NSCA 2007 – Observations and Comments


I must admit I left with my head spinning. Not 100% sure what I expected, it had been three years since I last attended the NSCA Convention. The attendance was certainly impressive. The composition of the attendees seemed to be different than three years ago, less personal trainers more people oriented to performance. That also may reflect bias, because you do see what you are looking for. I could not help but contrast what I saw and heard here with what I observed first hand in Australia and some other countries I have been in the past two years. We are stuck in a rut. I still get the feeling that people are looking for the holy grail or the magic bullet that will produce champions. Needless to say to say it is an endless and fruitless pursuit. Despite that there were many people who were hungry to learn and willing to share. I really think a lot of the younger coaches need guidance so that they do not make the same mistakes that many of us made following the functional path. I am not really sure the best to do this. There is so much hype and commercialism that confuses the issue.
I was only able to attend four presentations because of conflicts with my talk and appointments. The talk I attended on Core Stabilization was disappointing. The talk on Endurance and Strength Training was good, but I am not sure the strength training for the endurance athlete has to be Olympic lifting. Clive Brewers talk was good but once again was very oriented toward strength perspective. Strength is one biomotor quality, certainly important, but very interdependent on the other qualities. I wish I could have attended more of the research presentations. I thought the research poster presentations were outstanding, I wish they would have remained up for the whole conference in order to have time to study them more.
What I resented in the past and it is still there are the presentations that are sales presentations. There is no place for that in a professional convention. If I want infomercials I will stay home and watch television. One presentation went so far as to tell the audience to come to their booth to get the handouts. I had to have my handouts in by May1! I think every speaker should be required to provide full disclosure as to who they receive money from for endorsements. Another solution is to have an afternoon of product demonstrations. Everyone gets 30 minutes to peddle thierr wares. I realize everyone has to make a living. I acknowledged Perform Better as my sponsor that was enough.
For me the best part of the convention was the professional interchange and exchange of ideas with colleagues. Saturday afternoon I was able to visit with some of the Aussie and the guys from ASPIRE in Qatar, a great group of young professionals, one of the highlights for me. My highlight was getting to do a From the Field presentation with Steve Odgers. Steve and I do not get to do much together anymore so that was fun.
I came away convinced more than ever that the field needs definition – it must be Athletic Development. I hope my talk made the point and got people thinking. Getting strong is easy – developing an athlete is hard – it demands that you follow the functional path in order that the training transfers into performance.

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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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