Innovation and Change


Innovation is probably one of the most overused words in our language today. Innovation is closely linked with change, as it should be. What I notice is that people and organizations seem to be willing to talk about innovation and change, but when it comes to decision making time it is back to the same old way of doing things. I think what people do not realize is that to stay the same requires change. Innovation does not have to be revolutionary; it can be an evolutionary process. Regardless if it is evolutionary or revolutionary it is not comfortable, to innovate requires stepping out of your comfort zone. The whole field of strength and conditioning and sports medicine needs change. The same people keep making the same mistakes with the same athletes year after year. Regardless if it is hamstring pulls, oblique strains or knee injuries why don’t people question what they are doing. I saw an article the other day where one top ten football team had three major injuries in the last eight minutes of practice- do think that was just bad luck? Vince Lombardi may have said that fatigue makes cowards of use all, but fatigue, especially cumulative fatigue from multiple practices in hot humid environments causes injuries. The simple fact of the matter is that if you do what you have always done, then you will get what you have always got. That is not very good English but very true. Is it really that innovative to get someone to look at their practice plan or even to plan practice with injury prevention in mind? Is it that hard to figure out that if you spend 15 minutes a day sucking in your abs in a prone or supine position that you are doing nothing to prepare for the demands of swinging a bat or throwing a ball. In essence you are setting the player up for an oblique strain. The first step to innovation or change demands that the people involved recognize a need to innovate or change. This demands more than words, it demands a sincere commitment. It demands recognition that there sometimes there will be regression before you see progress. It demands having a long term plan and a vision of the big picture. Change requires a move from an emphasis on training methods and a hang up on exercise or certain types of lifts to understanding movement and the fact that the body needs to be stressed in an appropriate manner based on the demands of the sport. It takes research, dedication, and work. There is not easy algorithm to follow, no computer program or book where you will find the answers. It demands a very dedicated performance team with everyone fully committed and on the same page. Based on situations that I have seen over the past four years my attitude is very pessimistic that we will significant change anytime in the near future. Ultimately the loser in this both figuratively and literally is the athlete. That is a sad state of affairs.
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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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