Happy New Year – Looking Back to Move Ahead


Each year I use the time between Christmas and New Years to reflect and evaluate my work over the past and even over the other years of my coaching. I use this period of time to gain perspective to move ahead. 2006 begins my 37th year of coaching. In many ways it does not seem like it has been that long. In other ways it seems like forever. Society certainly has changed during that time, consequently sport, which is a mirror of society, has also changed. I remember 1969 as a more naive and innocent time in sport. The athletes in high school played multiple sports and they were encouraged by the coaches to do so. There was mandatory Physical Education from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Youth sport was almost nonexistent, except for some summer baseball and club swimming. Kids played without adult supervision, yes there were some fights, but they settled it without lawyers or parents involved. On the negative side there were very limited opportunities for girls to compete in interscholastic sports, it took another five years for that to become reality. There were actually amateur sports. I could not be paid to coach, I had to be paid as a Physical Education teacher or I would have lost my “amateur” status. Many of us trained just because we wanted to get better. I trained with some Olympians, but I was far from that level.
I know this sounds like I am living in the past, I must admit that as I get older the good old days do look better. We have certainly made tremendous progress in the past 37 years. I talk about the past because it is important to know where you have come from to get ahead. We now live in an age of professional sport, early specialization in youth sports, and a lack of Physical Education. As someone who has seen it both ways I feel we need to take a good look back so that we do not repeat our mistakes and progress forward. We certainly have the advantages that technology has brought us. We do have better facilities. I am not sure that our coaches are as well prepared. In the old days the great majority of the coaches were affiliated with the schools, so they had a good background in pedagogy, they were teachers. We do need to do a better job of training our coaches, There are some very good programs out there like the USA Track & Field Coaching Education program. We need more programs like that. The goal in youth sports should be to provide a good experience by teaching fundamentals and the rules.
We can move forward in a positive manner. There are many more opportunities now that there were 37 years. The explosion of information on training and coaching is mind boggling. It is imperative that there be a context to evaluate the information and separate the wheat from the chaff. That is my goal in 2006 with this blog and the web page. I want to help coaches be better by directing their search for knowledge.

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.
RT @GreatestQuotes: Your aspirations are your possibilities. - Samuel Johnson - 4 years ago
Vern Gambetta

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