I have identified a new syndrome – the over-recovered athlete. I look at the landscape and I see athletes and teams spending as much or more time doing ice baths, cryotherapy massage etc. as they do in actual training. Rest and recovery are fine and necessary but only of benefit if you first do the necessary work.
About Vern Gambetta
Entries by Vern Gambetta
My passion and focus are on getting better at getting better. The longer I coach, the more I realize that we can’t rely on doing more of the same old things we have been doing and hope to get our athletes better. We must use the time and resources better to get better. Here are some thoughts, ideas and concepts I have culled from some of my research and practice on learning:
What I am seeing today is an ever-widening gap between how the athletes prepare for the game in contrast to the actual game demands. This gap is creating fragile athletes more prone to injury than ever before. Due to artificial restraints placed on training load imposed by a negative medical model that emphasis what the athlete can’t do as opposed to what they must do to prepare. In the attempt to “protect” the athlete we have severely restricted training load instead of systematically overloading the athlete to prepare for actual game demands. I was taught many years ago that one of the purposes of training was to make the game easy, in essence to slow it down by imposing stress in practice that was beyond what was imposed in the game. In other words, don’t try to duplicate game demands, distort them!
I don’t have many heroes in sport, but from the time I first saw this picture in Life magazine of Herb Elliott and his coach running the sand dunes at Portsea he became my hero. Here are some thoughts and quotes from a presentation he recently did in Australia. He is 82 years and sharp as a tack. He retired from running at age 22 and has never looked back. I think there are many lesson today’s coaches and athletes can learn from Herb Elliott.
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.
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?