Jan 29, 2015
Tough Questions About New Tools

By Vern Gambetta

That drill really looks cool. That piece of equipment is really high tech–it has lots of lights, dials, and printouts. I saw so and so do that type of exercise and they are winning. Are these really good enough reasons for you to turn to a new training tool? There are some questions you need to ask when considering new training tools or evaluating what you are currently using. Let’s examine them.

• Are you doing it because everyone else is? Because it is the exercise of the day or the drill of the month? Monkey see, monkey do?

• Is the tool you are planning to use appropriate for the task at hand?

• Do you know how to use the new tool? Have you done your homework? In essence, have you read the instruction manual that came in the box?

• Does the athlete understand what the training tool is and why they will be using it? This is important because the athlete is an active participant in the process. Coaching is working with the athlete to help them improve. Therefore, their feedback in necessary and important.

• Is the new tool really going to be better than what you are doing or using now?

• Is the new tool replacing something in the training program or is it going to be added into the existing program?

• Analyze your objectives, then ask yourself, “What is my plan for achieving my objectives?” The training tools represent the actual point of implementation of the training, therefore the selection and use of the tools must be more than just exercises and drills. They must serve a specific purpose.

Also consider that Training=Testing and Testing=Training. Can the training tool you are considering give you daily feedback?

All of us have our go-to tools. Know what yours are. I have certain tools that I use across sports if they are appropriate. I use them because I know where they fit in my training system. They are reliable and provide me with accurate information regarding the athlete’s progress. I would need much convincing to eliminate those tools.

In today’s market-driven environment, it is often difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Hopefully this is some food for thought that can help you make better choices in selecting training tools.

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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