaking of which… anyone here in the Raleigh, NC Area? I am looking for a jumps coach and would love to have another Latif follower on staff.