Coach Bill Starr is a legend in the strength and conditioning world. He was a world-class competitor himself, and has been a renowned coach for nearly four decades. Here is an excerpt from Hip It Before You Whip It:
Learning how to pull a weight off the floor or a platform correctly can help every strength athlete to better perform a number of very beneficial exercises: power cleans, power snatches, full cleans, full snatches, clean and snatch grip high-pulls, and conventional deadlifts.
It has been my observation that most athletes do not pay close enough attention to this essential aspect of a lift from the floor. Instead, they casually jerk the weight upward, thinking ahead to the finish. But if the start is not perfect for a max attempt, the lift is generally missed. Unless, of course, light weights are being used. Then the finer form points aren’t a big factor. However, when the weights get demanding, technique is paramount for a successful lift.
When a weight is moved off the floor incorrectly, the odds of completing the lift go way down. This is because when that first move isn’t right, the middle and top are adversely affected, sometimes to a great extent. This is particularly true for power snatches and power cleans since the bar has to be pulled very high. Conversely, when the start is done perfectly, following through into the middle and finish of the lift is a great deal easier to do correctly.