Unstable environments for training & rehab


As a training surface a gymnastic floor or resilite wrestling mat is ideal. The athlete can work barefoot on these surfaces. This serves to significantly increase proprioceptive demand because of being barefoot and the compliant nature of the surface. If available sand that is well groomed into a consistent surface can also be a very good tool. All three of those surfaces significantly increase ground contact time and slow things down. This demands a tradeoff. But remember using unstable surfaces is a double edged sword. The goal is not to keep increasing the instability until it becomes a circus act. There is a tipping point where there are diminishing returns and you are creating ‘artificial instability.” Remember the goal is not to make them proficient on the unstable surface, but to make them comfortable in their training and competitive environment. If not where do you stop. This is a coaching call, there is no hard science to determine this point. Rather than more instability, move toward the competitive surface. The body will adapt quickly so move them along in the return to normal surface.

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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