Fixing the receiving positions for the Clean and Snatch

The Principles of Effective Coaching: Intermediate to Advanced level lifters Part. 4.1


When the pull is being finished the lifter will drop under the bar and shift their feet aggressively from hip width to shoulder width. The traps will engage and the lifter will use the shrug to drop quickly under the bar. The bar is pulled close to the body whether it is the clean or the snatch. The athlete leans back to allow the barbell to travel in a straight path. A common mistake in here is a lack of the feet being shifted. To fix this most of the time all you must say is “shift those feet aggressively”. In some cases however the feet will refuse to move. In this situation you could have the athlete shift their feet aggressively from hip width to shoulder width before actually performing the lift. Then you would tell the athlete to think of doing the same thing during the lift. Another very common mistake is an athlete that will simply not shrug. In many cases the athlete’s shoulders are internally rotated inhibiting the kinetic chain. This could be fixed during the setup by telling the athlete to “pinch the shoulder blades back”. However in some cases this may not work. In this scenario you would tell the athlete to “shrug the traps to the ears when finishing”.

Other common mistakes include not leaning back or jumping forward. You could say “lean back” or “jump back”. Either of these cues could fix these problems. Remember many cues can be applied in different situations since different athletes respond to different cues. Part of becoming a good coach is taking the time to figure out what works with whom.

When receiving the bar in the snatch it should be behind the ears with the elbows pointed towards the ceiling. Some athletes will not quite be able to reach this position, but as long as the shoulders are not completely internally rotated it should be a good receiving position. Many times when finishing the snatch a lifter will have a slow turnover. A cue to fix this would be “pull that bar to the chin and snap it overhead” or “snap that bar overhead”.

When receiving the clean the body should be mimicking the bottom position of a front squat. Elbows are high. Feet are at shoulder width. Torso is as vertical as possible. A common problem in this is low elbows. In this case you would cue your athlete to have “quick elbows” or to “bring those elbows around like a front squat”.