The Most Overlooked Continuing Education Opportunity for Fitness Professionals

About the Author: Eric Cressey

I write a lot at 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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