All-American in 14 Months – Alexis Sumpter

Alexis learned to hurdle only 14 months ago.

3 stepping

She learned to take 8-steps to the 1st hurdle

She learned to 3-step in between the rest of them,

and she did well enough to run a best of 13.12s over the 80 meter hurdles, at the USATF Youth National Championships.

That was last year.

This season she picked up where she left off, ingraining good habits with

cycle drills,


Meeting 1x a month from NovemberFebruary, we focused primarily on Cycle Drills.

Cycle – 15ft apart to start

One-Step – 6ft apart to start

Cycle ladder – 11-13-15-17ft apart to start

On day 1 she was looking very crisp, and I was happy to see she’d retained much of what she learned from season 1.


Jammed Hurdling

In March and April we began performing more Jammed Hurdling. First to 3, then to 5 hurdles, and finally over 7 hurdles. She began with the hurdles approx. 24ft apart and never once ran over the full-race distance.

Jammed April

Had we met more often she surely could have had a a few weeks or so at race distance, but with little time to work and races every weekend, I had to ensure she continued to develop the habit of SPEED in between the hurdles, and that meant keeping the hurdles close.

Jammed June

Jammed July

The objective with jammed hurdling is always to develop the habit of moving faster in between the hurdles.

We want more “reacting” and less “hurdling” as the season progresses, and races should begin to feel like a long RUSHHHHHH to the finish line.

The biggest key for Alexis was simply getting enough days to practice, and surely enough she continually progressed as the weeks went on.

7-Stepping & Hurdle Endurance

In June and July we began with heavy 7-stepping. By now I had noticed that her arms were causing imbalance issues, but it was far too late to make any real changes. Championship season was right around the corner, and the focus had to remain speed in between those hurdles.

7-Stepping is how I instill courage in my hurdlers, and this season we were able to get about a handful of 7-stepping session in all season.

jammed & 7 stepping

The key when setting this workout up is to first set them up.

Hurdles 1-6

Then simply remove 1 hurdle to create a 7-step zone.

Although the technique was falling apart with the 7-stepping, Alexis did a very good job of attacking the hurdles, and forcing herself to “react” at full-speed.

Understand that things do not have to be perfect.

Things will never be perfect.

Alexis fell, and fell some more, but her ability to continue to stand up and try again has allowed her to climb the ranks as one of the nations very best young hurdlers and finish All-American in only her 2nd season hurdling.

I suspect you will see a LOT more from her in the coming seasons, and I will keep you updated right here on

AAU all american 5th place

AAU 5th place

The 2017 AAU 13yo Girls 100m All-Americans!

A 15.04 personal best in her first year over the 1oom hurdles (13-14yo age group), and next season I’m already thinking 13s!

Last season (2016) she got a taste for nationals in her first season as an 80m hurdler

This season (2017) she got a taste of those finals at the national championships.

and I suspect she will soon have an appetite for GOLD in her 3rd season as a sprint hurdler (2018).

So what will be the focus during the off-season?

  • The Cut-Step
  • The Arms
  • & The Trail-leg

Her arms need lots of work over the fall training season. Lots and lots and lots of reps is the cure.

Arms need work

She’ll also need to continue working the cut-step when performing her cycle drills.

The trail-leg will bring it all together and allow her to truly SPRINT off of those hurdles and onto her own level where she gets out ahead and pulls away from the competition.

working trail leg

It will take lots of work and lots of reps, and a greater commitment to perfection than this past season, and so long as she keeps showing up and giving her 100%, I will continue to help her climb the ranks to be the very best 100m hurdler in the world!

Alexis Sumpter

Alexis @ the 2017 AAU Junior Olympic Games

~You can learn her complete training plan in TSHS – Youth and you can get started with a FREE workout at

How’d your season go?

Let me know in the comments below!

Enjoy your summer break and I’ll be back with more updates on the youth hurdles in the Fall!

Run Fast.

Make Them Chase You.

-Coach Cotto

Comments 7

  1. I have been working with Tyra for quite a while and need to collaborate on improving her time She did very well last year but I am looking for help in making her better.

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