The ‘Weight Room’


Folks I will break it to you gently, the weight room is not the answer. For those of you that still think of yourself as strength coaches I think it is time to reconsider what you are doing and how you are doing it. If the focus is on the weight room then the point of training the complete athlete is being missed. There are so many facets to athletic development that must be developed concurrently with strength that it is mind boggling. Over the past five weeks I have received numerous emails with variations of the same theme. “I turn my athletes over to the “strength coach” and the athletes get bigger and slower.” “They are getting hurt in the weight because everyone is doing the same program.” “Everyone has to squat heavy (Swimmers).” I have been on both sides of the fence here. I work with teams and schools to consult with them on setting up athletic development programs that are appropriate for their sport. Strength training is part of any sound athletic development program. Notice I said strength training; strength training is an umbrella term, under that umbrella there comes a spectrum of activities and methods from bodyweight gravitational load to heavy lifting to high speed, high force ballistic activities. What is appropriate for football where body mass and overcoming external resistance is not appropriate for volleyball or swimming. One size does not fit all! Also remember that strength training demands a different emphasis depending on the time of the competitive season. There are also different considerations for the female athlete, she must strength train more often and right through to the championship. ( For example Libby Lenton, the Australian swimmer who won five gold medals at the recently completed world swimming championship did her last strength training session on the Sunday with the World Championships beginning on Tuesday.) I am once again making the case for athletic development instead of strength and conditioning. We must give the athletes the basic tools to thrive in their sports, not just survive. We must build athletic bodies that are adaptable to any athletic situation presented to them, today we are focusing on building bodies that are adapted to one environment and that environment does not often transfer to the field, court, pool and track.

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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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