Paradigm for Athletic Development Program


This is aparadigm I have used for years. It has worked well for me and mycolleagues. It certainly has grown and evolved over the years but thebasic ideas are the same. I truly believe that by applying thisparadigm and understanding the basic principles of training that youshould be able to work effectively with any sport. Here is the paradigm:

# 1 – Know the Demands of the Game or Sport

# 2 – Know the Demands of the Position or Event

# 3 – Know the Qualities of the Individual Athlete

# 4 – Know the Pattern of Injuries in the Sport

Overthe years I have found that if I deviate from this then there areproblems. Once I have gone through the evaluation of these four stepsthen it is a matter of determining the need to do versus the nice to dotraining activities. This simple paradigm will allow you to derive ascomplex a training program as needed. This paradigm really evolved whenI was working as Al Vermeils’ assistant working withthe Chicago Bulls in the mid eighties. I thought that some of thethings I was having the players do in regard to conditioning were notreally based on the game of professional basketball, so I went to Al toget the video guy to shoot individual isolated video of our top sixplayers in games. What a revelation, it was not basketball it was morelike football or wrestling. It certainly made me rethink my ideas aboutconditioning for pro basketball. I do not know what was done with inregard to the Bulls, because I left soon after that to go to work forthe White Sox. I know that with the White Sox we carefully studied thedemands of the game, individual positions and the individual players.It is all part of a comprehensive system of athletic development. Withthe sophisticated tools available today there is no excuse for what wesee today in regard to conditioning for various sports. Theconditioning must fit the game, the position and the athlete and mustprevent injury. Too often we are trying to force the athletes intoboxes. Thing like the big three or distance running for speed powerathletes’ simply do not reflect reality of sport demands. As the oldcowboy used to say, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t makethem drink.

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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