You might have heard your coach reference "the first pull" and "the second pull" when it comes to the snatch and the clean. There's also "the third pull," but more on that later. Those simple phrases are only meant to convey a general message. Really what we should be saying, though, is "the first push" and "the second push."
Ever heard coaches say "stand up with your legs?" Translation: Maintain your back angle from the floor until the bar clears your knees. The idea is to push with your legs as long as you can, stay flat-footed and that action of "jumping" with your heels glued to the ground will exert force on the bar that will make it travel upward.
I've seen a lot of athletes pull with their arms off the floor, interpreting "the first pull" literally. This makes the shoulders come forward and, likewise, the bar to move away from you—not closer. And the last thing you wanna do is let the barbell get heavier by moving it farther from your center of mass. It's easier to hold something heavy closer to your person, right?
Remember: Keep pushing with your legs until you run out of legs.