Following the Functional Path


Following the functional path in training and rehabilitation has been a journey of discovery. The more I ventured down the path, the more I realized it was a path that had been traveled many times before but had fallen out of use in favor of smoother paved roads that promised faster and easier results. Seeking to follow and better define the functional path is a continuing journey; fortunately it is a journey that many have traveled before. Functional training is very much in concert with the need to get back to basics. It is getting back to the basics of movement. It is learning to tune into the body and its inherent wisdom to produce rhythmic flowing movement.

In today’s high tech world we sometimes forget the basics because faster more measurable results are available through machines and high tech gadgets. The biggest lesson that I have learned is that the farther away from the body we stray the less functional we become. The human body is a beautiful finely tuned machine that far surpasses the most finely tuned high performance machine known to man. The body is the ultimate high tech machine. Despite all its complexity the body is also incredibly simple. Movement is a beautiful simple flow. The complexity in movement comes from combining simple movements into sophisticated patterns and then applying these patterns to specific sport and life activities. The body has an inherent wisdom, to take advantage of this wisdom we must focus on how the body functions. We must understand the interaction between the body, gravity and the ground in order to understand function. A thorough understanding of function will allow us to design and implement a very specific training program to meet the individual needs for each athlete we train.

Understanding and training function is a challenging process. It is often contrary to conventional wisdom as represented in current mainstream sport science research. This should not limit you from moving forward. Use conventional wisdom as a staring point and move forward faster, higher and stronger down the functional path. Following the functional path is challenging. The reward is in the results!

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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