Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Importance of Continuing Education

If you haven't noticed I've been struggling with this blog for awhile now. I have ideas pop into my head all the time about what I want to write about but finding the time to actually sit down and put them into a post has not been a priority. However, no more excuses!

Today I just submitted my Continuing Education Units to the Board of Certification for Athletic Training, yes I'm an athletic trainer for those of you who don't know. My formal education is in the prevention, evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of athletes, but in 2012 I fell into a career change that focuses mainly on strength and conditioning, and of course teaching. 

The BOC requires that for candidates to maintain certification they need to complete 50 units over a 2 year period, 10 of those being Evidence-Based Practice. Oh yeah, and trust me I don't want to take that test again, it was only a 20% pass rate when I took it back in 2009 and thankfully I passed that thing first try, so I'll do whatever it takes to get those 50 CEUs. Seems like a lot right? Well I had nearly 100 credits from the last 2 years, and I only submitted athletic training related activities. 

So here is where I want to start with the importance of continuing education. To me, continuing to better yourself, both mentally and physically, is one of the key players in finding success. I don't think I'm a genius or a know it all by any means. Actually a quote by Albert Einstein fits perfect here and sums up how I really feel about where I am:

"The more I learn, the more I realize how much I do not know." 
- Albert Einstein

But check this out, I was able to do nearly 100 hours of education in a field in which I no longer practice. Secretly in my mind, I'm impressed with myself, but who's counting. But back to it, it's a field where I don't practice right now, did that sink in? And do I think it was all worthless? Absolutely not, in all honesty, I believe I would be a better athletic trainer now that I ever was when I practiced with the amount of continuing education, coaching, and heck even just being a high level athlete myself. I also think that my background in athletic training lends well to my passion for strength and conditioning. Since I have studied so much anatomy, bio-mechanics, injury prevention and rehabilitation I'm able to give clients a bigger picture when it comes to exercise. It also helps A LOT with teaching because I went through so much disciplined education myself. 

I contribute a great deal of my professional success to continuing education. If I would have stopped learning when I finished college, lets be honest, I'd kinda suck at what I'm doing. That isn't to say that college is worthless, I still believe it's one of the best experiences you can put yourself through in life. It gives you a deeper understanding of your field and teaches discipline in a way that is nearly impossible to achieve on your own. But when you do the math: 

college + continuous education = #winning 

The past few years I've been very fortunate to save enough $$ to travel and experience a wide variety of education across the U.S. One of the best perks has been that I've met a lot of really awesome people in the field that otherwise I would have never known. Outside of all the AT stuff I've traveled to, I've been able to dig deeper into my CrossFit education by obtaining my Level 2 (Level 3 will appear in the near future :P), and even deeper in my Weightlifting proficiency with an updated USAW and Eleiko Certified Strength Coach. I've learned a great deal about technique, programming, and especially good old fashioned coaching from these experiences. And dare we not forget the hours and hours and hours I've spent reading books and articles and watching videos. You know, even my social media these days is more like reading a newspaper than just keeping up with friends. By the way: Follow Me on Instagram

I'd really like to hear from you. What do you do to keep educating yourself? Do you attend conferences/workshops, work through online material, read, watch videos, scroll Facebook? Nothing is insignificant if it makes YOU better!

Until next time...

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