GAIN: a brief history

I want to share with you a little bit of the history of GAIN.  We started GAIN in 2007 with 14 brave souls at the Holiday Inn sports complex in Sunrise, Florida. That was the actual physical start of it. The genesis and the idea behind Gain goes a long way back really to my early years of coaching where I quickly learned that total immersion was the best learning environment. When I went to conferences or workshops where everybody lived together did active learning. Those were the things that I got the most out of.

I started a seminar called Building and Rebuilding the Athlete in 1992, it was 16 hours over two days. Essentially it was a process of drinking from a fire hose of information. Only about 90 minutes was active learning. The rest was didactic presentations. I always would say wouldn’t it be cool if we could do this with five days of multiple instructors and more active learning? So that thought was always there. I kept teaching Building and Rebuilding the Athlete and eventually got up to teaching 12 a year until 2004 when I stopped.

I stopped teaching it then with the idea that I would start up again with what ended up being GAIN. I had two models that I looked at. I had attended an AAU track and field Learn by Doing clinic at Sacramento State in July of 1992. It was five days, 12 hours a day, a lot of time on the field and in the evening presentations. It was very inspirational, very educational and career changing. I’d also heard about what British Amateur Athletic Board were doing in England at Loughborough University, where they had the Loughborough Summer School. It was a mixture of didactic & practical sessions. I think it was like ten days. I never got to attend it, but I talked to a lot of people who did attend it and it seemed to be a terrific model. So that’s the genesis where GAIN came from. The model is presenting information at a high level, getting people involved, having the best instructors that are great communicators. And the idea of GAIN is to build a strong network where people are sharing not just when they’re there, but when they leave.

The structure of the day starts with an active learning session. We call it movement madness. It’s a high level. There are three high level teaching stations. Then we have two didactic presentations, followed by lunch. After lunch we have workshops where we break into three groups with specific topics. It’s more of a hands-on with a combination of demonstration, lecture participation, and then we have two more didactic presentations. Then we have case studies which people talk about what they’re doing in their respective jobs and their situation. Followed by dinner and group sessions in the evening and roundtables and then adjourn. And after the adjournment is when some of the best learning and sharing goes on. There’s a pub on campus at Rice, not necessarily to drink, but it’s outside, it’s beautiful, warm. It’s at meals between sessions and that where we’re what makes gain special.

For those of you that attended Building and Rebuilding the Athlete, if you have a copy of your brochure or a copy of your certificate and you have not been to GAIN and you want to attend GAIN, send me that and you’re entitled to a $300 discount. We hope we’ll see at GAIN this year. For all of us, including myself and the faculty, it has been a real career changing experience. This is the 15th iteration of Gain. Each year, somehow, we’ve been able to raise the bar and make it better better each time.

Applications are open for GAIN 2023, taking place from June 13 to June 17 at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Space is limited, so apply soon to secure your space. You can learn details and register at: You can also learn more on the recent GAINcast Episode 260 from those who have attended before.