Athlete & Coaching Development Pathway


The past two days I was in meetings reviewing the USA Track & Coaching Education program. A discussion with my friend and mentor Dr. Joe Vigil got me thinking about the process of athlete and coach development. We often focus on the process of developing the athlete that we forget the role the coach plays in the process. Athletes and coach development are parallel pathways. Coaches grow and develop the same as athletes grow and develop. Coaching is the cornerstone of athlete development. The athlete grows and develops as they move forward on their pathway to high performance. It is imperative that the coaches grow and develop along with the athlete to lead the athlete. The model is not very complex Frank Dick outlined it in his book Sports Training Principles thirty years ago.

  • Step One- Basic Conditioning and all that implies
  • Step Two – Basic Technical Model
  • Step Three- Appropriate Advanced Conditioning
  • Step Four- Specific Advanced technical Model

There is no definitive timeline to accomplish this. It is not about time; it is about timing, the mastery of various landmarks a long the path as stepping stones. The coach is the guide in the journey. At the beginning it is the coach who lights the spark that excites the athlete to begin the journey. The role of the coach changes in the process and eventually changes to the role of a mentor. As coaches we must challenge the athlete to grow and develop and eventually achieve independence. Systematic athlete development demands parallel coaching development. The coach must continually challenge themselves to be better the same way they challnge the athlete to be better.

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.
RT @GreatestQuotes: Your aspirations are your possibilities. - Samuel Johnson - 4 years ago
Vern Gambetta

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