Speed S&C Coach Vern Gambetta on Resilience, Over-Training and Lots More

Strength & conditioning, sprinting and resilience
Our favorite speed, strength and conditioning master coach is back: Vern Gambetta. This time we talk about lessons he’s learned from training mistakes he’s made over a career that spans about a half a century.

Coach Gambetta has been coaching speed, strength and agility for a vast variety of Olympic and professional sports including stints in baseball, with the New York Mets, the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds baseball teams, in basketball with the Chicago Bulls in basketball, in football with the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs in football, and in soccer the Tampa Bay Mutiny as well as the U.S. Men’s World Cup Team.

He’s head of the Gambetta Athletic Improvement Network or GAIN, which you can find on


Key themes: S&C coach; strength & conditioning, sprinting and resilience

Vern Gambetta’s Training Mistakes (Part One)

The following is a list of some mistakes that I have made in my coaching and teaching. If you learn from your mistakes I should be a genius, but unfortunately some of the lessons were only learned after I repeated these mistakes several times. I hope that by sharing these with you, it will help you to avoid making the same mistakes I have made.

It does not have to be hard to be good.

Each workout is part of a larger picture. If you put their backs to the wall in each training session you will quickly lose sight of the big picture. Everything must be in context. Remember that different physical qualities adapt at different rates, so they need to be stressed differently.

Too much, too soon

You can’t hurry the adaptive process. The younger athlete can handle a lot both in terms of volume and intensity, but once again if you lose sight of the big picture it is important to remember that by not following proper progression and individualizing can stifle long-term development.

Overloading the spine – Too often and too young

I think this is obvious so I don’t know why it took me so long to figure it out. Even with the mature athlete the spine just cannot take the heavy repetitive loading that is imposed on it by too much heavy back squatting and dead lifting. That does not mean you don’t use those exercises, just use them wisely.

Too many exercises or drills in a training session

This just leads to confusion from an administrative perspective and poor adaptive response on the part of the athlete. This results in a loss of focus. They get tired but they do not get better.

S&C coach; strength & conditioning, sprinting and resilience