More than the Exercise


I can go YouTube now or any one of hundreds of sites on the Internet and you can find a plethora of exercises. In my estimation that is a big part of the problem we have in athletic development. It is so much more than the exercises. I see training programs built around exercises, in some cases the more exotic and bizarre the exercise the better. That is putting the cart before the horse. Don’t get me wrong I love playing with new exercses, tinkering, seeing if I can improve what I have been doing, maybe find a better tool. Before I add a new exercise to my toolbox I test and prototype type extensively. It is not a frivolous process. That being said, the selection of the exercise is one of the last steps in the whole process. The exercises are determined by the demands of the sport, the position or the event, the characteristics of the athlete and the pattern of injury in the sport, it is no more complicated than that. Be specific and make the exercise fit what you want to accomplish in that cycle of training and that particular workout.

After 42 years of coaching the number of exercises in my toolbox is huge, but in point of fact when it comes down to the actual workouts the selection is very narrow and directed. I know there are there are no magic exercises but I do know there some basic remedial exercises that I use to start each session that allow me to assess the athlete’s readiness for training and to tune up the nervous system. At that point become a skilled craftsmen, go to the toolbox and select the appropriate tools (exercises) for the task at hand. Certainly less is more. A few well-chosen exercises will that are measurable and manageable will get the job done. You don’t need eight exercises when two or three will do. Focus on the absolute need to do exercises and leave the nice to do exercises in the toolbox. Shift the focus from the exercise to the task at hand. Make the exercise fit the athlete not the other way around.You don’t need to entertain them you need to coach them.

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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