Building an Aerobic Base


For some strange reason the myth that you must build an aerobic base for sprinting still lives. All over the country now as high school track practice is starting sprint coaches are working hard to get their sprinters ready. I have had several emails in the past ten days asking me about the need to build an aerobic base for sprinters. It is not necessary to build an aerobic base, you need to build a work capacity base, not an aerobic base. Taking a group of sprinters and running then for 30 or 40 minutes continuously will have no positive effect on their development. In fact everything about that is negative: 1) The kids get turned off, they are in the sprints because they are faster and explosive- fast, explosive people do not tolerate running slow 2) Irrefutable empirical and scientific evidence tells us that continuous slow aerobic work significantly compromises explosiveness. Very simply said, you are what you train to be- if you train slow, you will be slow! To get fast you must train fast. Start by teaching good running and acceleration mechanics. Get them functionally strong, do something fast every day. For more on this see my book, Athletic Development, this is a recurrent theme throughout the book. Once again I invoke the mantra, train your athletes to be adaptable rather than adapted. Incidentally the same concept holds true for you soccer, field hockey and basketball coaches out there. This will be a whole topic in our Apprentorship program. It is a huge problem today and the genesis of many injuries. This is a topic for another blog.
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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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