Okay, so I love drills. I really do. Drills are a great way to breakdown a complex movement to focus on the individual parts. For example, I will program for my weightlifters by rotating different drills that work on some part of the lift. One day we drill cleans from the high hang to work on our speed under the bar, the next day we will drill pause Snatches to work on our positioning from the floor before the vertical explosion, and the next day we’ll involve pulls and high-pulls prior to a snatch or a clean to work on keeping the bar close.
Today, I feel like many athletes and coaches are now addicted to drills. I have seen some athletes get told that something is slightly wrong on their power clean, and then the coach will immediately ask for a drill in order to help improve it. In some cases, a drill might be what is absolutely necessary. A lot of times though, if you just put your mind to it, think about the movement and what the movement is trying to do, and then watch someone do it correctly, you will make improvements almost immediately.
Like I said earlier, I love the use of drills, but using drills to drill drills is absurd. Sometimes you just need to sit down and analyze the movement, think about what you need to do, think about which muscles contribute to the execution, what movement patterns are responsible for lifting the weight and then go out and do it.
This is where a good coach comes into play. A good coach will be able to explain what it is you are trying to accomplish with the lift, give you a good cue. Moreover, a good coach will know when a drill is necessary like when to implement lifts from the blocks or lat/shoulder activation drills from the pull-up bar.
Next time you are faced with a movement that is giving you issues, I urge you to relax, and think about what exactly you are trying to do with the movement. Are you trying to move a bar in straight line in a clean? Or are we trying to manipulate our hips around a pull-up bar? Talk with a coach about what the movement involves, and try it again. Don’t just stab blindly at a complicated movement, but really think about it. When the time calls for it, you can start adding in the drills.