Where’s the Switch?


Where is the switch to turn on those magic muscles in Shaq’s butt? The drivel and misinformation that is passed around continues to amaze me. “He has weakness in his gluteus muscles” according to Phoenix suns trainer Aaron Nelson. Wait it gets better: “The medical issues that forced the 7’1” O’Neal to miss sixteen games this season were not, they say precipitated by structural abnormalities, widespread tendinitis or lingering ramifications from surgeries to his right big toe (a bone spur removed in 2002) and left knee (a scope in 2006). Rather, the tight and weak muscles have prevented have prevented him from moving freely. “We can get those areas firing,” says Nelson.” Sports Illustrated, February 18, 2008 page 35. This is just another example of the reductionist approach that does not work. The athlete becomes dependent on the therapist to “activate and get those muscles firing”, they do not get a feel for their body and the movements necessary to stay healthy and efficient. It is amazing to me that they dismiss the toe surgery and left knee scope as unimportant. If you have anything wrong with your big toe it sets off a chain reaction up the kinetic chain that will cause a myriad of problems. Sure he is tight in his calves and hips, he has to be to be to make up for what is happening down the chain with his toe and knee. Folks this is not rocket science, think big picture and remember it is ultimately about the athlete. He must be motivated and compliant and want to get better and stay healthy. Stop looking for the switch to turn on those magic muscles and focus on movements and coordination of the body parts working together.
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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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