Continuing Ed on the Cheap

“Can you ever know everything? No. Can you always learn more? Yes, of course you can. That’s your job. If you don’t do all you can to dig out the truth every chance you get, you risk making bad decisions.” – Lee Cockerell, Former Executive Vice President, Walt Disney World

Late last week, maybe Wednesday night, I decided last minute to attend Jay DeMayo’s Central Virginia Sports Performance Seminar. I am an avid reader and listen to tons of different podcasts, but I realized I had only attended 2-3 live seminars all year. That had to change. Luckily, CVASP offers a live streaming version of the seminar that you can watch from the comfort of your own home on a Friday and Saturday that the humidity was gross and made it unbearable to go outside – so I signed up.

Great decision. The lineup was great; Carl Valle, Derek Hansen, Bob Alejo of NC State, Mike Curtis of Virginia, Randy Ballard of Illinois, Sam Coad of Oklahoma, Henk Kraaijenhoff, and Buddy Morris of the Arizona Cardinals.

But this got me thinking a little. We are all busy and can’t get to every single seminar that we may want to. We all have bills to pay and can’t come up with the money for flights, hotels and seminar fees for every single seminar that we want to go to. So how do we continue to learn and keep up with what’s happening in an ever-changing field like strength and conditioning? Here are a couple ideas.

Get Out and About
One of the best things strength coaches can do to learn more is to make more site visits to other coaches in the area. Every single one of us can get stuck in our ways, but getting out and watching someone else do the job might open your eyes to some possibilities that you didn’t even think of. Maybe it’s a new exercise, an exercise you forgot about, or some coaching cues that you pick up from another coach.

The best thing about it, it’s free and you develop a relationship with another professional in the field. It will literally cost you nothing besides gas money to go somewhere else and watch someone coach and you may discover a friend or mentor to bounce ideas off of for the foreseeable future. Get out and about regularly.

Assemble Small Groups
I know Nate Brookerson has done this in the greater North Carolina area. It’s pretty simple; find a bunch on likeminded people and get together every once in a while, maybe monthly or bi-monthly, and spend a morning or afternoon exchanging ideas. Maybe you make it a little more professional and invite a couple of these people to give a presentation like any other seminar or conference. It’s a great way to learn from other people, network with other people, and not have to spend much money at all to continue learning and adapting in the field.

Have a Home Seminar Day
I forget who I heard this from otherwise I would give them credit for this. With all the podcasts and presentations that are online these days, what is stopping you from setting aside a Saturday or Sunday a handful of times a year and watching/listen to 5-6 presentations and/or podcasts that would interest you. Again, 100% free. And the biggest upside to this method is you can hand pick the people you want to listen to or the topics you want to learn about.

All that being said, set some money aside to attend at least one or two of the big conferences and/or seminars every year. A great place to start would be the CSCCa National Conference or the NSCA National Conference. As I previously alluded to, Jay DeMayo does a great job with the CVASP Seminar. The Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group (BSMPG) summer seminar that Art Horne put on yearly at Northeastern was always top notch. And you can never forget the Perform Better Summit’s put on by Perform Better that has now grown to four different locations over the course of the summer; Orlando, Chicago, Providence, and Long Beach.

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