Teaching Weightlifting Technique

For a coach who is first starting in Olympic style weightlifting, I recommend that they use the U. S. A. W. model that is published in the Club Coach Manual. However, there are other successful ways to teach the Olympic lifts, and I encourage each coach to examine the many different approaches.

For years my approach to teaching the Olympic lifts has been similar to the Bulgarian Model. I start by teaching a beginner the back squat first because it is the number one strength building exercise and it is the fundamental position for weightlifting. The front squat is taught next. This exercise develops strength and balance in the receiving position for the clean. The full movement of the clean pull from the floor is taught next followed by the power clean and then the squat clean. The split jerk is taught next using a stick or light bar only. Once the lifter has learned the proper foot work for the split jerk, the full clean and jerk movement is taught.

The sequence for the snatch is as follows: The full movement of the snatch pull from the floor is taught first. The power snatch is then taught followed by the overhead squat. The lifter then learns the squat snatch. The lifts are considered learned when the lifter has the timing and movement correct. Remember never sacrifice good technique for additional weight.

I use this method of teaching 98% of the time, but I would like to point out that if I have a particular beginner who has problems with this method because of one reason or another, I will quickly switch to a different sequence of teaching. The athlete may respond better if he is taught the lifts in parts from top to bottom before learning the full movement.

It is in the best interest of the athlete if the coach is well versed in the different methods of teaching the Olympic style lifts. Remember the right answer is always clearer to the coach than to the student, but it is the coach's job to present a lesson in such a way that the student can learn it.

Technique is quite important in Olympic style weightlifting, but keep in mind that if the lifter does not reach his full potential of strength and power, his goal of reaching a championship level will not be realized.

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