T Nation

Olympic Lifts for HS Football?


#1

in your opinon how important are the oly lifts for football, lifts like cleans, snatchs, jerks
do you think its nessasary for highschool students to perform this lifts for football, i personally find them very helpfull but others think that there not because of how difficult they are to learn
what your opion on these lifts? What can be used instead?


#2

I love these questions...because as I start writing my opinions I always start arguing with myself as to why I am wrong. This is a cat that can be skinned a number of ways and I think is answered more effectively by looking at the strengths of the coach involved than as a general principle applicable to all. You need to coach to your strengths and also look to the needs analysis and requirements of both your team and the individuals in that team.

Are you dealing with a bunch of high school lads that are all massive for their age or are they a little on the light side? Do they have the foundation strength that they need and need to improve their power and mobility? Or are they so light that a few seasons of strength work is still going to leave them barely moving the needle on the scale? Coach to your strengths and their needs.

The first point I'd always look to clarify is that of how confident and competent you are in teaching these lifts? How well can you get across the key teaching points? I mean you don't necessarily need to be an expert to teach but if you aren't confident in the key technical aspects you'll struggle to get the lads up to speed with these lifts. So lets assume you can get the key teaching points across and you are technically competent to successfully demonstrate the lifts as a starting point.

The next point I would look to examine is that of training economy...how much time do you have with the lads in the gym? Are we talking 1 hour twice a week or are you coaching/working with theses lads on a daily? If it is the former you really need to be ensuring you are getting the most bang for your buck training wise...and many will argue that Oly lifts in that case are the best way to go...while others will argue that improving maximal strength should be your highest priority as maximal strength improvements are going to lead to improved power and speed and this will lead to the greatest 'bang for your buck' football wise. I know I am arguing both sides already but I promise to fall on my side of the fence or the other at the end of my ramble.

If the latter is the case then you are on a real winner as you can integrate Oly lifting components and teaching point into your dynamic warm ups and movement preparation work prior to football practice. This will continually reinforce and develop their lifting techniques and they will carry this with them into the gym which will reduce your 'teaching' time and allow you more 'coaching' time.

The whole 'too hard to learn' argument doesn't really hold water for me. You would use that argument to stop you from teaching these youngster how to step/cut properly or how to tackle effectively...as anyone who has coached before will know...this is hard but well worth doing and I would say that learning the Oly lifts are well worth the investment in time.

I could ramble on about this for hours but basically it comes down to this the Oly lifts and all their many and varied variations are all just 'ingredients' everyone is going to put them together differently...I think you really answered your own question...if you find them helpful...that?s good enough for me.

p.s: I know I promised to come down on one side or another...I didn't forget...I just lied.


#3

I don't think I can beat this post but as a high schooler I believe the clean has helped me tremendously to gain power.

And I thought the whole hard to learn thing would be a positive thing as it would help the athlete be able to control his body more.


#4

Will's got it right.

The only thing I would add is that the power snatch and/or power clean are very easy to teach if the coach isn't an idiot (there's tons of resources available on how to teach them, it'd take 20 minutes to learn how).

Also, the vast majority of high school kids need to worry about getting maximal strength up more than developing power due to a low F-max (both relative and absolute). Some power training does need be used, however, and the power versions of the olympic lifts are usually a quick and easy way to add this in at the appropriate times.

-Dan