From the time I committed to be a track & field coach in January of 1968 I started the learning journey. Last post I talked about the books that were learning resources that influenced me. In this post I will talk about the clinics, symposiums and other resources that were influences in my development, particularly in the first twelve years.
About Vern Gambetta
Entries by Vern Gambetta
In my lifetime there are events that stand out in my mind where I can tell you exactly where I was and who I was with. Third period religion class my senior year in high school when Kennedy was assassinated. In a barber chair the morning of 9/11. The night of the moon landing in 1969 I was in the Yankee Clipper bar on upper state street in Santa Barbara with three of my friends. We chose to watch there because it was one of our hangouts and they had a TV, a rarity in bars in those days before 24-hour cable news and ESPN. The TV was located next to large aquarium full of small fish and a very large, very ugly frog that we always refer when we recollect that night at the Yankee Clipper. Next to the aquarium was a small stage where there was a girl singer who could really sing, in fact her singing got better with more drinks.
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.
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.
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.”
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 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.
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.
What are you:
- Strong for?
- Fit For?
- Fast For?
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.