For the majority of my weightlifting career I rarely missed jerks. When I switched over to weightlifting full time, I started pushing my limits more and actually lifting heavy weights. I started missing more jerks. There was a point before Collegiate Nationals this year, I didn't make any jerks at my top weights for like 2 weeks. Maybe more. The most I clean AND jerked was like 130 or 135. I was fearful of how my performance would turn out. There was a lot on the line. We wanted to be #1 on both the Pan Am and World Teams, break the collegiate record, and get the #1 overall ranking.
My two biggest reasons for missing jerks are fatigue, and rushing the jerk.
When I am fatigued, either from a hard clean, doing other exercises before heavy clean and jerks, or just from being beat up from training, I feel like I have nothing in the tank. I have no vertical drive. Which is silly since I did just cleaned it. One of my goals is to overcome that mental block I get when I feel this way.
Sometimes if a clean feels really good, I think I'm going to nail the jerk. Then I don't. Sometimes I'll drive the heck out of the bar, and still miss it. What's up with that? Well, I rush my dip and drive and push the weights forward resulting in me having to chase the bar. I've done this time and time again.
I spent a great deal of time and journaling trying to figure out how to make my jerks. Part of my rushing came from fatigue. I would think, "Just drive it hard and hope for the best." Instead of thinking of a way to fix the problem. I think of two things now when I jerk, which has led me to a much higher success rate.
Feel comfortable under the bar and punch hard under the bar.
Before I even initiate the dip and drive for the jerk. I just chill out under the bar. I catch my breath, and make sure I don't feel the weight is pushing too hard into my chest, then I make sure all my weight is correctly distributed throughout my body. After I go through this check list, I take a good controlled dip and punch myself hard under the bar.
After I started practicing this with my light and medium weight lifts, I was feeling more confident going into collegiate nationals. Like I said earlier, I didn't even attempt anything over 135 before heading into the meet. Thanks to learning these new cues and being a competition lifter, I pulled it together and accomplished all of my goals.
Although, I still have technical flaws and still chase the bar, I didn't miss any of the jerks at collegiates and have not missed many since.
I hope these cues can help some of you out there. What cues have you guys used to help your jerks?
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