The Good Old Days – Looking Back to Learn & Move Ahead


As I reflect over the past 49 years of coaches there were some things that were cornerstones of a productive system sport that do not exist today. I hope you all realize that I am not living in the past, but we MUST learn from the past, not repeat it.  Here are some areas that I think we could certainly look at and learn from:

Sport was centered in the schools – Therefore teachers were the coaches. Whether they were knowledgeable in the particular sport they had a foundation in pedagogy. Today anyone can coach.

Elementary schools had after school sports – Kids stayed at their neighborhood schools and played. Sometimes it was organized and other times it was supervised. Today you pass an elementary school after school is out and it is a ghost town.

Liability was not an issue – Climbing Ropes, Tramps, Peg Boards were everywhere. All of this has been taken away for “safety” and liability reasons. We are not challenging the kids.

Coaches were the experts – The high school coach was the expert in his or her sport, no special QB schools, you got coaches by your high school coach. Can this be a shortcoming if the coach is not knowledgeable, absolutely, but somehow, we overcame this.

Daily Physical Education was mandatory K through 12 – Need I say more. These PE teachers were also the coaches. They knew how to teach skill and organize, because they did it all day!

Off season Football was track – if you were a football player and did not play baseball you were out for track. You became a better athlete and you learned how to compete.

You played multiple sports – This was the rule not the exception. Seasons were defined so it was easy to do.

No Travel Teams & All Star Select Teams – This is killing school sports

A few ideas from an “OLD” coach; interested in your comments on how we could get some of this back if you think it is important.

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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