Brian Derwin’s Tips & Tricks on Proper Training Techniques

Featured image: Leo Totten demonstrates a solid, low position for the squat snatch. Bruce Klemens Photography

Sr. International Coach

Brian is a member of the 1980 Olympic Team and 1980 National Champion at 100Kg. As an athlete, he competed overseas in New Zealand, Australia, Soviet Union, East Germany (remember, it was the ’80s) and China.

He has been coaching since 1985 and has placed athletes in the Nationals, National Juniors, International contests, the Worlds and World Junior championships. Brian is the Former Chair of the USAW Anti-Doping Committee, Member of USOC Anti-Doping Committee, Past President of USAW 1996-2000.

Brian solidly believes that if you have seen one athlete you have seen one athlete. No two athletes are exactly the same. Athletes’ performances are diverse in a multitude of ways: body types, flexibility, strength, former injury issues, time available to train, and goals. If the athlete consistently shows for training and works hard we will work with them and move them forward.

He recently talked about the challenge that most coaches face. It’s when a new lifter lacks confidence in the squat snatch receiving position, and as weights increase ends up performing a power snatch.

Coaches sometimes encounter this problem, especially with new lifters at a meet. The lifter warms up for the snatch but they tend to have a “highish” receiving position. As the weight gets closer to their best the lift becomes a very high power snatch.

There seems to be a mental block, with the default of a power snatch when one would expect a lower squat snatch.

Correcting the process involves:

  1. Become stronger and more confident in the low positions;
  2. Use lighter weights with a small range of motion to replicate getting under with a lower risk;
  3. Squat snatch with heavier weights

I have an example of this from our training Hall. I used five exercises to address this situation. We worked this over a period of eight weeks.

A. Snatch Behind the Neck Press (SNBNP)

3 sets of 5-wrists turned over and bar/shoulder/hip and heel in a straight vertical line.

Snatch Behind the Neck Press

B.  Overhead Squat (OHS)

3 sets of 5- wrists turned over and bar/shoulder/hip and heel in as straight vertical line as possible. If the athlete cannot get into a straight vertical line, then a strident stretching routine must take place.


Overhead Squat (OHS)

C. Sots Snatch Behind the Neck Press (Sots SNBNP)

3 sets of 5-Much like #1, but the athlete stays in the bottom position and presses the bar up, again looking for a vertical line.


Sots Snatch Behind the Neck Press (Sots SNBNP)

D. Snatch from the Very High Hang (SN VHH)

5 sets of 3-There would only be about an inch of vertical movement. This is lightweight and the goal to begin squat snatching, ultimately becoming confident getting under the bar. This is typically with lighter weights to build up confidence with less perceived risk.

Snatch from the Very High Hang

E.  Snatch from the floor

5 sets of 3s or 2s and over time working up to heavier singles.


Snatch from the Very High Hang

Gaining confidence via this process has repeatedly paid dividends for Team Spartacus lifters that exhibit this hesitation to receive competition weights in a full bottom position. Feel free to give it a try!

By |2019-06-11T12:41:09+00:00June 5th, 2019|Weightlifting|0 Comments

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