Entries by Vern Gambetta

False prophets bearing gifts

Beware of false prophets bearing gifts! There are many silver tonged devils out there who needlessly complicate simple things and are then selling you machines to measure or train those things. Machines that flash red lights and sound sirens are seductive, but they can’t replace a good coach.

Vern Gambetta’s 2018 best books list

Of the 150 books I have read in 2018 these are my selections for the best. It is an eclectic collection reflecting my various interests. Hopefully this will give you some ideas for good reading. This year I did not pick a book of the year. Too many good ones to pick out one book.

Looking for secrets

When I see a new article or a post on the unveiling of the latest secret training method my cynicism meter goes off the scale. One secret that I have learned is there are no secrets. There are no shortcuts to the podium. You can keep looking if you want to, but you are wasting your time.

What makes coaching special

Last week during my visit to Santa Barbara I connected with one of my former athletes from the Santa Barbara High School cross country and track team: Raul Gil. I had not seen Raul for close to forty years. He graduated in 1977 and was captain of the 1977 track team and a team leader on the 1976 cross country team that finished seventh in CIF Southern Section (There was no state cross country meet then).


Coaches today face different challenges than I did when I started coaching in 1969. In my 49 year coaching career, the world has changed dramatically but now it is changing at a faster rate than ever before. Data is growing faster with 2.5 Exabytes being produced each day! That is the equivalent of 250 Libraries of Congress of new information being created each day. Add the bombardment of social media and instant communication and there seems to be less time to reflect.

Living and learning

Life is about learning, when you stop learning you stop living. My love of learning was instilled in me by my mother who had been denied an education but placed a high premium on it. It was exciting growing up discovering new worlds and expanding my horizon. There was always something new to learn and explore well beyond the confines of the classroom.