Entries by Vern Gambetta

We

If it is to be it is up to me we. Success is not about me, it is about we, it is about collaboration, working together with other people to achieve a shared goal. You can’t do it alone. You need a support team. That support team can be as big or as small as you need it to be. For me my support team consists of friends, professional colleagues, mentors, and above all family. The Lone Ranger had Tonto, Holmes had Watson, Butch had Sundance, Jobs had Wozniak, Watson had Crick.

Reading

This is from today’s NY Times Opinion Page. Although the article is about Mexico, it could be about the United Sates. This is a powerful statement that needs our attention as a nation. We are turning out generations of dolts who can check boxes on standardized tests and text like crazy on their so-called smart phones, but they are functionally illiterate.

Foundations of Functional Training

The body is a link system; this link system is referred to as the kinetic chain. Functional training is all about linkage – it is all about how all the parts of the chain work together in harmony to produce smooth efficient patterns of movement. Most conventional academic preparation in Exercise and Movement Science focuses on studying individual muscles based on classical anatomy. This is where the confusion begins as to what is functional movement.

Being Skeptical

Sometime being skeptical is good and other times it can be harmful. I find that in today’s world of instant information and marketing hype that turning on the skepticism can be a good way to filter the information. I saw the following not long ago, I think it is a good template. I am not sure of the source so I cannot give credit to the author. (If someone knows please let me know).

Anything There?

I just bought a book (quite expensive I might add) by one of the current guru’s because I am always trying to learn and increase my knowledge base and it was highly recommended by a young coach. It was full of marketing, buzzwords, pseudoscience and general mumbo jumbo. Yet this is one of the current bibles that many young coaches are going to.

Evolution of Strength Training – A Personal Perspective Over Fifty Years (Part Four)

In 1985 I began my foray into professional sports with the Chicago White Sox and the Bulls as an assistant to Al Vermeil who had a contract to provide the conditioning for both teams. Once again the same old myths and misconceptions that I thought had been forgotten reared their ugly head. You would have thought that by 1985 with the success that athletes had enjoyed world wide with a comprehensive conditioning program that the coaches and athletes would have been embraced this training as an opportunity to improve their performance. I think since that there had been little emphasis on training in professional basketball and baseball the attitude on the part of the coaches was let them play, those who are talented will succeed and those who are not will fall by the wayside. Although in looking back on those years I think a big part of the problem was Vermiel’s over emphasis on trying to impose the Olympic lifts on both sports. It created even more resistance and in many ways the players and coaches were right, there was a better way.

Evolution of Strength Training – A Personal Perspective Over Fifty Years (Part Three)

In 1973-74 while attending graduate school at Stanford University I also had the opportunity to coach the jumpers and decathletes. This gave the opportunity to apply what I had learned with more mature male athletes. It was also the opportunity to work with Payton Jordan, the track coach at Stanford who was a pioneer in weight training. He had worked with a man named John Jesse who authored many books on strength training for sport. Jesse was way ahead of his time in the application of strength training to prevention and rehabilitation of injuries. Doctor Wesley Ruff, my adviser, encouraged me to do research in the area of strength and power training, which I found very helpful. This helped me to better understand the scientific reasons for the things that I was observing as a coach and experiencing as an athlete.

Evolution of Strength Training – A Personal Perspective Over Fifty Years (Part Two)

After graduating from Fresno State I went to University of California Santa Barbara for my teaching certification. While there I was fortunate to take a class from Sherman Button on Fundamental of Conditioning. He was way ahead of his time with the material and concepts that he presented.( I appreciate that even more as look back at what he taught us) It was a great class because of his comprehensive approach to conditioning built around weight training. The two textbooks for the class were especially helpful. Pat O’Shea’s book “Scientific Principles and Methods of Strength Training.” and “Foundations of Conditioning” by Falls, Walls and Logan. As a class assignment we had to design a yearlong comprehensive training program for our chosen sports. I put together a program for track and field that incorporated all components of training. It was an initial attempt at periodization, but most importantly it forced me to look at strength training in a new light. I was now a coach as well as an athlete. I was responsible for other people’s performance. I had to teach them skill and have them ready for competition, so I had to pay attention to the big picture. Strength was only one part of the equation, although a most important part.