Child Champions – Where are they now?

Trophy chasing and medal hunting at young ages is frivolous at best and harmful to the long-term development of the athletes. Child champions and age group record holders do not have a good track record of long-term success. Undue emphasis on results gives the youngster and their entourage a distorted sense of their actual abilities, value and self worth, which seems to stifle the desire to keep working to improve. Read more

Vern Gambetta

Athletic Development – An Introduction to the Concept


I prefer the term athletic development rather strength and conditioning because it denotes an integrated system to develop the complete athlete. No single component of conditioning is solely responsible for the athletic development of any team or individual. This underscores the need for a program designed to meet the needs of all the sports with balanced development of all components of physical performance: strength, power speed, agility, endurance and flexibility. Read more

Vern Gambetta

Youth Sports – A Position Statement

In developing young athletes it is one thing to say that children are not miniature adults and then to turn around and treat them as miniature adults by imposing adult competition and practice schedules on children. They are children and need to be treated as such. We need to get away from the emphasis on where they will be, their future potential, there is time for that later, put focus on where they are now and build upon that. Read more

Becoming an Athlete

This is a blog that I originally wrote in 2008, no need to reinvent the wheel, it is just as relevant today as when I wrote six years ago.

Yesterday during training I had a some time to step back and observe the athletes, not just my athletes but the football players and wrestlers who were in the weight room at the same time. On my drive home from workout, about twenty minutes, I reflected on what I saw with more focus on my Volleyball players. Read more

Developing Athletes Introduction

This is the introduction to the book I am working on titled “Developing Athletes.” I thought I would share this with you now as I finally begin writing again after a long interruption. I plan on sharing excerpts as I write. I hope that if you were interested you would send me ideas, input and perspectives that you have on this subject. Other ideas and perspectives will help me make it a better book. Read more

What does it take to develop athletes?

In researching for my new book and several other projects I am working on I keep coming back to what it takes to develop athletes? There is certainly not one formula or one clearly defined model. If anything it is an involved and complex process. What keeps jumping out at me is that it is not facilities and equipment. It is not sport science. It is human resources in terms of the raw material of athletes with some degree of talent/ability and the spark to ignite the fire – coaching. That coaching may not be particularly sophisticated, but it must be effective in terms of building the foundations of basics – basic movements, basic technique and basic conditioning. Once the fire is burning then it is a matter of providing varying degrees of support and direction to keep fanning the flames. To keep fanning the flames of excellence the coach must continue to grow their competencies along with the athlete. Read more

Reflections & Expectations

These are a few reflections, lessons, random thoughts and some expectations for the New Year. 2013 was a great year of learning and sharing for me; I am looking forward to an even better year in 2014. This next year marks 50 years since graduating from high school, hardly seems like that long, it certainly has been an adventurous journey. It just reminds how fortunate I have been to have a loving supportive family, great mentors to learn from and special friends. Some of them are no longer with us but they are in my thoughts everyday. Read more

Getting It and Getting There

Why do some athletes get it and make it and others with equal talent and ability fall by the wayside. This is a lifelong fascination of mine. Talent and ability are a given to make it to elite status, but it is so much more than that. Some athletes navigate the path easily and directly and other struggle, but both still make it. Why? Certainly athlete development and passage through to elite status is a process. There is no one model or framework. Nor is there a set time like ten years or a time period like 10,000 hours. No doubt it is related to practice depth and quality. It is related to coaching guidance to first ignite the spark of interest, then inspire and guide the athlete. Read more

Pay The Piper

There are no shortcuts, crash programs or quick fixes that will get you there faster. You will always have to pay the piper whether it is sooner or later. It is better to pay up front by being very thorough in the development process with a balanced program that builds a solid foundation. All components of fitness must be trained at all times of the training year and the career, just the proportion and emphasis changes with advancing training age and proficiency. Read more

Developing Athletes

athletic_developmentI have signed a contract with Human Kinetics to write a new book tentatively titled “Developing Athletes.” In many ways it is a follow-up and update on Athletic Development – The Art & Science of Functional Sports Conditioning. The goal is to take a long hard hard look at the theory and practice of long term athlete development. I intend to seperate fact from fiction and look closely at model programs that have successfully developed athletes with an emphasis on why. It is going to be a big job; I plan on starting writing in earnest as soon as I return from GAIN. It should be published in late 2014. Any ideas or input you might have would be appreciated. The following is the introduction book that I wrote in my book proposal. Read more