As a coach, we must look for the little things during training sessions to help our athletes improve. The more cueing/instructing we can give our athletes; whether it's visual, audio, or both, the better they can begin to understand the proper mechanics of movements.
While teaching a class last night, I noticed two of my athletes were not getting the most out of their sandbag front squats. Putting the load in front of the body forces the torso into flexion, so it's critical to have the supporting posterior muscles to maintain proper postural alignment.
Both athletes have desk jobs and we know that they have tight hip flexors. Both were having difficulty getting into a proper full squat position without their trunks collapsing forward. By making a small adjustment to their ankle position we were able to get them both into full squats under load with "vertical" torsos (could still improve here a little with Greg - red shirt); hence maximizing the effectiveness of the movement. The goal is to see the torso and shins align parallel with each other.
I took a photo of each athletes' squat in the down position on (without the carpet) and each noticed immediately that they were not getting as low as we would like to see. In the photos above, you'll notice that I pulled out some pieces of carpet and placed several layers under their feet to elevate the heels a bit.
Not only did this allow them a greater range of motion, but they both said it felt more comfortable in the lower position. Once the athlete/s begins to feel confident and comfortable in a certain movement, then it's easier to progress.
Taking time to notice the small things can lead to greater improvements and injury-free athletes. One thing I have learned over my years of coaching is that I try to get each athlete to master a movement before adding weight.