Athletic Development: The Art & Science of Functional Sports Conditioning
By Vern Gambetta
Human Kinetics, 2007
"The explosion of information is 'noise'. They...do not have the background to differentiate good information from fallacious information."
This book, purchased in 2008, was one of those books I have been meaning to read literally from cover to cover for quite some time. Like one of my more recent reviews, "Developing Sport Expertise", "Athletic Development: The Art and Science of Functional Sports Training" is one of a number of books that I admittedly had started but put down with the purchase of another. For some reason, it is now my objective for the rest of the year to go back and read all those books, and hopefully provide a little summary and/or review to give you a better insight into its contents and real world meaning.
The quote above, taken from "Athletic Development", sums up my feelings upon reading this book in its entirety. Although it was directed to coaches in the context of their athletes, with the current age of information "noise" is spreading like wildfire and its important for us as professionals in whatever field to respect sound principles and keep things simple.
"Athletic Development" does just that. It outlines the important principles of sports conditioning in a straightforward manner that is highly comprehensible for both the beginner and expert strength and sport coaches. For the sport medicine professional, it introduces and summarizes the necessary concepts of athletic development for those who may not (for example) be CSCS credentialed.
Common themes throughout the book seem to highlight what Gambetta likely considers as his foundational principles of coaching athletes. Namely, the importance of fundamental movement skills at all levels as well as the mutual relationship between the coach and athlete. Divided into two main sections, Part 1: Elements of a Training System provides the reader with a global understanding of the needs of a sound athletic development program. By breaking the whole into its progressive parts, Part 2: Physical Contributors to Performance provides the reader with a foundational understanding of the specific components important in any program.
Although the concluding chapter, "The future of functional conditioning", closes the book, it does so in such a manner that opens the gates to a "path" that many coaches can follow. His advice?
"There is no need to make things complex. The interplay between al the training variables will take care of the complexity."
"As a coach, you need to think of yourself as a tour guide, carefully leading athletes to their destination without being overbearing, but now allowing them to get lost. To accomplish this, you must look for familiar patterns and take advantage of the relationships that will appear. Learn to foster those relationships."