Monkey See, Monkey Do


The conversation starts out like this after Joe Blow wins a world championship. “Yea I heard that every other day he ran backward up a 400-meter hill wearing a snorkel while he was barefoot. Wow I think I need to have my cross-country team do that.” So we throw away our shoes, buy snorkels and find a very steep 400-meter hill and proceed to do Joe Blows workout three times a week. You might say that is absurd, well look around. This goes on all the time, I call it the monkey see, monkey do syndrome. Did you ever stop to think that what Joe Blow or whomever you are copying might have achieved in spite, not because of what they did? Look at in context, why did it work for Joe Blow? Just because it is on YouTube or on a popular exercise forum does not mean is it something your athletes should be doing. Remember the training you are doing with your athletes should fit your athletes. It should be appropriate for their training age and stage of development. Don’t copy, innovate, learn what you athletes need and find better ways to meet their needs. Chances are you will find that it is pretty basic and seldom more than one standard deviation from the mean. Don’t play monkey see, monkey do.

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

Latest posts by Vern Gambetta (see all)