Training Mythology


Barry A. Stockbrugger, MSc., CSCS, CEP wrote the following: I have been working with a University women’s volleyball team for some time now (approx. 5 yrs). I use a functional approach to their training and have had quite good success over the years. Recently, 4 of our players attended a National U21 camp where they stood out as being the most fit group there. As part of the camp they had sessions with the athletic therapy staff and strength and conditioning staff for more of an information session than actual training program administration. During the session with the strength and conditioning coaches, one of the coaches told them they should avoid at all cost overhead pressing. We do include both overhead pressing and pulling movements in our current program to allow for a good strength base when they are at the net blocking etc., but we do not do any overhead work that requires high velocity. None of it involves behind the head type work though. I would love to here your comments on your blog regarding overhead pressing and/or pulling for overhead athletes such as volleyball, baseball, tennis,etc.

This ranks right in there with the not letting the knee go beyond the toe and the toe up (dorsiflexion) in sprinting. I use overhead movements all the time in all the sports you mentioned. I have used those movements for years. It is that the overhead movement that can be the problem, it is how you get overhead, remember that the shoulder is connected to the hip, the hip leads. In all those sports you mentioned the overhead movement is a direct performance factor, therefore it must be trained in a systematic manner. One key is that the overhead movements must correlate with what is happening in practice. I am careful not to add fatigue to fatigue. Remember it is our job to prepare the athlete athletically so that the sport coach can optimize technique and skill. Old myths die hard!

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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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