Entries by Vern Gambetta

Making shapes

Shapes was brought to the forefront of my thinking about 10 years ago when I was working with one of my swim teams. The coach kept talking about getting smaller into the wall and taller off-the-wall off the wall into a streamline. I left the workout thinking what he was really telling the swimmers was to make different shapes. This got me thinking about the whole concept of shapes and what we needed to do to impact the athlete’s abilities to make the required shapes.

Systematic sport development

Sport systems have always fascinated me, even before I started coaching. When I was in college, we played the great San Diego State Football teams coached by Don Coryell. It was obvious they had a system and played to that system and recruited players for that system. My junior year in college we had a […]

Accidental fitness

“Accidental fitness” is a great concept articulated in a recent GAIN Master Class coffee break by University of Portland assistant cross country and track coach Jack Mullaney. Essentially accidental fitness is that small edge of fitness you get from general life activities, like walking to class, perhaps working in the yard or just moving meaningfully.

Brave Enough by Jessie Diggins

I have always been an an avid reader of coaches and athletes’ biographies. Each biography gave me insights into what that athlete tick. How they approached training. How they got into their sport. How they were coached. There is so much to learn  from the experiences of others on the journey to achieve the pinnacle of sport performance.

My learning journey: influential people

Of late I have been thinking about those who have influenced me over the course of my career. Below I have listed the people in four categories:  teachers/professors, coaches, sport scientists, and athletes. Some of these people I have been able to work directly with, some I just learned from through reading their writing and some through observation.

Dealing with change

We are living in a time of unprecedented change. This gives us a great opportunity to grow and adapt. There are two choices:

  1. React to change; or
  2. Manage change and own it.

House of cards

Always build and rebuild your athletes from the ground up. Emphasize training movements that connect and coordinate. Start with fundamental movements and add complexity as the athlete’s gain mastery of the fundamentals. Don’t worry too much about being sport specific; instead emphasize movements that are sport appropriate to prepare the athlete for the sport demands.