Olympic Weightlifting is ONE of the best ways to develop an athlete. Olympic Weightlifting has been around for years. The lifts considered to be Olympic Weightlifting are the Snatch and Clean and Jerk.
What is Olympic Weightlifting?
Olympic weightlifting is a sport that dates back to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. It found its place in the Olympics in the 1920 Summer Olympics.
The Snatch is a barbell movement thats starts from the ground and finishes over head in one fluid motion.
The Clean and Jerk is essentially two lifts, first consisting of the Clean where the barbell starts on the floor and finishes on the shoulder in one fluid motion. Once the bar is resting on the shoulder the lifter will advance the bar from the shoulder position to an overhead position finishing in what is called the Jerk.
Olympic Weightlifting is one of the best ways to develop an athlete.
First, we need to discuss the benefits on the non performance side of the lifts, then we will discuss the performance side. The Olympic lifts are very technical in nature, this can be a huge obstacle for a young athlete to over come. It helps the athlete to learn qualities that will transfer to sport and life.
A big part of coaching athletes is helping them understand their limits and where they need to get better. I also believe a good coach should consider the character development of an athlete. The Olympic lifts teach characteristics such as: patience, focus, being coachable, overcoming adversity, having a growth mindset, respect, tenacity, perseverance, and being steadfast. I am sure there are a host of others we could list. These characteristics play so much into sport and life. Olympic lifting requires work in the form of delayed gratification, this teaches the athlete to have patience and think long term. Understanding of the lifts is critical for proper execution and success, it demands focus and constant coaching. This teaches an athlete how to focus on the task at hand and allows an athlete to become more coachable by learning to accept feedback. When an athlete is able to receive feedback they develop a growth mindset. This allows an athlete to adapt better at overcoming adversity by turning failure into feedback. When an athlete misses a lift, a beautiful thing happens. The missed lift has now become failure or adversity, next they will receive a coaching cue on a technical flaw or focus, they will then have another chance to execute the lift. The second attempt usually comes with a higher rate of execution leading to success. Now, the athlete has experienced adversity, coaching, and success which builds tenacity. The athlete now builds confidence in the process, the coaching, and most importantly themselves. It teaches them perseverance and steadfastness.
Olympic lifting requires work in the form of delayed gratification, this teaches the athlete to have patience and think long term.
In athletics, it is important for an athlete to have a strong mindset and character. Building a strong mindset can be hard, especially for young athletes. With the pressure of parents, sports performance, school, social status, and friendships an athlete may feel alone or not supported. Olympic lifting will help an athlete self reflect, build confidence in doing hard things, and overcome the fear of failure. Overcoming adversity can be daunting, but with a strong mindset an athlete will practice positive self talk and visualize success. The resiliency of a strong mindset will allow an athlete to endure long term in sports, career, and life.
Olympic lifting will help an athlete self reflect, build confidence in doing hard things, and overcome the fear of failure.
Athletics requires a high level of skill specific to an athletes sport. From a basketball player dribbling around defenders, between the legs, behind the back, to changing directions and shooting a ball through a hoop; to a baseball athlete controlling a spin on a ball at 80 mph and the opposing athlete trying to make contact with the ball. That is a lot of skill and control. The Olympic lifts will help an athlete develop coordination that will help translate to higher level skills. The lifts will build a foundation in jumping, landing, and moving their body with control through space with proper timing and position.
The Olympic lifts will help an athlete develop coordination that will help translate to higher level skills.
SPEED, POWER, AND EXPLOSIVENESS
Olympic lifts are executed with more speed, mobility, and greater ranges of motion than traditional barbell movements. Speed in sport is known to kill. Speed is one of the most desired traits of an athlete, it can be a difference maker in all sports. Proper joint mobility will allow an athlete move quicker, jump higher, run faster, and most importantly be more resistant to injury. The counter lifts, such as the squats and deadlifts, help build strength and power. When combined with Olympic lift variations, such as power cleans and power snatches, speed and explosiveness will be built. One of the greatest by products of the Olympic lifts is the training of force absorption. This translates to all sports and allows the body to train how to absorb and redirect external force. The ability to redirect force will make an athlete quicker, faster, more explosive, and more resistant to injury.
The ability to redirect force will make an athlete quicker, faster, more explosive, and more resistant to injury.
Athletic development is training an athlete to help them progress toward their natural potential for athletics. It is important to think long term, especially for youth and teen athletes. The goal as a strength and conditioning coach is to help prepare them for whats next, the next season, the next game, the next sport, the next level, or the next phase of life. Teaching the Olympic lifts takes thousands of reps. Once an athlete can perform the lifts with proper technique and speed they are well equipped to achieve their maximal potential in speed, power, and explosiveness. Speed, power, and explosiveness is a highly desirable trait by coaches in every sport. Olympic lifts also place an extremely high amount of stress on the central nervous system. Stress drives adaption and can help an athlete to react quicker in game like situations.
It is important to think long term, especially for youth and teen athletes.