Highlight Play Syndrome


Today with a plethora of 24-hour sport channels we have become conditioned to believe that sport performance is a series of “highlights”, spectacular plays that that determine the outcome of a game of match. Highlight plays are entertaining, but they come nowhere close to what actually happens in the game. Highlights are plays or situations that occur once a year, sometimes once a career. They are just that a highlight, a brief moment in time, often completely taken out of the context of the whole game. From an athletic development perspective why does this matter? It matters because I see this now dictating how we train. Instead of conditioning for the game, some coaches are conditioning for the highlight plays. Focus on the highlight plays does not prepare your athletes for the game. Thoroughly study and understand the demands of the sport you are preparing for. There are thousands of movements that occur that must be performed consistently to determine success. Train for those movements. Don’t get caught in this trap, condition, strengthen, develop speed for the whole game not the highlights, with good sound thorough preparation the highlights will be taken care of.

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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