Wake Up – Call to Action


This willprobably not be a popular post in certain quarters, I am going tochallenge some people and hopefully make all of you think. This post isnot a knee jerk response or impulsive, rather it is a culmination of myobservations of what I see going on in the field today. It is also notan indictment, this is a challenge, a challenge to change and getbetter. There are many great professionals out there who are workinghard to improve and get better, to all of you stay the course, getactive and help define this field. To the other get off your butts,keep an open mind, learn, stop repeating the same experience over andover.

Here are some things that I have seen first hand that prompted me to write this:

Punterat school in SEC hurts his back while testing 1RM squats two daysbefore the start of practice, he cannot punt for two weeks.

At another Division I school swimmers are made to power clean and back squat with weight – the swimmers have back problems.

I know Division I Track & Field coaches who will not let their athletes anywhere near a strength coach.

At one school all athletes in all sports are tested on the big three, regardless of sport demand.

Atanother school hockey goalkeepers are tested on bench press maximumreps with 185 pounds and then tested on twelve minute run.

I could go on with numerous examples, but hopefully this makes the point.

Here are some questions and statements meant to stimulate thought:

Is what you are doing based on an exercise or a method of exercise or is it principle based?

Areyou creating athletes who are adapted to the weight room or are yourcreating adaptable athletes ready for all the demands of their sport?

Do you ever participate in or watch a whole training session/practice in a sport you are working with?

Howis strength training integrated into skill development, technical andtactical development of the sports you are working with?

If your weight room was closed for repairs could you still train the athletes you work with?

Do the sport coaches you work with believe in, endorse and participate in what you do or do they tolerate it?

What is your job? Are you a coach or a weight room supervisor?

Does everyone you work with get the same program?

How many injuries to the athletes you work with can be traced to exercises or methods you are using?

Are you fit enough and proficient to demonstrate what you are teaching?Can you talk the talk and walk the walk?

If you do not want the trainer (ATC), Doctor or Physical Therapisttelling you what to do, then what are you doing to be proactive andtake command of the situation?

Weneed to wake up, stop trying to build Strength & Conditioning intoa separate empire. We must recognize that out job is to help thecoaches put the healthiest, athletically prepared athlete on the field.Strength and Conditioning is not an end unto itself, it is a means toan end. Remember it is the sport coaches whose job is on the line, notyours. All of us (myself included) need to take a close look at what weare doing and how we are doing it.

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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Vern Gambetta

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