Book Review- “Athletic Development”

Vern Gambetta is a world renowned strength and conditioning coach with over 40 years of experience.  He has worked with athletes in many sports including experience in high school, the NCAA, NBA, and extensive work with Major League Baseball teams.  He’s certainly someone worth listening to if you’re serious about sports performance training.  In his book, Athletic Development, Gambetta summarizes all his years of research and experience.  He covers all aspects of a fully integrated plan for sports performance training.

In the beginning of the book, Gambetta takes the time to point out that coaching is a unique blend of science and art.  He notes that every athlete, coach, and circumstance is different.  It’s worth considering each of these variables when designing training programs.  While science is hugely important, there’s always that “human” factor, right?

One of my favorite parts of the book explains the concept of “sports specific needs analysis”.  That  just means that before a coach designs a strength and conditioning program for any athlete, he must first analyze the needs of athletes in that sport.  A training program for an Olympic swimmer would be quite different than a program for an NFL offensive lineman.  What are the most common injuries in a specific sport, and what exercises would help prevent them?  What are the muscles and qualities that must be most developed for success in that sport?  Gambetta takes a systematic approach to discovering the needs of each athlete in order to design the best program to improve their performance.

**** :  This is a great book if you’re a strength coach or serious competitive athlete.   gained from practical experience coaching athletes at the highest level of sport.  You’ll learn about training for strength, conditioning, agility, quickness, plyometrics, coordination, and more.  However, if you’re a recreational athlete or exerciser, this might not be the book for you.  It’s filled with lots of technical scientific words and training methods driven by pure performance.  You won’t learn a lot about nutrition or weight loss techniques from this book, but if you’re a serious athlete, strength coach, or exercise science geek like me; this is a book worth reading.  I really enjoyed reading this research style book.