Posts

Vern Gambetta

Some Thoughts on Planning

Planning is the preparatory work the coach must do to structure training systematically in alignment with the themes and objectives of training and the athlete’s level of conditioning. The process is the result of the experience of the coach coupled with applicable sport science concepts. Jan Olbrecht, Belgian sport scientist, likens the training plan to a table of contents. It should be comprehensive, covering all aspects of the athlete’s performance. The training plan (Table of contents) should include: Read more

Practice Breaker – Lectures

6a00e5521cccd08834019b02973881970d-320wiStarting practice with a long lecture is a surefire way to ruin the training session. Coaches are good at talking and love to talk, but the start of practice is not the time and place. Recognize that the athletes are there to train, not to listen to a lecture. My rule of thumb is three minutes of talking that consists of very specific instructions pertaining to the training session. Read more

Practice Breaker – Lines

6a00e5521cccd08834019b028668d5970d-320wiPerhaps the most common practice breaker I see is lines. I was watching a soccer practice recently where 18 players were doing a shooting drill; there were two lines of nine with two balls. Do the math how many times did each player get to practice a shot in a five-minute period? Answer: not enough to be meaningful, not to mention the lack of instruction. Lets be clear lines are important for organization and efficiency, but learn to use lines to be effective. Read more

Practice Breaker – Laps

6a00e5521cccd08834019b026eb7cd970d-320wiHere are two of my favorites: “Let’s go – take two laps and then we will get started with training.” “If you miss this shot then you will have to run.” Think about it, you see this all the time at all levels of sport, talk about a practice killer! Practice time is precious; it is a daily opportunity to improve skill, tactics and sport specific fitness, and wasting time slogging laps to “warm-up” or extra sprints for punishment does not optimize the opportunity to improve. Read more

Practice Maker – Refinement

Refinement is fine tuning the practice after the basic technical model has been mastered. When that is robust then and only then should you think about attending to the finer points in a skill. Often we are in a hurry and try to do this too early in the process and the whole technical model erodes. Read more

Practice Maker – Repetition

Repetition is the mother of learning. We are what we repeatedly do. I doubt anyone would argue with those points. The task then becomes to carefully choose what we repeat. It is necessary to have a clear idea of the technical model you wish to achieve and a plan to achieve the desired technique. We know that practice makes permanent so repeating incorrect or flawed movements will ingrain the faults. Read more

Practice

The key to getting better is practice. Up to a point when an athlete is beginning their career virtually anything they do will make them better, in fact the more they do the better they get. Then there comes a point when practice must be guided and have a specific purpose. Read more

Practice Maker – Routine

Edwin MosesThe first consideration in effective practice is routine. A set routine is the basis for consistent practice. Great athletes and great teams have set routines for training that do not vary. In fact with individual athletes training routines sometimes border on ritual. Routine allows the athlete to focus on the task at hand. I have found that there is security in having a routine. It gives an anchor point to build the training session upon. Start on time, have specific objectives and stay on task, then practice will be meaningful. When I think of routine I think of the great hurdler Edwin Moses. Read more

Workouts

Everybody wants workouts. Can you send me the workouts you do with your swimmers or a volleyball player is a common request I get. Why? Workouts are only good for the people they are designed for. Sometimes (hopefully more often than not) they work and sometimes they don’t. If you work with football at Central Nowhere High school does what State University does in training have real relevance to what you are doing with you ninth graders? Workouts are all so contextual. Read more

Favorite Exercises

I always get a good chuckle when I am asked what are my favorite exercises and I answer I don’t have any. Why don’t I have any favorite exercises, really it is quite simple. I have a big toolbox of exercises accumulated over my years of coaching; I must know how to use each of those tools appropriately as demanded by the needs of the athlete and the sport and position. Read more