History is Alive


It is so important to know history, especially in today’s climate of instant information. Historical context is all important. Many training concepts and methods being practiced and promoted commercially are 50, 60, 70 years old or even older. Historical perspective gives a clearer direction on what you are doing now or what you are planning to do. Certainly, we can learn how these concepts and methods were previously used, what worked and what did not work and most importantly why. Often these methods fell out of favor for various reasons, and it is helpful to know why. History can tell us that. Understanding those reasons will help us to avoid repeating mistakes.

So-called kinograms are not new. We called them sequence photos! There are volumes of great photos going back at least 60 years taken by German coach and photographer Toni Nett. They represent elegant examples of technique of great athletes in all events. In 1970 Phil Bath came out with roll out sequences of top athletes in their respective events. They were taken with a high-speed camera, some of the rolls were six to eight feet long. They were a staple in my coaching. The downside of these as well as the use of the so-called kinograms today is that we started coaching positions too much.

Isometrics are not new! Some of you may be old enough to remember Charles Atlas promoting his dynamic tension training on the back of comic books – that was isometric training. When I started weight training in 1962 isometrics were all the rage. Isometrics worked then and they work today. It is interesting that isometrics have never fallen out of favor in rehab. It is a method that I have used throughout the years in specific programs. Isometrics will not replace dynamic methods but are a great adjunct.

So called functional training is not new, 40 or 50 years ago it was called physical education. It was oriented toward handling bodyweight in all planes of motions, sometime using apparatus and other time just body weight. It consisted of extensive use of dumbbells, kettlebells, ropes, pulleys, Indian clubs and medicine balls.

So, the bottom line is, take the time to know history. Don’t repeat history, learn from it to get better and advance knowledge.

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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