Odds and Ends, Comments – Looking Ahead

I think the ongoing dialogue in regard to my posts about getting it and the muscle head mentality has really been quite good and interesting. In the next week or two I will post more on the concept of adaptability and creating adaptable athletes. Many of you have asked me to give specific examples and some ideas and progressions of things I've used and things that I've seen to achieve this. I plan on doing that and I think it will help clarify the concept and spur you on to think further and to look at this more in depth. Ultimately I think we all should remember that the athletic development process is not something we do to the athlete is something we do with the athlete. Our job as professionals in athletic development is to help develop the most complete athlete we possibly can and to put that athlete into the competitive arena confident in their preparation so they can express their movement dynamics and ability to compete without reservation. There is definitely science to all of this and that cannot be rejected or denied. But I also feel that the more I coach, the more I recognize the beauty and the wisdom of the body and the subsequent movements that the body is capable of doing. I'm sure if all of you look at what you've done over the years that a lot of times what we have done under the guise of coaching and direction is to really create robots with a paint by numbers approach rather than giving them an empty canvas and a rich palate of colors to eventually paint a beautiful painting. That painting is their performance that allows them the expression of their movement abilities to the optimum. This is all a very creative process. I truly believe that the current research in skill acquisition and coordination dynamics is telling us that what we have to do is give the athlete movement problems to solve with the recognition and the understanding that a lot of times there are not correct answers, the athelet will determine the correct answer. And as we start this magical journey called athletic development I think what we need to do is first of all understand the physical competencies necessary to achieve performance in the competitive arena and then you have to give the athletes the physical literacy to be able to strive in a healthy manner toward the achievement of performance in that competitive arena. We must recognize that it is a takes time. It is a long and circuitous path, the functional path is sometimes very well paved and other times it is no more than a trail in the forest so to speak. Ultimately recognize that the body is smart, and the body will find a way to solve the movement problems. If you have any doubt about this watch kids in free play in a natural environment. Watch athletic geniuses perform on the field and see how they adjust, those adjustments happen too fast to be on a cognitive level. We must recognize that as athletic development professionals we must teach them their athletic ABCs so that they eventually can produce a great novel of athletic performance.

This should never be if someone is right or wrong. My goal is to stimulate discussion and thought about why we do what we do, when we do it. One trick ponies are just that, we have to help develop the complete athlete we can't afford to be one trick ponies in training, because are not one trick ponies in the competitive arena. So we need to give the athlete a myriad of tools across a spectrum of demands that will enable them to achieve the highest level of athletic excellence relative to their potential. It is that simple.


At 7/27/07, 1:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Gambetta,
The color by numbers analogy makes complete sense to me. Where I find the real challenge is how do you start with a "color by numbers" athlete and convert them into a beautiful painting?

Where does instructing form of a movement fit onto this empty canvas?

Or do you teach form by manipulating the problems the athlete has to solve? Is this what you mean by adapting the exercise to the athlete and not the athlete to the exercise?

Jonathan Hewitt

At 7/28/07, 10:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get the feeling that the muscle head types forget about outer zone balance. Great athletes have great outer zone balance. Game movements require the athlete to produce and react to forces in many different planes simultaneously. This can not be reproduced most effectively with olympic lifts. Is not using olympic lifts for soccer/basketball ect just another form of crosstraining which literature does not fully support.

Mark Day

At 7/30/07, 4:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tipping my hat to you.

Joe Carbone


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