Vern Gambetta on Finding Your Compass


There was an interesting exchange on Charlie Weingroff’s Facebook page that I wanted to share with you between Charlie and Vern Gambetta. For those of you that don’t recognize Vern’s name he was a pioneer in our field in the eighties. The text is below. Let me know what you think.

Charlie- I wish people would listen to all of Mike Boyle’s message and not just hear bits and pieces. I think his message is a relentless seek and find for best practice for his training environments. Best practice as anyone would define it is indeed absolute at that moment. My best practice is not the same as Coach Boyle’s, but I think green folks can do a lot worse than copying him. As we know, I do many things differently than and even contrary to Coach, however, at the core of it all, we are in the same camp.

Vern- All I seem to hear is absolutes. What is his real message? Let me explain – I have respect for people who are consistent in their message and hold to their core beliefs. You must have your compass oriented to true north, not magnetic north that changes all the time.

Charlie- Coach [Gambetta], your statement’s brilliance is on the figurative nature of magnetism. My magnetism is to be the greatest at what I do that has ever lived. If I happen to see an unexpected new tool on the way to my true north, my compass draws me to pick up this tool. If I have to remove a tool I am already carrying, then at least I know where I left it if I need to go back and get it.

Vern- I am all for seeking a better way, that is something I have been trying to do for 41 years in coaching and some 8 years before that as an athlete. I am concerned about “experts” creating confusion for profit. We all need to raise our standards and expect more from each other. I am not attacking anyone, I learned a long time that it gets you nowhere, but I will call someone out if I think they are off base.

I only post this to illustrate how a guy who showed many of us how to reorient our compass in the 80’s now is critical of those of us who continue to do it. Vern was the father of functional training. He moved many of us, me included, away from a powerlifting and bodybuilding mentality. Now as we continue that move we get criticized for creating confusion for profit. Funny thought coming from one of the first guys to do seminars and videos for profit. I think Vern created the industry he now criticizes. What do you think?

22 Responses to “Vern Gambetta on Finding Your Compass”

  1. Michael,

    As your first intern…way way back…I have always remembered one of the first teaching points that you gave me, “Don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

    Why this?…Why that?

    That advice has stuck with me over the years. The reason that it was so easy for me to accept that advice from you was because you practiced what you preached. You have always asked the question: How can I get myself and my athletes better?

    Looking at training programs and hearing philosophies from different coaches over the years has given me many opportunities to ask “why.” Why do they choose to do this? Why are they having their athletes do that?

    Honestly, why are you being accused of “creating confusion” when, in reality, it really should be challenging us all to think, ask more questions, and get better?

    Keep it up!…Glenn

  2. At the end of the day our jobs at coaches is to provide our athletes and clientele with solutions that will help them acheive their goals.

    And we do this will the best knowledge and information wr have at that time in order to keep them healthy and performing well.

    But when coaches, no matter how long they’ve been coaching, critisize a coach for giving their athletes the best he/she has then I think that’s more ego talking than it is experience.

    We all nees to drop our egos and keep learning while we give our athletes our best!

  3. mboyle1959 Says:

    You guys are great. I didn’t post it to get all this praise but thanks.

  4. Don’t think you’ve lost your compass; just traded up for a GPS that tries to lead you down the best path to your destination. Even those things change the route sometimes!

  5. Jon Hudak Says:

    As a young coach in this field, you along with a few others, have literally taught me how to think for myself when it comes to programming. It would be easy to read old texts and research and write programs from them, and justify it as being sound training, but you’ve made it clear that this is never good enough. Seeing you change your ways after having already “made it” shows that your number 1 goal is finding the best way possible to do things, rather than just being on cruise control with older systems already in place.

  6. mboyle1959 Says:

    Thanks guys. I really don’t let it bother me.

  7. Todd Jones Says:

    Coach Boyle, I truly hope the latest issues with the NSCA and fellow colleagues like this incident don’t cease you from pushing the boundaries to improve performance, personally I really appreciate your insights and I know many other coach’s feel the same. Thank You Mr Boyle, you are a true game changer! Todd, Australia

  8. Coach I follow you every day on StrengthCoach.Com and I know for certain that you don’t change your methods for profit purposes. I don’t understand how anyone could find fault in your methods when your number one priority is the health and safety of your athletes. Whenever you get popular you will encounter a ton of “hatin’.”

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