by Wil Fleming – www.beforcefit.com
Young Athletes and Olympic Snatch
Jumping into the second step
The second step in our process is very simple. In order to teach the correct methods of activation at the hips, ask your athletes to jump again. This time with the bar in their hands, in a building block method cue the athlete to the start position and then cue with the simple word “jump”. Using this simple switch word, the athlete will begin to extend the hips, within moments of beginning hip extension a slight re-bend of the knees will occur.
This is an area of contention and usually of coaching difficulty. I never coach or cue an athlete to re-bend the knees because this portion of the snatch is just the natural order of the lift. If the athlete is thinking about a re-bend of the knees they will most likely do it 1) out of order and 2) put too high a priority to an almost imperceptible portion of a lift, instead just use the “jump” cue watching for hip extension prior to the knees re-bending. The athlete should come off the ground slightly at this point.
Arms to finish the lift
Up until this point we have done very little in terms of using the arms in the lift. I think this idea is very important. Until the athlete has hit triple extension, the arms should remain straight and relaxed. At the point of triple extension the elbows should come up, but are still relaxed. I don’t think that the “high pull” should be taught as an active part of the lift, instead the athlete should remain passive and relaxed with the arms. Often times I tell athletes that the arms are “noodles with hooks”. Nearly all of the upward movement of the bar should, at this point, have been generated through the triple extension of the ankles, knees, and hips.
The “noodles with hooks” should become aggressive and active, once the bar becomes “weightless”, that is, when the bar has no more upward energy from the pull. Rather than continuing to pull upwards athletes should be taught to aggressively “punch” under the bar, to lock out the arms overhead. The lockoutshould be timed to happen at the same moment as the feet re-contacting the ground. Coach the athlete to sit under the bar when it is overhead, taking care not to have the legs locked out when their feet re-contact the ground. The athletes arms are should be extended even with the ears. This is important! Many times athletes try to find an unnatural position that is behind the ears, rarely are these lifts successful or even in a stable position. I am adamant that the punch is really the only active element of using the arms in the snatch and teaching the athlete to aggressively punch can save a lot of lifts.
So there you have it, teaching the snatch to young athletes
In a simple fashion. There are plenty of places to go from here, but with this knowledge and teaching set, your athletes will be ready to perform one of the best and most athletic lifts in our arsenal as youth strength and conditioning coaches.
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