Use What You Got


Day 2 is complete. Not a whole lot to report except what we expected to happen. Lightbulbs came on and hamstrings got tight and as a result technique got better. It was interesting to me how fast they picked up the snatch technical work but yet how hard it was for them to grasp some of the jerk work.

We spent the morning on the snatch but as we transitioned to the jerk in the afternoon it became very apparent that some of the cues and teaching points were not being put to practical use. As we progressed through the afternoon we began to use physical objects to create good movement patterns. For instance, many of our campers were moving their back foot to far in the jerk and as a result tilting their pelvis forward with their back knee well behind their hip.


We began to take some of the campers and put them with their back close to the wall and had them mimic the jerk from that position. This drill helped shorten up the back foot and as a result lengthen out the front foot creating a much better jerk position. This leads me to my point for tonight. Sometimes teaching and good mental cues are ineffective. Sometimes the best trick and often the most needed cue is to place athletes in a position where they physically aren’t capable of doing the movement wrong. Like putting 25 pound plates outside of their feet to prevent them from jumping forard or putting a foam roller in front of their foot to make sure they step up and over with the front foot of the jerk. Often times these type of cues work 100% better than any teaching ever could. We found that be true today.

If you are teaching your athletes the best you know how and you cannot seem to get them to create the lift the way you are picturing maybe this is something you should try out.  Be creative use your gym. Use materials, walls, or objects that you have at your disposal to create the type of movement you’re looking for. Obviously do this with caution as sometimes this can be dangerous and more often than not these type of cues need to be done while under a light load or not loaded all. However this type of cue can be quite effective and certainly worth trying on athletes that are not picking up you’re teaching immediately.

Here’s an example of Natalie using her surrounding to help her stay over the bar well.

Natalie Mclain Snatch First Pull Work


5 responses to “Use What You Got

  1. Very good advice Spencer. Your right about the fact that sometimes you can give all of the audible advice you want and not be presented with the right movements in return. I was at the Austin camp and really enjoyed it. Your blog is informative and I find the information very useful. Thanks for all you do and keep up the hard work!

  2. Spencer, can you put a video up demonstrating putting a foam roller in front of one’s foot to cue stepping up and over during the jerk? I’m having a hard time picturing this without a disaster happening. Great stuff on this blog keep up the good posts! Mike

    • Mike,
      That’s the point. Disaster will happen if the bar is loaded heavy. Make sure the foam roller can roll away if it is kicked and also coach to keep the feet close to the ground not a foot in the air.

      • So you’re supposed to kick the roller in front, not go over the roller? That’s where I was confused, I was thinking you were for some reason wanting me to step up and over the roller.

        • Woops yes you are correct. I was unsure of which drill you were referencing. Yes foam roller in front of the foot the steps forward in the jerk and step up and over it. THIS IS A WARMUP DRILL. Do not do this with more than a barbell as when you actually jerk the foot will not come that far off the ground. It’s an over-exaggeration to teach the movement.

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