“Shift back on your heels!”

How many times have you heard a coach say, “Shift back on your heels?” Coaches use this cue as the athlete passes the knee with the barbell on a clean or snatch. During this transition to the second phase of the pull, the athlete many times will allow the weight to go forward, causing the athlete to prematurely come onto their toes. If an athlete is on their toes at the finish of the pull, they cannot get maximum vertical acceleration on the barbell. Therefor many coaches use cues to tell their athletes to shift the weight back onto their heels. Coaches use this cue as a reference point to the athlete. Unfortunately, many athletes have taken this cue seriously and are now purposefully rocking back onto their heels after the bar passes the knee. This backward rocking motion, will then likely cause a forward rocking motion to follow and the lifter to jumps forward to catch the weight. Going into the final phase of the pull, the lifter should feel the pressure in the middle of the foot toward the front of the heal, but never fully on the heal.