EDITOR'S NOTE: Check here every Wednesday for a new coaching video from Bob Takano. Learn how to be a better lifter and a better Olympic lifting coach from one of the best.
If you are interested in the Olympic lifts, but have yet to master the technique, the best time to start is NOW. Whether you are interested in being a competitive lifter, improving your athleticism for another sport, or increasing your functional capabilities, now is the time. Some people may not want to hear this, but the younger you are (provided you are at least 8 years old), the faster you are going to learn the technique, master it, and gain the greatest benefits from snatching, cleaning, and jerking.
This is a video of Theo Mandin-Lee, taken just five months after he started his training. You will see that even though this is his first meet, he owns his technique to the point where it will serve him for the rest of his training days.
Find the very best coach you can and start training today. Make sure that the coach has had a competitive and a coaching background. I would try to find someone who has achieved at least a USAW Level 3 coaching certification, not that the course work is all that wonderful, but a 3 at least indicates some long-term commitment to the art of coaching. Find out how many athletes have been developed under the coach and what level of proficiency they attained. Talk to others who have been trained by this coach and pay attention to what they have to say.
When you find a coach you’re satisfied with, then go for it! There might be some expense involved, but six months from now you could well be lifting like a champion, reaping all the benefits of great technique, and then the expense will be considered more than worthwhile.