The Generalist


A change that I have seen over the years is a transition from the generalist coaches of my generation to the specialist coaches of today. I am not sure this is a positive trend. If I have choice of hiring a coach I will always lean toward the generalist. I know most of my colleagues, the ones that I lean on the heaviest, are consummate generalists. Certainly the coaches that changed training and changed their sports, Bill Bowerman in Track & Field and Doc Councilman in swimming were generalists. The generalist has the ability to:

  • To make connections among seemingly unrelated information.
  • For the generalist it is not the links, but the linkages that make the system.
  • The specialists focus on the links, generalists can stand back and see, in the bigger, holistic picture, how they work together.

I made the choice to be a generalist 40 plus years ago. Certainly no regrets on that choice, it allowed me to better understand movement and all the permutations. I would urge those of you who are early in your careers to look at this option, it is more FUNdamental, there is never a dull moment because rather being hung up on minutiae your are constantly making connections. Those connections translate into results.
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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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