Without risk there is no return. Certainly no truer words have been spoken. As coaches in preparing our athletes for competition one of our big jobs is to manage risk. Each training session contains an element of risk and to optimize the training benefit the risk must be calculated. In order to achieve adaption we must push the envelope of function, therefore higher risk. The question is how hard and how often? Obviously it is highly individual, sport and event specific. There is no way to have the athletes on the edge all the time. Something will eventually breakdown.

As I have mentioned many times in this blog Bill Bowerman was a huge influence on my coaching. His mantra was a very strict adherence to a hard day of training followed by an easy day. Without sophisticated monitoring technology he was able to achieve great success following this principle. His simple hard easy sequence was his method of managing risk. We know that training is cumulative. Every workout does not have to be at the edge of the envelope of function. The key is to stay healthy and allow the training effects to accumulate. Find out how much and how often you can push it to expand the adaptive horizon, but be sure to balance that with adequate easier work that allows time to adapt.

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


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

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