Half Truths and Lies


If you don’t know something or have the facts just make it up, just create your own set of facts to support your argument or point of view. You create a seperate meaning for the whole truth. It seems that this is acceptable in today’s world of hype, instant results and marketing. It is true in politics, government, and business and in athletic development. False or questionable facts unchecked take on a life of their own, just look around in the field of athletic development, you see it everywhere, exorbitant claims made for questionable training methods or equipment.

I am from a different era and place in time, but I was raised and taught and that if you did not know something you just admitted it, you did not fake it. If you made a mistake you learned from it and moved on, you did not repeat it or try to find a proof that it was right. If you made a claim for something there was substance or proof for that claim. Today, to use a Steven Colbert term, we rely on “Proofiness”, manipulation of questionable statistical methods to prove cause and effect. We also use “scienceness”, the use of shaky scientific studies or scientific studies out of context to explain or refute an idea or a concept. In essence we create alternate realities that have no bearing to what really happens in training or competition. As professionals we should be aware of this alarming trend and when see it call people on it.

In athletic development we cannot let this continue to grow unchecked, it is stifling the development and confusing to young coaches. Worst of all it is hurting the athletes who are subjected to questionable training methods. In no way am I claiming to have all the answers, I have very few, but I have many questions and so should you. I hope I know enough to ask probing questions that will alow me verify or refute an idea or a method. Ask questions, don’t just drink the Kool-Aid, and above all use common sense. Look at the method or concept with a critical eye, get behind the hype and find out who is selling and what they are selling. Ground yourself in sound principles of training, sport science and make yourself aware of best practice as basis for evaluation. Beware of false prophets bearing gifts, especially gifts you have to buy. If you want to be challenged a bit more on this, read Proofiness- The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception by Charles Seife, it will get you thinking.

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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