Entries by Vern Gambetta

Not my first rodeo

In the past fifty plus years I have had the opportunity to see a lot and experience a lot. I have seen great coaches and terrible coaches. I have observed great practices and training sessions. I have observed and been subjected to practices and training sessions that I would not subject my bitterest enemy to. Why am I writing this? I am writing this because I see the current generation of younger coaches acting like they invented the wheel. What I see today in training, there is very little that is new. It is fifty-year-old or older stuff repackaged and made glitzy posted on Instagram or YouTube. I have learned that ultimately what works are those methods that are grounded in fundamentals and do not stray from the basics.

Shaking my head

Stop and think for a minute: it takes approximately 0.8 of a second to express maximal strength. Most athletic movements take place in the range of 0.2 to 0.5 seconds. So why do we spend such an inordinate amount of time emphasizing maximal strength? Is it because it is measurable? Is it because it is convenient? Is it a misunderstanding of the principle of overload?

Emphasize what matters

In life and in coaching it is important to focus on what matters. What matters most is relationships – people – the human element. In today’s world of fast information and big data it is easy to forget that the numbers, data, scientific measurements are one-dimensional – we coach people who are multidimensional. They are not machines, they respond to care and concern. Good coaching is about developing trust and working together with the athletes to guide them to grow athletically and personally.

We have it backwards

Today we spend an inordinate amount of time and effort preparing the path for the athlete. We make sure that everything is controlled. We make the path smooth and straight when in reality the path is circuitous and crooked with many detours along the way.

Musings on coaching excellence

Just like athletic excellence, coaching excellence has been a fascination of mine since I was an athlete in high school. I observed teams and individuals that seemed to “over achieve” or punch above their weight as the saying goes. The closer I observed and analyzed this the common denominator was coaching. Coaching makes a difference. Over my 50-year professional career I have seen great coaches, good coaches and indifferent coaches. The great ones share common characteristic. Here is what I have seen.

Discipline

So often when we think of discipline we think in terms of rules or others driving us to do something. For the champions that is not what disciple is. The champion practices self-discipline to do what is necessary, often what is uncomfortable to do what needs to be done. There is no need for disciple to be imposed from outside. It comes from within in the form of self-disciple.