It is also important to ask the question "what is perfect technique?". I often see coaches grilling their idea of "perfect" technique into their clients without realising that everyone will lift slightly differently. To the trained eye elite weightlifters all vary slightly with their technique, nobody will lift the weight in the same way. However, even though their technique varies, they do conform to technical principles which will ensure their success. For example, every successful weightlifter will have an acceptable level of triple extension and an acceptable level of "double knee bend" but how much extension and how much double knee bend will vary.
An individuals anthropometrics must also be considered. Someone with a longer femur and shorter back ratio will lift differently to a short femured and longer backed athlete - no matter how hard you coach them not to. It seems obvious that athletes will move differently dependent on their individual build but many coaches don't consider it.
In summary - yes, technique is extremely important, but coaching a single technical model will not be correct for many athletes due to personal preferances, mobility constraints and individual anthropometrics. Instead technique should be though of as a "bubble". An athlete should perform technical principles that fit within the bubble - but be allowed to adapt their technique to their personal preferances (as long as progress continues).
Tian Tao squatting a huge 275kg (which he would do for reps). He has just won the 2019 World Championships in the -96kg category with a 180kg Snatch and 230kg Clean & Jerk
Not being strong enough
I have discussed the differences that elite weightlifters have in their technique, however the one thing that they all have in common is that they are immensely strong. Research and literature have basically concluded that a proficient lifter can Snatch approximately 60% of their max Back Squat and Clean & Jerk 70-75% of their max back squat. To put that into context, and individual with a 100kg Back Squat can hope for roughly a 60kg Snatch and a 75kg Clean & Jerk (and that is if technique is good). So a good way to improve your olympic lifts is to simply become stronger and increase your overall physiological capacity.
This also carries on from spending too much time on technique. Sometimes technique can only get you so far, force output also needs to be hugely considered.
So you can have the best technique in the world (which to be honest you wouldn't have if your mobility wasn't adequate) and the best force output in the world but if your mobility is not at an acceptable level then you will not develop in the Olympic Lifts. Snatching requires good levels of hip flexion, dorsiflexion, shoulder flexion and spinal flexibility. If any one of those are constrained too much then you will not being to perform the pull correctly or support loads overhead. Forcing positions too much can also lead to injuries.
You can work your mobility too much however (like technique). If you are mobile enough, then working your force output and/or technique might be more productive. With extra mobility comes an extra need to increase strength and stability in the new range of motion, so being hyper mobile is not ideal (not saying hyper mobile people can't perform the lifts, they will just need to ensure that they are strong and stable - like the Tory government).
Not effective training and programming
It ought to go without saying that following an ineffective training programme will massively effect your progression. Whether the programmed exercises are appropiate, the training volume is approiate or the recovery time is appropiate not having a programme that is relevant or valid can break an athletes progression.
There is not one programme that is the best, every programme should be tailor made to the individual depending on their needs and goals. I do not agree with blanket styled programming as different athletes will need different interventions for optimal development.
122.5kg Snatch by yours truly. I fully believed I had this lift, which sometimes is not enough, but on this day it was.
At the end of the day sometimes you have to believe in yourself. If it comes to a hard day of training or a testing day, you need to be in the right frame of mind. If you are constantly doubting yourself about your ability then your performance and development will suffer. Of course I am not a psychiatrist or psychologists but I will say that making sure you are technically proficient, strong enough and mobile enough will go a long way in ensuring you feel confidence in a testing enviroment where you could put more kilos on your lifts.
So there you have it. I have explained a few reasons why you may not be progressing with your lifts. At the end of the day you (or a coach) need to establish exactly what the reason is for your lack of progression. Is it a technical fault? A strength issue? Or do you simply lack confidence? I would always recommend hiring a coach. An effective coach can identify problems that you would'nt potentially know about and know how to remedy them.
If you have any questions regarding this subject please get in touch.