Do you or your athletes experience a crash of the barbell during heavy Cleans? In order to avoid the excessive smashing on the shoulders, coaches need to teach their athletes how to “meet the bar.” The concept of meeting the bar was introduced to me by my first Developmental Coach when I was a young boy growing up in the sport. He taught me to “catch high and ride low” and it is exactly how I teach my athletes now.
As all things on earth, what goes up must come down. The bar is no different so athletes must “catch” the bar when it has reached the top of its trajectory (path). The location of the bar when it has reached its full height will determine where the athlete should receive the bar. It does not matter how high or low, or how heavy the bar is.
The worst thing an athlete can do is drop to the bottom and wait for the bar. The crash of the barbell occurs when the athlete separates him/herself from the bar. It is not only ineffective but unsafe. With time and training, the idea of smoothly meeting the bar can be accomplished even at 1RM. Are there drills that can help an athlete learn how to meet the bar? Sure, perhaps some Hang position lifts would work. In the end, it’s an effort that must be made on the part of the athlete. No tricks, no special tactics, just work on it. It’s a matter of body awareness.