If you have not already discovered Vern Gambetta’s website FUNCTIONAL PATH TRAINING you need to. He has some great thoughts on conditioning, flexibility and technique.
About Vernon Gambetta
Vern is currently is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several teams in Major League Soccer 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 Director of Athletic Development for the New York Mets. Vern is recognized internationally as an expert in training and conditioning for sport having worked with world class athletes and teams in a wide variety of sports. He is a popular speaker and writer on conditioning topics having lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe. Vern’s coaching experience spans 39 years at all levels of competition.
Vern has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He received his BA from Fresno State University and his teaching credential with a coaching minor from University of California Santa Barbara. Vern obtained his MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
The Functional Path is a path that had been traveled many times before but had fallen out of use in favor of smoother paved roads that promised faster and easier results. Seeking to follow and better define the functional path is a continuing journey, fortunately it is a journey that many have traveled before. Functional Path training is getting back to the basics of movement. It is learning to tune into the body and it’s inherent wisdom to produce rhythmic flowing movement.
Technique must be the servant not the master. Within reason teach the athlete WHAT to do, not HOW to do it. Give them enough information and direction to allow them to solve the particular movement problem, then get out of their way and let them discover the way that works for them. Don’t turn them into robots by forcing them into a specific technique. Help them achieve good technique with being overly technical. Provide just enough direction and correction to spur their creativity.
Remember the story of the centipede: A centipede was happy quite, until a toad in fun Said, “Pray, which leg comes after which?” This raised his doubts to such a pitch
He fell distracted in the ditch
Not knowing how to run.
There is no one “correct” technique, each athlete will have their own way of expressing the technique demanded by the sport – that is called style. Everyone has a movement signature or a movement fingerprint that makes their movement unique, recognize that and build upon it to achieve the required technical competence.
Note from Tony
I have to disagree a little with this. Although there may not be one TRUE technique, there are some constants in the mechanics. Each gymnast needs to start with the correct mechanics before they “stylize” their technique.
Think of 2 gymnasts:
Gymnast 1, Long arms and legs, short torso (Long and skinny)
Gymnast 2, Short arms and legs, (shorter and more of a square build).
In teaching them both a Yurchenko vault, you are going to do the same basics as the same mechanics apply to both. In order to each back in the back handspring portion fast enough to get a good block, you will see some difference in “technique”.
You, as the coach, MUST remember what you did with each gymnast so that the next time you have a gymnast with a similar build, you go down that same path.
Otherwise, with each gymnast, you are reinventing the wheel.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?