Building the Athlete from the Ground Up


This is my outline of my presentation at the Evolution of the Athlete Conference:

Building the Athlete from the Ground Up

Vern Gambetta

Gambetta Sports Training Systems

3M +3P = Training System

What is Function?

Full Spectrum Work, Multiple Planes, Multiple Joints, Full Range of Motion & Proprioceptively Demanding

What is Functional Training?

Training that incorporates a full spectrum of training methods, designed to elicit optimum adaptive response appropriate for the sport or activity being trained for.

No one system is emphasized to the exclusion of another

No one method or physical quality becomes an end unto itself

Each athlete is a case study of one.

Be real – Avoid artificial restraints and positions


The ability to perform athletic movements (run, jump & throw) at optimum speed, with precision, style and grace within the context of your sport


# 1 Have a road map – Start with a plan, execute it, and evaluate it

Systematic approach to athletic development

The Puzzle – Putting the pieces together

Timing and Time


Must be measurable in order to be repeatable

Do’s >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Don’ts

How >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Why

What >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>When

What should it be? Is it game like?

Does it evaluate Fundamental Movements?

What are you looking for?

What will you do with what you find?

Can the athlete and coach relate to it?

Are you comparing to normative data or is the comparison intra individual?

Monitoring Training

# 2 Think big picture – Understand the movement constants

Interrelationship of the three constants dictates everything that we do

Body Gravity Ground

Build and rebuild the complete athlete

The big picture is the context; and context is everything

The muscles are slaves of the brain

Tap into, and use the wisdom of the body

No one workout or method will make the athlete; training is synergistic, just as movement is synergistic

# 3 Learn to use the ground efficiently – Start with gait

You can’t shoot a cannon from a canoe

Movement is gravitydriven

# 4 Fundamental movement skills must be mastered before specific sport skills can be acquired and advanced training undertaken

FUNdamental Movement Skills




Movement Awareness

Cultivatethe “Skill Hungary Years” ages 7 to 9

Not sport skill, movement skill

Crawl, reach, pull, push, climb, run, jump & throw

# 5 Train Linkage – Train toenails to fingernails

Train the symphony of movement

“Toenails to fingernails”

Respect the structure and function relationship

“…the function of a muscle depends critically on the context in which it is activated.” Roger Enoka

Spectrum strength train

Multiple Planes Multiple Joints

Full Range of Motion Proprioceptively Demanding

# 6 Train the core as the center of the action

Movement revolves around and through the core

It is the transmission and relay center of the body

Recognize its role in function and train it accordingly

Rotate >>>> Rotate>>>>Rotate

# 7 Build a work capacity base appropriate for your sport

Training is work with a purpose

The foundational work is based on the demands of the sport

Volume is NOT a biomotor quality

# 8 Train sport-appropriate – You are what you train to be

SAID – Specific adaptations to imposed demands

Reversibility – Use it or lose it

# 9 Think LongTerm – Training is cumulative

Systematic Sequential Progressive

Often, what you do not do is as important as what you actually do

# 10 The individual athlete is the focus – Recognize, train and rehab the individual

“Build athletic bodies that are adaptable rather than adapted” Steve Myrland

Must meet individual needs; no two individuals are alike

Many roads to Rome

Fast Adaptors Slow Adaptors

Discuss entry

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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