Two weeks ago, we talked a lot about having control in the first portion of the lift, as you pull the barbell from the ground. Controlling the weight from the ground is important, because it gives our body a sense of awareness and it ensures that we're generating enough power that is needed. When we control it to extension, sometimes we forget about controlling the weight right? We just throw it up there and hope we catch the bar? If we do this, we are leaving a lot of things to chance. It would make more sense to be fully connected with the bar, even after making contact upwards.
We can practice having control in the catch with many different types of exercises, both with main lifts and accessory exercises. Today, we will discuss how we cue our athletes to have control in their catch position.
1. Fast Elbows/Hands:
Ideally, we would use this cue in the snatch and/or the jerk. When we say this, we mean to think of having fast hands. If we pull in the snatch and we have slow hands, we will not put ourselves in a good position to catch the weight. In addition, if we push in the jerk and we have slow hands, chances are, we are not going to have our arms fully extended with the weight being supported over our body.
2. Intention of Power:
When we get athletes who try to sneak under the bar after making contact, we will cue them to think power snatching or power cleaning it. More often than not, the athlete will have to decrease the weight and work back up. Once athletes have this thought process of performing powers, they become more connected to the lift. They extend just a little more, they pull with elbows up, they have a strong lock-out, and they even pause a little bit in the catch. There will be a point that each athlete can no longer catch in a power and that’s alright! As long as they are still thinking about powering everything, the lifts will be more solid and much smoother than just hoping to catch it in a squat.
3. Pausing in Catch:
When we say pausing in the catch, we do not mean hanging out down there for 15+ seconds. We simply mean, take as much time as you need to feel stable and then stand up with control. Let’s be honest, it is a little embarrassing when you have to walk half the length of the platform to save a lift (I’m talking about the snatch here). It looks sloppy and there is a good chance you might lose it in the process of trying to save it, so take your time! The same applies for the catch in the jerk. It's not like the game of hot lava you played as a kid. Once your feet split and the weight is stacked over your body, hang out for a second before recovering. This slight pause in the split will also help the athlete feel as if their shoulders are in a stable position. Sometimes, it looks like the athlete has it locked out but as soon as that front foot moves back, you might see a little "re-bend" in their elbows, and it sucks!
These are just a few things that you and your coach can practice if you feel you are losing lifts because of rushing out of the catch. We hope you enjoyed this second series of the Kingfield Barbell Philosophy. Next week, we start our series on being stable. Thank you for reading!