Strength Performance Network

Vern Gambetta's Blog (1,108)

More on Drills

It is important to be clear on one thing regarding drills. If you use a drill or drills know why you are using the drill. In my experience drills are most effective in closed skill activities where they can be used to correct a part of the movement or reinforce a concept. But always go back to the whole movement, remember Whole – Part – Whole. In any situation drills are most effective when the athlete has a clear image and feeling for the end result – the…


Added by Vern Gambetta on February 26, 2018 at 9:55am — No Comments

The Seduction of Drills

Ask yourself we do we spend so much time teaching and perfecting drills? Wouldn’t the time be better spent coaching skills? No doubt drills are seductive, some even look like the skill, we can repeat them until they are flawless and then what? 95% of drills have no transfer to skill so what is the attraction. Focus on what will make the athlete better at their sport, not better at drills. There is so much good evidence and practice today in nonlinear pedagogy…


Added by Vern Gambetta on February 24, 2018 at 7:37am — No Comments

Meaningful Practice

I know the term deliberate practice is the current buzzword but I don’t think it is getting the job done. Words create images and images create action, so I use the term meaningful. Meaningful clearly communicates what I want from practice, it leaves little room for nuance. Practice must have a clear plan and purpose that the athlete understands. It must relate to the competitive demands of the sport the athlete is preparing for. It must be relevant to physical…


Added by Vern Gambetta on February 23, 2018 at 10:10am — No Comments

Growing the Athlete

Growing the athlete is an organic not a mechanistic process. For years I used the metaphor of building the athlete but over the past few years I have become uncomfortable with that metaphor. Certainly, building is part of the process, but I find that building evokes a reductionist mechanistic image of constructing, of replacing parts as opposed to the cultivation of synergistic relationships between training means and methods and the systems of the body. The…


Added by Vern Gambetta on February 21, 2018 at 7:22am — No Comments

Forest for the Trees

In course of day to day coaching it is easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees. Good or bad training sessions can easily get blown out of proportion. The same is true with exercises, sets, reps and rest intervals – coach the athlete that is in front of you that day. Keep the big picture in mind. Never lose sight of the ultimate goal – preparing the athlete to thrive in competition.

Added by Vern Gambetta on February 20, 2018 at 7:59am — No Comments

Never Forget Gravity

Use Gravity - Don’t abuse it

Defy it - But you can’t deny it

Enhance Gravity - Don’t chance it

Resist Gravity - It will persist…


Added by Vern Gambetta on February 19, 2018 at 7:35am — No Comments


Refinement is fine tuning the practice after the basic technical model has been mastered. When that is robust then and only then should you think about looking at attending to the finer points. Often, we are in a hurry and try to do this too early in the process and the whole technical model erodes. Refinement does not have to pertain to just technique or skill it also can refer to development of physical qualities. Initially the athlete will begin with global…


Added by Vern Gambetta on February 16, 2018 at 7:39am — No Comments

Some Totally Random Thoughts on Training

Observe laws of motor learning and principles of skill acquisition.

Consider all types of muscle action – Eccentric/Concentric/Isometric is designing a strength training program.

Structure of movement must resemble what occurs in competition.

Sensory input must resemble what occurs in competition.…


Added by Vern Gambetta on February 15, 2018 at 9:19am — No Comments

GAIN White Papers

Go to and scroll down and download the PDF’s of these GAIN White papers. More will be coming over the next several months. I hope you enjoy and find them useful. Any feedback would be appreciated. Also if you are interested you can watch the opening talk of GAIN 2018.

Athletic Development - Defining the Discipline…


Added by Vern Gambetta on February 13, 2018 at 8:50am — No Comments

The Role of Repetition in Leaarning

Repetition is the mother of learning. We are what we repeatedly do. I doubt anyone would argue with those points. The task then becomes to carefully chose what we repeat. It is necessary to have a clear idea of the technical model you wish to achieve and a plan to achieve the desired technique. It is very important to fit the technique to the person not the person to the technique. More is not better. Bernstein’s concept of “repetition without repetition” is…


Added by Vern Gambetta on February 12, 2018 at 9:26am — No Comments

Good Training or Bad Training?

