The process of getting to be the best is not a straightforward linear path, it is a process and it takes time. In my forty-four years of coaching I have seen that many are called to walk the path but few actually choose. Yes you read that correctly. Many are called but few choose. The opportunity is there for many but few will make the choice because it is a difficult path that requires moving out of their Comfort Zone.
About Vern Gambetta
Entries by Vern Gambetta
I have been fortunate in the time since the Olympic games to spend time with seven coaches of Gold medal winners in Athletics (Track & Field) from the London games. In two instances I got to watch workouts and spend significant time with the coach and athlete. These are the commonalities that all shared:
Yesterday afternoon I was in Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain Trinidad watching over three hundred track & field athletes of all ages train but I could have just as well been in London, Brisbane or back home in Sarasota. What I saw was a bunch of drills and exercises; it was obvious in most cases the drills were just imitations of what someone had seen on YouTube or learned at a workshop.
Just getting in hours will not do it. Anyone can go through the motions, huff and puff and look like they are working. Just doing work is not good enough; you must train with ICE –Intensity, Concentration, Effort..
We talk a lot about having our athletes get out of their comfort zones to move forward and progress. How about us? As coaches we all have our comfort zones. Some of us are good in certain areas. Some of us can prepare an athlete for a league or a district meet and then are out of our element when we have to prepare for a state of national competition.
Start with a clear picture of the finished puzzle, the picture on the cover of the box. What do want the athlete to look like physically and performance wise at the end of the training program? Keep this picture in mind all the time.
Movement is quite simple and from that wonderful simplicity comes the complexity of sports skill and performance. Twenty-five years ago in an attempt to better explain movement and how we should effectively train movement I came up with this simple diagram I call the Performance Paradigm. It was somewhat like what Albert Szent-Gyorgi, once said, “Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought.” Essentially it is the stretch shortening cycle of muscle with a more global interpretation and proprioception brought into consideration. It is the basis for what some people call the Gambetta Method; to me it is common sense. I use this to evaluate movement efficiency or deficiency and then to guide training and if necessary rehab.
The missing link in today’s coaching is pedagogy. Webster’s defines Pedagogy as: the art, science, or profession of teaching. The term generally refers to strategies of instruction, or a style of instruction. My generation of coaches was trained as teachers. We learned teaching methodology and teaching methods as an integral part of our education.
Lets not fool ourselves to get better you have to do the work, that is a given. Make no mistake that everyone who achieves at a high level does the work. All that being said just doing the work is not enough, anyone can work it is work with direction and purpose that produces results. We have this mistaken notion more prevalent today because of the “10,000 hour” myth that all you need to do is to punch the clock, accumulate hours and somehow magically at 10,000 hours you will be a champion. No way!
It is interesting to listen to coach’s talk about what they see when observing movement. Are they really seeing what they think they see? Human vision is incredibly acute and at the same time fundamentally flawed. The longer I coach the more I realize that more often than not we see what we think we see rather that exactly what is happening. Whether we recognize it or not we all have a tendency toward a confirmation bias.