I've been wondering about this for a while now and since it came up in coach Waterbury's spill today, I thought this information might come in handy to+ other beginners as well. So what is the difference between the power clean vs the full clean and power snatch vs full snatch?
This. If you have the privilege to train at an oly gym, do the full versions. Olympic weightlifting has a huge carryover for other strength sports. If you're just a regular gym rat, the power versions will do.
I think another important thing to say is that many people can clean or snatch without going down below parallel, but that isn't to say that they can perform power cleans/snatches properly. My point is that the power versions are also technically very difficult, but just require less flexibility, and therefore most people can at least try them (mostly with horrible results).
Mypoint: you cannot train technique enough with the Oly lifts.
I agree with this, to a point. Cleaning or snatching with form that's "good enough" to get the weight from Point A to Point B without doing harm will still build strength and muscle for the majority of lifters, even if it isn't textbook-perfect technique.
Like every other exercise, it's never a bad thing to polish technique. But, as I said, for most people, "good enough" form will be good enough.
I think a lot of people are unnecessarily intimidated by cleans and snatches, when they'd be served just as well treating them like other big, compound lifts (deadlifts, squats, overhead pressing, etc.)
Start with an appropriate weight and progress according to results and goals, letting general technique improve with experience.