Entries by Vern Gambetta

Coaching Pitfalls: Taper and Pre-season Training

Over the years, I have seen that there are two periods of the year where good coaching can go awry: The pre-season training period and the taper. Both are essential but both are fraught with perils and pitfalls characterized by the same root cause – the willingness/desire/need/obsession to do more than is necessary. Ultimately do to insecurity and lack of trust in the process.

Changing Practice

We all practice with the intention of getting better. But can we do better at practice? Can we get more out of practice? Changing practice offers the possibility of changing the game. Here are a few thoughts/ideas that will help make practice sticky and more effective:

Paths to Performance

There are many paths to performance. Note that it is plural, paths not path. There is no one way, in fact it is highly individual. This is perhaps the biggest conundrum in coaching – How to fit/tailor the training to the individual athlete to achieve each athlete’s optimum performance level. There are fast responders, slow responders and a few non-responders. Each athlete brings their individual qualities to their sport or event. We must recognize and account for this. You can have the wired explosive athletes and you can have a slower less explosive athlete – they can achieve very similar results in competition but must take different paths.

The Profession of Coaching

Coaching is a profession, not an industry. The younger generation of coaches who have been heavily influenced by social media and 24 hour sports channels do not seem to understand this. As a profession, there are standards and expectations.

Old Coach, Young Coach

As a young coach, I was sure I knew everything and I was dumb enough to tell everyone who would listen and some who would not. I thought a lot of the old coaches were out of it, behind the times. They did not subscribe to the latest fads and speak in fancy jargon, they just consistently produced results. My biggest regret is taking too long to figure this out.

Coaching Excellence – Part Four

Change is a constant. One of the discriminating factors that differentiate between a good and great coach is how they deal with change. Good coaches are reactive and change manages them. They fear change and go out of their way to avoid it. Great coaches lead change they are proactive and embrace the challenge of change. In fact great coaches are change engineers, they are at the cutting edge always looking for a better way.

Coaching Excellence – Part Three

Good coaches have mentors and role models. My first mentor and role was my high school basketball coach. He was the most influential person in my life up to that time aside from my parents. He taught me the value of structure and self-discipline. He also instilled in my teammates and me that it is was more than the ninety minutes of practice that made you better it was lifestyle. He did not call it the twenty-four hour athlete but that was what he was teaching us. It was a total commitment to the pursuit of excellence.

Coaching Excellence – Part Two

It is absolutely necessary to have a clearly defined philosophy of coaching. It was be more than just words. It must live in your everyday actions as a coach. To help guide your philosophy and stay on course it is necessary to have a working compass oriented to true north. Nothing changes under pressure, adversity or with challenges. You stay the course because your philosophy is the foundation of your coaching beliefs and the beacon that guides you.