The Holy Grail


Why is it that each generation of young coaches has to go in search of the Holy Grail, that place or person who has the answer? Over the past several months I have run into too many coaches starting out in the field or early in their career who are seeking the answer. The problem as I see it they do not yet know what questions to ask. They have not made enough mistakes yet to sharpen their skills. I do not know who said this, but truer words have never been spoken- It takes twenty years to be an overnight success. That certainly reaffirms what I have seen. The other quote that resonates for me is from is from Gertrude Stein- “The answer is there is no answer.” The fact of the matter is there is no Holy Grail or fountain of knowledge, nor is there no one answer. The challenge is to keep learning, keep asking questions. Formulate a philosophy and that should not change. Your philosophy is your guiding light, your core beliefs. These core beliefs should then guide your search for answers, it should provide a context to evaluate what is good and what is bad in what you are doing and adjust accordingly. It is my opinion that there is no entitlement in coaching, you have to prove yourself at each step of your career. Frankly I feel sorry for some of the coaches I have seen thrust into positions they did not earn or are not ready for. They quickly become experts who do not know what they don’t know. Unfortunately there is too much of this today. Coaching and the ability to coach is special. It demands a focus and commitment second to none. There is no simple way to prepare for this except to acquire hands on experience. I think every coach should start out at the elementary school or middle school level that is the real world. The basics and the skills you learn in teaching and coaching at that level are invaluable. The other day at volleyball practice I flashed back to almost 40 years ago when I was working with one of the girls on throwing. A simple skill that is a precursor to much of what happens in striking a volleyball. Without my experience teaching Junior High School gym class I would never have learned that. The JV coach asked where I had learned that. I must have had a class somewhere but all I can remember is that early on I had a bunch of kids who could not throw so I had to teach them. There is no substitute for that kind of experience. The last thought here is to remember that coaching is high touch not high tech, there is no substitute for being able to demonstrate the skills. Enjoy the journey, make up your mind to continually learn. Don’t be satisfied with one answer, keep asking questions.
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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.
RT @GreatestQuotes: Your aspirations are your possibilities. - Samuel Johnson - 4 years ago
Vern Gambetta

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