Sunday, January 14, 2018

Excerpt From Olympic Weightlifting Cues & Corrections - Daniel Camargo (2014)

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Daniel Camargo is a 24-year veteran of Olympic Weightlifting. After representing the USA in nine international competitions and setting three Junior American Records, he began coaching and is now a USA Weightlifting International Coach.

In this book, Camargo presents his approach to teaching lifters the snatch, clean and jerk, and provides clear, simple strategies for recognizing and correcting the most common technical errors in the Olympic lifts. 


Progressions: Introduction
Snatch Progressions
Clean Progressions
Jerk Progressions
Corrections & Cues: Introduction
Corrections & Cues: Snatch
Corrections & Cues: Clean
Corrections & Cues: Jerk

A small excerpt . . . 

Cues & Corrections

It must be noted that anyone with some level of competency can show another how to perform a snatch, clean, and jerk. What separates coaches is the ability to correct individual errors. I'll take that a step further by saying what separates elite coaches is their ability to train someone over a long period of time while maintaining forward progress. 

No matter the level of experience, practitioners of Olympic weightlifting will always work on their form. Ask elite lifters, and they'll tell you that even at their level they still find ways to perfect their technique. That's not to say they are struggling with their form by any means. It's a matter of tweaking, changing, and, in some cases, returning to a tactic they employ, in order to gain the advantage over their competition.

Cues: we love to find great ones. Cues are words or expressions that elicit a desired physical response from the athlete. Not all cues are literal. In fact, many are figurative. I'm proud of the cues I carry in my arsenal. They come from two unique places: directly from the mouths of athletes, and years of accumulation. My vocabulary of cues took quite some time to develop and they oftentimes came right out automatically. 

Over the years, when an athlete has completed a lift I have asked him or her to describe what it felt like, whether good or bad. I, in turn, use the same words they speak when coaching them. For example, a lifter successfully corrects an error in the snatch and he says he felt the bar was "snapped behind my ears." I'll then use "snap behind the ears" as much as necessary on that one athlete to remind him how to make the bar land. I'll perhaps use the same cue on others to see if they too respond the same way.

The biggest mistake a coach can make is over-coaching, or over-cueing. Too many instructions will cause confusion and in turn slow the learning process down. This section describes the most common errors and my suggested  corrections and cues. This is hardly an exhaustive list, but rather, and, perhaps more significantly, contains the successful cues I have accumulated in my years of experience.  

Some things to think about: 

Video recording and reviewing an athlete's technique is beneficial, especially in slower motion or frame by frame. However, be careful not to use video to he extent where the athlete suffers from "analysis paralysis." Too much exposure to video footage can cause athletes to overthink.

Never use mirrors. The use of mirrors will only slow athletes down. By the time their minds compute with their eyes see, and attempt to send signals to their bodies, the lift should be over. There may be no harm in moving slowly in front of a mirror with a PVC pipe or dowel rod. However, training in front of one during high speed, high intensity attempts will only ruin the movement they may have had otherwise perfected.

Many drills, which are described later in this book, serve dual purposes.

The goal is to feel the movement, not to see or think about it.

Another small excerpt, from Snatch Cues & Corrections

Note: The book has many, many helpful photos included, which are not shown in this excerpt you are reading. 

The snatch, though seemingly complex, is actually simple to conceptualize. There are far fewer moving parts than the clean and jerk. What intimidates people about the snatch is the amount of balance and mobility needed to be highly successful. Moreover, there is a smaller margin of error in this lift versus any other associated with Olympic weightlifting. The snatch is far more about precision whereas the clean and jerk is more about effort. An athlete can commit more errors in the clean and jerk and still walk away successful compared to the snatch, making it my favorite of the three lifts.

Jumping Forward

This is a big concern, and simply telling the athlete he or she is jumping forward isn't enough. Determining exactly where (or in which phase of the lift) the problem originates is essential. There are three factors, or a combination of any of them, which cause an athlete to jump forward: being forward on the first pull, early on the toes during the transition, or swinging the bar out during the second pull.


Athletes jump forward because it feels explosive to them. We are all more agile and explosive on the balls of our feet, so we try to rely on them wherever possible, even at the detriment of proper bar path.

Forward Off the Floor (First Pull Forward)

 - "Chest up"
 - "Heels into floor" (this is not to mean lean back; keep the athlete in place but have them drive the heels into the floor.
 - "Knees out"
 - "Move hips and bar together"
 - "Sweep back"

 - Lift-Offs (practicing keeping the knees back and out of the way)
 - Snatch Grip Deadlifts (practicing the hips and bar rising at the same rate)
 - Any exercise that will keep the athlete flat on the feet immediately pulling off the floor will be advantageous.

Early Toes Past the Knees

 - "Stay on heels"
 - "Delay the jump"
 - "Patience"
 - "Wait on the bar"
 - "No rush"
 - "Get knees back under the bar"

 - Mid-hang high pulls
 - Mid-hang snatch
 - Power position snatch
 - Any snatch from technique blocks that rests the bar at knee height.  

Coach's Tip: As in the first pull, people want to increase velocity so the natural thing to do is shift to the toes, as we are all more powerful and agile there. However, for beginners and intermediate athletes this can cause the bar to travel too far forward when we want them to maintain more weight distribution on their heels. Athletes should perform any exercise that will instill patience and keep them flat-footed a bit longer during this phase of the lift.

Sending Bar Out and Away From the Body in Second Pull


And there you have a very small excerpt from the book.
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