Coaching the Olympic Lifts

Today our new strength and conditioning interns at TCU got their first taste of the olympic lifts.  They learned the progressions to the lifts, coaching cues, and how to perform the lifts themselves.  Over the next several weeks they will work on perfecting their technique with each lift and its variations as well as learn how to coach and correct errors in the lifts.  This group actually did impressive job.  It was probably picked up faster than any other group of interns that we’ve had, and some of them had never cleaned before. 

Nice Rack!!!

Even though I don’t use the lifts with most of my athletes at this point, I think it’s essential to be able to perform and coach the movements.  Under the bar experience is a great asset to have when working with athletes.  It not only gives you constant feedback on how to perform the lifts and in turn coach the lifts, but it helps to give you credibility with the athletes.   If coaches aren’t able to perform the lifts or at least demonstrate the postitions that must be achieved, they had better be damn good coaches in my opinion. 

So tonight I thought I would post a link to a YouTube channel.  Coach Manuel Buitrago has put together an excellent resource on the olympic lifts and various drills to improve technique in the lifts.   Make sure you check out the demo’s as there is a lot of information on correcting each portion of the various lifts.  A great resource.

Couple of quick notes for those beginning and intermediate coaches and athletes. 
  1. When you watch the olympic lifts, notice the speed change at the mid thigh level.   Too many times athletes pull as hard as they can through the entire lift.  Use a controlled tempo until the bar reaches the mid/upper thigh and then explode.
  2. Notice that he doesn’t jump in his clean technique.  The triple extension of the ankle happens somewhat naturally and jumping up and stomping the feet shouldn’t happen.  Now, there is a loud stomp, but the coach is dropping under the bar so quickly it causes his heeled shoes to make that noise.  He isn’t trying to jump and stomp the ground.  This throws off coordination of the lift and causes problems. 

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