Tag Archive for: Youth Sports

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

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

Future Olympians?

6a00e5521cccd0883401b7c6cbf950970b-320wiThe 2020 Olympians are 14 to 18 years old and the 2024 Olympians are 10 to 14 years old right now. For me that is cause for alarm. Why? Sport does exist independent of society it reflects society. We are a hypokinetic society characterized by exercise deficit disorder. Look around at these age groups and what do you see? You see kids who lack basic physical competencies who are overweight and sedentary. On the other end you see kids who are overspecialized and ready to flameout. We need to wakeup and address this now not to produce Olympians but to have a healthy society. Take a look at these statistics and ask yourself where future Olympians are coming from? Read more

Where did we lose our way?

6a00e5521cccd0883401a3fd0e236f970b-320wiIn doing research for my new book I have been looking at the decline of physical education in the schools and the effects this has had on the process of developing athletes. When I started teaching in 1969 this was the model program, a famous physical educator and coach Stan LeProtti developed it. This is a boy’s gym class from La Sierra High School Carmichael California circa 1960’s. These are not the athletes this is a gym class! No cup stacking, no heart rate monitors, no machines just education that was physical. It was demanding and competitive, there were five levels of achievement signified by the color trunks that the students earned. Read more

Moving to Learn & Learning to Move

If you want to learn about how to move spend fifteen or twenty minutes and watch kids play. I mean free non-directed play with no adult supervision or guidance. There are no limits, few inhibitions and no constraints. There is an unbelievable flow to what they do. We need to learn from this. The more we encourage and let our athletes be kids again the better they will be. Instead we start “coaching” them at young ages through explicit learning drills and skill “progressions” that turn them into robots. We tell them what they can’t do and because we are adults they believe us. 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

Vern Gambetta


This is from today’s NY Times Opinion Page. Although the article is about Mexico, it could be about the United Sates. This is a powerful statement that needs our attention as a nation. We are turning out generations of dolts who can check boxes on standardized tests and text like crazy on their so-called smart phones, but they are functionally illiterate. Read more