More than an Exercise


Exercise or drill selection is one of the last steps, if not the last step in the process of planning a training program. I emphasize the last step, not the first step or the focal point. It is always more than the exercise, it is the big picture. There are no magic exercises. There are some key focus exercises in the menu that must be done to accomplish specific tasks in specific sports with specific individuals. Those tools are based on key movements’ that must be accomplished to train for the sport. I know that as I have progressed in my career the toolbox has significantly increased in size but the number of tools that I actually use is significantly less. I used to think that because I had a training tool that I had to use it. It took me awhile to figure it out. I was infatuated by menus of exercises like the book depicted here that was a French translation of an East German book. I thought that was were the secrets were, but when I got around the east Germans and learned from them it was more that going to the book and picking one of the 1,000 exercises, it was the plan and the methodology behind the exercises.
The analogy that I always use is that as a coach you are skilled craftsman, you know what tool to use, to do what job and at what stage of the building process. A tool appropriate in the earlier rougher stages of building will not be appropriate when you are fine tuning details. Know the tools and how to use them. Remember the adage if the only tool you have is a hammer then everything becomes a nail.

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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