Home Blog The Most Overlooked Continuing Education Opportunity for Fitness Professionals

The Most Overlooked Continuing Education Opportunity for Fitness Professionals

Written on December 22, 2011 at 9:29 am, by Eric Cressey

I write a lot at EricCressey.com about various continuing education opportunities for fitness professionals.

Reading this blog and other related websites on the ‘net is one.

Checking out some of my products and those created by other folks in the industry is a second.

Attending seminars is a third.

Getting out to observe other coaches is a fourth; we have observational interns stop by all the time to check out Cressey Performance for a day or two.

Fifth would be teaching.  One of the best ways to master a topic is to have to teach it and answer questions about it.  This is why giving seminars and doing staff/intern training makes me better at what I do.

However, there is a sixth option out there that – to be very honest – blows all the rest out of the water.

All of your clients/athletes have things to teach you.

Case in point, Monday was the busiest day in Cressey Performance history, as lots of our college guys rolled back in from the fall semester and jumped in with our professional athletes, adult clients, and high school and middle school clientele.  This week alone, we saw athletes from the following:

29 of the 30 MLB organizations

Over 20 area high schools and their associated middle schools
Wake Forest University
Vanderbilt University
University of Virginia
University of Maryland
Boston College
Northwestern University
University of Florida
Coastal Carolina University
University of Connecticut
Columbia University
Florida Tech
Kennesaw St. University
University of Hartford
Binghamton University
Bryant University
Babson College
Assumption College
Wheaton College
Rollins College
Southern New Hampshire University
UMASS – Lowell
UMASS – Amherst
Middlebury College
Emory University
Elon University
Carson-Newman College
St. Lawrence University
Washington University – St. Louis
Franklin Pierce
Colby College
Bowdoin College
Eckerd College

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few – and this is on top of our adult clients, but that’s neither here nor there.  The point is that every single one of these individuals has a unique background: different injury histories, different training backgrounds, and different responses to the training they are doing with you.  Ask them questions about what they like and what they dislike.  Find out what’s worked, and what hasn’t.  Ask where their biggest shortcomings are; what do they struggle with on a daily basis?

This form of education is the absolute best of the bunch for two reasons.

First, it’s the best kind of information, because it’s already framed in the context of an existing schema in your mind (I covered this concept in an old blog, Strength and Conditioning Programs: How to Make Change Easier).  Comparatively speaking, when you read about a concept in a book, you have to consider how it applies to a client/athlete of yours before you can apply it – and then you have to evaluate it to see what works.  When you do “Q&A” with the individual in question, you get useful information that you can immediately apply.

Second, it’s an opportunity to show clients/athletes that you genuinely care about them and are taking an interest in their unique situations.  This simply doesn’t happen in facilities when they don’t do evaluations on the first day.  And, it certainly doesn’t happen when everyone does the same program off the dry erase board.

So, the next time you’re looking to pick up some new ideas to help your strength and conditioning philosophy evolve, start asking questions of the people who matter the most: your clients and athletes.

For more business, training, and personal strategies, be sure to check out The Fitness Business Blueprint.

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12 Responses to “The Most Overlooked Continuing Education Opportunity for Fitness Professionals”

  1. Mike Reinold Says:

    Well said and couldn’t agree more. Every time I think I know what the heck I am talking about, a patient or athlete of mine goes against the norm and makes me think different!

  2. Ty Bateman Says:

    Great info! “green & growing” Always looking to educate myself. It stands to reason that the subject that we are applying all this education would be the best source of information and feed back. Funny stuff, be sure to keep an open mind to the answers you might receive. Which, sometimes, is the best infomation! Thanks again!

  3. Rick Kaselj Says:

    Constantly sharpening the saw with education is so key.

    All the leaders in their field, do this.

    Rick Kaselj of http://ExercisesForInjuries.com


  4. Aaron Leach Says:

    Awesome stuff as usual Eric. Allowing the athlete to be engaged in the process of their results is crucial. I hope to be one of those one or two day interns someday after I complete my doctorate in physical therapy this August. I may be getting a doctorate, but I am in kindergarten to your knowledge. Thanks for sharing your great content!

  5. kyle Says:

    Happy Holidays Eric! thanks for all your great work this year 😉

  6. Conor Says:

    Great post! I experience this sort of thing all the time as I teach in an elementary school. Kids always have a question that I don’t have an answer for, so I have to do some research. Not a bad thing though as I love learning new things.

  7. Ricky Sirois Says:

    This brings up a great point. Sometimes we get so amped about applying a new concept to a training program that we forget to get feedback from our athletes. This is a crucial piece to the success of a program. If people by into the program and enjoy what they are doing, compliance goes up and success increases. Great post as always.

  8. Tim Peirce Says:

    Thanks Eric, Always staying teachable and ready to learn is something I try to practice all the time.

    I’m still anxious to participate in a seminar at CP in 2012. What have you got coming up?

    Merry Christmas to you and yours and Happy New Year.

  9. Paco Says:

    Totally agree with you. Among those things the common point is to do not stay in the comfort zone. That´s why I will start trainig baseball players next year. Any recommendatios about it? Some coaches train this guys as if they were 100-400 m sprinters; I have been thinking a little about it and I am sure that one big thing has to be preventive work for rotator cuff and scapular stabilization, shoulder press is a big doubt ia m on ther 50% yes/50% not. Any suggestions? Articles, links, books?


  10. Raymond Says:

    Very well said!

  11. Ellen Stein Says:

    “And, it certainly doesn’t happen when everyone does the same program off the dry erase board.”

    As in Crossfit Eric? your thoughts on that insanity?

  12. Glynn Loeb Says:

    I learn more from my clients then anything I’ve read/heard. Thanks for the affirmation…I’ve started “late” in this profession and it’s so good to know that we are on the same pare re this issue. One has to keep up with what’s new in the industry; but you also have to be able to listen and apply that “new knowledge!” Thanks so much!

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