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. Very nice quote, Chris. Well said. I will use it!

  2. The analogies to a compass and gps are making me laugh. Which parts of Coach Boyle’s programs is Coach Gambetta referring to as not “true north”? From the outside looking in, I would not say I know Coach Boyle’s programs, or philosophy, through and through. But I would like to know more specifics about what Vern considers a “true north” heading within Mike’s program. As always, thanks for sharing Coach Boyle!

    BTW You really do have to look far and wide to find something thought provoking and “new” now a days. Too much watered down info is out there that can turn anyone into an “expert” after doing their “research” (AKA “watching YouTube”) for one weekend. Such a shame.

  3. Chris Kelly Says:

    I have heard many times that ego is a component of success. The question is where does it end? Does Coach Boyle have an ego about his work? Sure, but he also listens to reason and changes course when he finds a better way.

    This seems the definition of best practices. It also reminds me of a great quote I heard a great quote in an interview with Martin Rooney on the concept of Beginners’ mind:

    “In the beginning, our minds are open and the possibilities are endless. As we become experts, these possibilities become fewer and fewer.”

  4. I agree with Anthony Renna. Plus I will add, Confusion comes into play when EGO comes into play. I do not see nor sense an EGO problem with Mr. Boyle. I thank God for people like him, inspiring us to seek the truth and go forward. Mr. Boyle is a genius and ahead of his time. I am surpirsed he hasn’t been stoned and beaten in the streets as so many men in history have been (who were also ahead of there time).

  5. All I know is that I have learned a ton from both of you. I don’t know either one of you personally, so I don’t know where this criticism comes from. At the same time, I don’t care because your websites and products have helped me tremendously.

    When it comes to developing athletes, I think you two are more alike than anything. The stuff I see criticized is usually tom-a-to, tom-ah-to to me. I would send my kid to either one of you because I know they would become better athletes and more importantly better people.

    All I know is that both of you are getting more publicity because of this! What do they say, any publicity is good publicity.

    Did you two arrange this? (Just kidding)

    Keep up the good work.

  6. Ant, great point. Where are we going? I have been in the industry 12 years, and a lot has changed since then. I have to be humble sometimes when I tell a client what not to do, when it is the complet opposite of what we did 2 years ago. Coach Boyle isn’t the only one who has changed his methods over the years.

  7. The reason why we need a compass is because we don’t really know where we are going. Apparently, Coach Gambetta is arrogant enough to think he knows where true north is. I guess he’s done learning, he must know it all.

  8. Vern seems to disagree with anything not said by him first. The only thing I read from him anymore is criticism of other people – he never (anymore) adds anything to the criticism or illustrates an alternative or better way. I used to read his blog daily, but haven’t visited in months because I tired of his complaining about other people and he rarely offered anything new or helpful.

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