Whether or not you have an “every day coach”, you will have to figure out how you are going to program the Olympic lifts. There are plenty of programs you can find that include, but are obviously not limited to international teams (Bulgaria, Greece, China, etc.), the US Olympic Training Center, or standard stuff you can find in Milo or online resources. I caution any of you to get very interested in advanced programs designed for successful national teams. Typically these are advanced lifters who have been in a system for 10+ years and they require the kind of volume and intensity that is present in their program in order to undergo an adaptive stress.
The rest of us are not so fortunate, whether we are talking genetics or childhood exposure. Since the Olympic lifts are an expression of strength (as opposed to primary strength movements), a strength emphasis should be inherent in the training program. For some reason the previous statement is borderline blasphemy in some weightlifting circles, yet it is the same message that has been touted by Tommy Suggs and Bill Starr since their competitive days. Starr recently wrote an article that touches on the matter for the Starting Strength website called, Keeping the Strength in the Strength Program (any article by Starr is a good read — it has been said he has forgotten more stuff about strength training than we will ever know).
In any case, the thing that is going to help a beginning weightlifter get better at the snatch, clean, and jerk is getting stronger, thus strength training is incorporated into the program. Now, depending on your relationship with your coach, this may be contradictory to what they teach. The coach may want you solely on their program. It may be a situation where you see them less frequently which means programming is up to you. Maybe you cannot even perform the lifts unless you are at the coach’s gym because of equipment limitations. Whatever your circumstances may be, improving your strength is vital to increasing your lifts, and this is should always be the heart of your program.
Tomorrow I will leave the fuzzy conceptual strength stuff and give some vague outlines that a beginning weightlifter could try. In the mean time, discuss the topic, and if any of you are experienced weightlifters or coaches, you can share what has worked for you or your athletes.
Here is Olympian Kendrick Farris, a really fucking strong 85 kg lifter. In this video he deadlifts 280 kg (616) — he attempts a double.
Here he smokes the piss out of a 170 kg power clean and jerk: