All coaches, including me, talk about 1st, 2nd and even 3rd pulls, as being part of the performance of the snatch and the clean. These definitions, even though there is a bit of disagreement as to their exact starting and finishing points in the whole of the thing, are used by coaches to quickly describe a part of the pull in which a bar should be somewhere, an athlete should be doing this or that, or where a major or minor flaw seems to occur.
The lifter, however, cannot think of the pull like this when he/she gets down on the bar and starts the bar on its ride. No, this will lead to a segmenting of the task in the athlete’s mind and that simply can’t be tolerated. The athlete must think only of the whole of the task as a single thing. With so many definable parts, setting, sweeping, getting up,adjusting, rocking, transitioning, descending and catching to do, it is a daunting task to simplify them so the lifter isn’t just to stiff to move at all. There, afterall, must be a flow, a rhythm, a tempo, to the lift or it will simply look like a vehicle moving on square wheels.
So, how to do this? In my book, Power Trip, I showed an example of how I had my lifters think of the task of pulling and catching the bar. I called it “The Power Circle”. This might have been a trifle off in correct scientific meaning but the lifters seemed to get it and respond to it. Simply put, I told them not to think of the movement as an up and down movement but a circular one of energy, that required them to move faster and faster from start to finish. No matter the subtleties of a particular part of the movement, they were to attempt to move faster as they progressed from the Set to the Catch. This did not mean they were to move slowly at the start but that they were to move (or feel that they were) faster as they traveled through this “Power Circle”.
This seemed to work. I think it takes the details out of the movement and emphasizes the rhythm of it. It de-emphasizes the actual direction of the lifter’s body, so there won’t be a surfacing of the natural stopping(going upwards)-starting(going down) braking that the body will go through when it is changing direction, especially 180 degrees. It implies that the body moves in a constantly accelerating circular motion that ends only when the task is complete; at the catch. And, finally, it puts the athlete’s mind where it should be:on his own movements and how those will affect the implement, not the other way around.
My cues were and are always: “faster as you go” and “stay ahead of the bar”.
Hope this helps your lifting or coaching.
CoachMc (It’s a CATAPULT, not a friggin’ JUMP!)