Jan 29, 2015
The Edge

By Vern Gambetta

I know many of you are seeking the edge in training. For many years, I was doing the same. I was searching for secrets, the latest and the greatest, something special, that one or two percent that would make the difference.

The more I searched, the more elusive it became. Finally, I realized I had the answer right in front of me, that I could not see the forest for the trees. I had seen it time and again and missed it. In fact, I had done it and rejected it several times as unsophisticated and too simple.

So what is the edge? It is mindful, deliberate practice that never strays from the foundations of physical literacy and the fundamentals of the sport. The problem is that to constantly stress fundamentals seems mundane. It is the fundamentals that make the difference between staying injury free and getting injured, it is the fundamentals that are the foundation, and the fundamentals must constantly be reinforced.

I find that as a coach, I must teach the fundamentals daily. All the outstanding coaches that I have seen do the same. I now feel with a high degree of certainty that the search for the two percent is almost an exercise in futility, and that final two percent will come if I take care of the first 98 percent.

This is not to imply that you should stop learning and experimenting–by all means keep learning and refining in order to keep the edge razor sharp. It takes time and correct timing of the application of all elements of training. Take another look at your training, stop looking for an edge, coach the basics, and keep learning. You will be surprised at the results.

Vern Gambetta, MA, is President of Gambetta Sports Training Systems in Sarasota, Fla. The former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox, he has also worked extensively with basketball, soccer, and track and field athletes. He is a frequent contributor to Training & Conditioning. Vern also maintains his own blog.

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