The Combat Athlete


I just returned from an amazing three day symposium on training the combat athlete at Hurlburt Air force Base Florida. The focus was on revising the curriculum throughout the pipeline of training for the Air Force special Ops troops. I was never in the military so much of what I saw and heard was new to me. It is an amazing culture of physical and mental preparation with a laser like focus on building a team. All the analogies about battle we use in sports are really cliché’s when you hear and see preparation for real battle as these folks must fight. They are the first ones in. They have to depend on their teammate’s not to make a block or a pass but to save their lives. To their credit they recognize that their training methods need to be up graded to reflect current best practice in the world of elite sports and current research from sport science. That was the purpose of the symposium. That being be said the focus and dedication was equivalent to what I have seen at the highest level of elite sport.

This is food for thought- think of how you would prepare for this scenario: You are notified via beeper that you are leaving in thirty minutes. Your gear is packed and you do not know where you are going. When you arrive you learn you are flying to Afghanistan. You fly 17 or 18 hours, get off the plane, get on a helicopter and are flown to 12,000 in the Hindu Kush mountain range. You get off the helicopter wearing 85 pounds of equipment and body armor and then climb on trails to 16,00 feet of altitude to immediately engage the enemy in a fire fight. You may stay there for four months or you may hike back down and leave the next day. These guys are athletes!
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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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