To understand what good training is, you must separate fact from fiction and style and marketing claims from programs that have substance and produce consistent results. Along the same line of thought beware of false prophets bearing gifts. Nothing easily attained is ever worthwhile and nothing worthwhile is easily attained. There are no secret programs or shortcuts to athletic excellence. Great training programs focus on fundamentals and build on the basics.…


Added by Vern Gambetta on February 9, 2018 at 7:05am — No Comments

Routine - The Cornerstone

The cornerstone of effective practice is routine. A set routine is the basis for consistent practice. Great athletes and great teams have set routines for training that do not vary. In fact, with individual athletes training routines sometimes border on ritual. Routine allows the athlete to focus on the task at hand. There is security in having a routine. It gives an anchor point to build the training session upon. Start on time, have specific objectives and…


Added by Vern Gambetta on February 8, 2018 at 8:07am — No Comments

Announcing GAIN 2018 Faculty

Our faculty is a very special group with a tremendous breadth of experiences and a track record of excellence in their chosen fields. They know how a performance team works, how all aspects of athletic development complement each other and most importantly they understand the process of developing athletes. The faculty and their willingness to share and interact make GAIN special. They know how to connect the dots and still stay grounded in the basics. They…


Added by Vern Gambetta on February 6, 2018 at 9:01am — No Comments

Your Brand

In a traditional sense a brand is a name or a symbol. In coaching and teaching it represents you and what you stand for. You are your brand. Who you are? You action and your words define who you are to others. How honest you are with yourself will clearly define you. Be yourself and true to yourself. Live your core beliefs. Be the brand you want to be. A good place to start is genuine concern for others through your actions and words.

Added by Vern Gambetta on February 5, 2018 at 7:54am — No Comments

Failure and Risk

In order to succeed you must take risks, you must operate well out of your comfort zone. Risk implies that there is a chance of success or failure. Most of what holds coaches and athletes back from achieving ultimate success is not fear of failure, but fear of success. If they succeed, then they must do it again and probably be expected to do it better. This brings pressure, most of which is self-imposed. That being said to be highly successful failure must be…


Added by Vern Gambetta on February 2, 2018 at 11:20am — No Comments

Good Enough?

What are you doing to get better? Are you the best you can be at what you do? How do you know how good you are – How do you measure your performance?  What exactly do you do? Are you doing what you do because everyone is doing it or are your forging your own path? Are you a coach or a supervisor? Are you a good coach when you have talent and average coach when you don’t or are you the same coach regardless of talent level of your athletes? Do you know what you…


Added by Vern Gambetta on January 31, 2018 at 9:00am — No Comments

Learning to Move

If you want to learn how to move spend some time watching 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 can learn from this. The more we encourage our athletes to be kids again the better movers they will be. Instead we start “coaching” them at young ages through explicit learning drills and skill “progressions” that turn…


Added by Vern Gambetta on January 30, 2018 at 8:16am — No Comments

Anybody Find the Compass?

“Nevertheless, the field of Strength & conditioning still remains susceptible to fads, misconceptions and zealous philosophies that have little to do with sound scientific based knowledge and careful exercise prescription for enhanced sport performance for the athlete.” (Kraemer, William J. and Hakkinen, Keijo. Editors. (2002) Strength Training for Sport. London, England: Blackwell…


Added by Vern Gambetta on January 29, 2018 at 10:49am — No Comments

Coaching is Teaching

How do you teach? How you teach determines your effectiveness as a coach. It was drilled into me when I was in college and student coaching that coaching was teaching. Fortunately, early in my career I was mentored by and coached with some great teacher /coaches. As I reflect on that I realize how fortunate I was to have those influences. When I look at young coaches today I don’t see the same emphasis on teaching. I see technical knowledge, which is wonderful,…


Added by Vern Gambetta on January 26, 2018 at 9:04am — No Comments

The Three L's - Laps, Lines & Lectures

 “Let’s go - take two laps and then we will get started with training.” “If you miss this shot then you will have to run.” Think about it, you see this all the time at all levels of sport, talk about a practice killer! Practice time is precious; it is a daily opportunity to improve skill, tactics and sport specific fitness, and wasting time slogging laps to “warm-up” or extra sprints for punishment does not optimize the opportunity to improve. It does nothing…


Added by Vern Gambetta on January 24, 2018 at 7:51am — No Comments

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