Entries by Vern Gambetta

My learning journey: the coaching classics

I am going to share my learning journey to help coaches both young and inexperienced as well as older more experienced coaches to streamline their learning process and hopefully not make some of the mistakes and missteps that I have made. My goal was simple: to know more than anyone I coached against, I figured the more and faster I learned the more edge my athletes would have in competition. For me it was and is a point of pride.

LTAD is becoming cliché

Let’s look at where we have been over the past seventy years. What has changed? Society has changed immensely; youth sport has become commercialized. There is no longer mandatory physical education in the schools. Then and now child development does not follow a neat linear progression, so-called windows of opportunity for development of various physical is a myth, sport development is all over the place, youth phenoms rarely turn out to be senior champions.

The hamstring paradox

This is from the 2018 AFL Injury Report produced in collaboration with AFL Doctors Association, AFL Physiotherapists Association, and AFL Football Operations Department. “Hamstring strains remain the most common injury, with an incidence of 6.3 new injuries per club and are the most common cause of matches missed (25.2 matches missed per club), with a recurrence rate of 20%. These are the highest rates we have seen for a number of years.”

Stop and think

Before you blindly copy and use an exercise you see on YouTube, take a deep breath, pause and think. Ask yourself what is this exercise or drill intended to do? Is it better than something I am currently doing? Why?

GAIN 2019 in the books

GAIN 2019 is in the books. I am already going through GAIN withdrawal. GAIN is always special, but this year was even more special. It was an incredible mix of people who were willing to share and question. It is this interaction coupled with the highest quality of presentations that make GAIN very special. My goal when we started GAIN was to make it different. To establish a network for professionals to connect and share ideas to make themselves better. It has become a community that stretches worldwide. Even though the G in GAIN is Gambetta, it is not about me, all I am is the facilitator, facilitating a culture of sharing in an intellectually challenging environment.

Smell the roses

Fifty years this week I coached my first and only California State High School Champion in the shot put, Sam Cunningham. He threw 64’9” a mark that would have placed second this year. At the time I did not appreciate what an accomplishment this was. I was in my first-year coaching, 22 years old and pretty full of myself because I had coached a state champion.

Churchill – Walking With Destiny

I highly recommend the book Churchill: Walking with Destiny. Not an easy read. It is long and detailed. Very rich in content with many insights into a very complex man. I have always been fascinated by Churchill, after reading this I am no less fascinated. He had his flaws, that was for sure, but somehow under the direst circumstances he led his nation through one of the most difficult times any nation in history has endured.

1440 – not enough time?

When someone says to me they don’t have enough time I don’t react very well. In fact to me it is a losers lament. Why is that the people with the most to do get the most done? It is because they make choices how to effectively use their time.

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.