Entries by Vern Gambetta

The Athletic Development Omnibook: a coaching resource and handbook

Even though this book is titled the Athletic Development Omnibook, it is more like the 54th version of work that I started in 1969 when I was a student at UCSB. It began as a project for my “Foundations of Conditioning” class. That project required us to design a complete yearlong training program for our chosen sport. That began a yearly compilation of what I later called my “Means of Training” manual. It has taken many forms and formats over the years, but regardless of the format the goal always was to categorize and systematize my approach to training.

Training do’s and don’ts #4: More work or less work?

The most common default when making the choice between more work or less work in training is to do more. After all it is easier to quantify more jumps, more throws, more runs. Also, when working with developmental athletes they respond quickly to volume, so the temptation is to continue going down that path. What happens when the point of diminishing returns is reached? Now what?

Training do’s and don’ts #3: Warmup and cooldown

Warm-up and cooldown are essential parts of the whole training process. It is helpful to think of the warm-up as preparation for training and cooldown as a reset to prepare the body for the next training sessions. The workout begins with the warm-up! The subsequent training sessions do not actually begin with that sessions warm-up rather it begins with prior sessions cooldown. Conceptually this is based on the unity of training sessions and that no workout stands alone.

Training do’s and don’ts #2: Hard/easy

I was first introduced to the concept of “hard/easy” at the first clinic I attended in January 1968 by Bill Bowerman, the coach at University of Oregon. The hard/easy concept was a cornerstone of his program. It essentially consisted of a hard training day followed by an easy training day. He was very strict in its application. It made sense so when I started coaching the next year, I began to apply the concept. However, I quickly found out that some athletes needed a hard day, followed by a medium day and then easy and others needed two easy days after a hard day. Regardless the concept was applicable, and it is something I try to observe to this day regardless of the level of athlete and the sport.

Myths, misconceptions, half-truths, and lies

Ever since I started this blog in the summer of 2005 an ongoing theme has been exploring myths, misconceptions, half-truths and lies. I doubt that will change. I think because I am informed skeptic who keeps exploring those ideas, people and things that lead us astray from our goal of preparing robust athlete to thrive in the competitive cauldron.

Coloring outside the lines

This week the GAIN community has gathered together for its first in-person event since early 2020. It’s refreshing to sit around and exchange ideas again. And it’s refreshing to be challenged. Good coaches challenge convention and color outside the lines. That is our theme at GAIN 2022 and something I talked about in my first keynote to set the stage for the event. You can watch it for free below and learn more about the GAIN Network.

Food for thought

When you are planning your training program or evaluating your program, I have found it very helpful to ask the following simple and very basic questions: