Specialization

21

The other day someone asked what me specialty was in coaching? It is not often I am at a loss for words, but I had to stop and think for a minute. I have no specialty; I specialize is in being a generalist. As a track & field coach my specialty was combined events- decathlon & heptathlon, in many ways that sums it up. Coaching all the events enabled me to make connections between seemingly unrelated concepts and technical elements so that if I chose one event to work on I had better understanding of that event. Early on that defined the direction of my coaching. I worked in professional baseball for eleven years, most everything I did there was not from baseball, the training concepts came from track & field, swimming, team handball and cricket. Using information and ideas from other sports enabled me to see baseball with different eyes. I had an advantage because I had little background in baseball so I went far afield to improve the movements. I looked at the pitcher as a javelin thrower in long pants and trained him accordingly. Today I consult in many sports and coach day to day doing the physical preparation for beach volleyball. Some of the things I am doing with my beach volleyball players are things that I advise the sprint swimmer to do. Unrelated? Superficially yes, but on deeper examination there is much transfer. I am not a strength coach, that is way too limiting for me. I do coach people to get stronger though. How about a speed coach? Nope, too limiting again, you can’t get someone faster if they do not have strength and power. Don’t lock yourself into a narrow specialty, stay general, and learn from other sports and other disciplines. You will be a better coach for it and there is never a dull moment.

Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta

@coachgambetta

Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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