The Rule of ONE for Coaching Weightlifting
Written by Fritz Nugent

Even seasoned weightlifters can benefit from drills not completed recently. No matter what drill you are working, there are ways to adapt that drill to your specific needs. Matching your particular technical needs to the drill at hand yields bountiful rewards!

Cueing is important. I teach my Oly class to use ONE cue per lift. For snatch, that’s one cue (the rule of ONE, ie using only one cue at a time). For clean and jerk, you can use one cue per lift. Clean is one lift. The jerk is another lift. So you can have two cues, but not both in your head playing at once. Just one. Any more than that clouds the mind. 

Sometimes 1.5 cues can be utilized. By 1.5, I mean that a half cue is allowable to help you set up properly. Pick one set-up cue (it’s really a half-cue because you don’t move while the cue is working. You are stationary. Also it doesn’t conflict with the rule of one.) Once you set yourself up properly using that half-cue, clear your mind of it and then position the major cue in the front of your mind while you complete the drill.

Examples: ONE cue possibilities for snatch

  • accelerate past the knees (drive!)
  • brush the thighs (keep it close)
  • squeeze the bar off the ground (smooth)
  • keep the bar close (bar close)
  • get the bar back to you (sweep it in)
  • push under the bar (push!)
  • straight arms on the pull (long arms)
  • push up on the bar (push!!)
  • keep tension as you receive the bar (engaged!)

For clean and jerk, I could write a comprehensive cue list for that, too. However, I won’t. Instead I’ll explain how to use one cue for each lift in the clean and jerk. When setting up for the clean, have a cue in the front of your mind for executing that clean well. After you finish the clean, before you jerk, quickly clear your mind from the clean cue and insert your jerk cue. Execute that cue. 

I could go on for a while. I’ll stop here. Each of these cues pertain to a different part of the lift. They are not in order. They are all valuable to someone, somewhere, sometime. No cue works forever. You must constantly be searching for the right cue that matches the moment, drill, and mindset. If you hold every single cue that matters to you in your head at once and try to snatch, you will move like a robot, a slow robot, and you’ll miss. Instead, pick one cue. The rule of ONE.

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