The drill or exercise is the smallest component of the entire training process. Basically a workout is a blend of carefully selected drills and exercises designed to achieve a specific objective. Special consideration must be given not only to the selection of the individual drill but also to the sequence of the drills. There is a definite synergistic relationship between drills. It is imperative to be very specific with the goals and objectives of each drill so that they complement each other. Don’t just drill for drill sake, make sure the drill has meaning and purpose.

If you are considering adding a new drill or exercise to your training program it is always important to evaluate any new drill or exercises in the context of what you are already doing and the overall goal of the training program. Does the new drill do it better? Where is the new drill leading? Is it part of a progression? Perhaps the most important question is the new drill an absolute need to do activity or is it just nice do? If it is just a nice to do activity then it should not be included.

The goal is to put the drills or exercises into the context of the whole training program to optimize their effectiveness by choosing the correct drill to use at the correct time and place in the overall training program. To this use the following evaluative criteria:

Why are you doing the drill? Is it just a time filler or does it serve a specific purpose.

What particular athletic component or technical aspect does the drill enhance? Sometimes there is a tendency to try to have a drill do too much. Be very specific in designing the drill to address specific components or athletic qualities.

What is the actual drill? Stress the cues and coaching points that make the drill relevant and effective.

Do you need specialized equipment to do the drill? If so, how specialized? Do you have time within the context of the workout to use this specialized equipment? I know personally that there are many things that I can do using equipment or apparatus that I can do with an individual or a small group that will not work in the context of team training.

How is the drill performed? Correct execution is essential in order to elicit the optimum training adaptation. Be precise.

What are the ranges of sets and reps? This should be congruent with the purpose of the drill. Quality is more important than quantity.

It is doing what you wanted it to do? Mastery is the goal, so correct execution must be stressed. Mastery entails correct execution of the drill within the context of individual variability and sport demands.

When and where in the program does the drill fit? The timing and sequence of the application of the drill can often be more important that the actual drill.

What level of development is the drill best suited for? Certain drills, by their nature are better suited for the developmental athlete than a more advanced athlete.
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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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