Tuesday, September 13, 2011

School is sorta lame, I think?

I'm pretty sure that I'm right. School is sort of lame.

No, I'm not suggesting we need less schooling for the kids in our country; I'm referencing the program that I am currently in. 

As a student who is in a concentration called "Fitness Instruction and Management", we really don't spend a lot of time on the "Instruction" aspect of fitness (frankly, we don't spend a lot of time on the management end either). I understand that all of the physiology classes and stuff are necessary, but I would think we should spend a little bit of time in a practical based setting learning things that will be applicable in the real world. Lets face it; very few of us will end up doing YMCA Step Tests with a client or an athlete at any point. Even less specific than that, very few strength coaches out there (short of the Olympic level) will be conducting VO2 Max tests with their athletes; it's just not necessary in order to improve on field performance. Also, the Trans-theoretical Model is good to know; but very rarely can be really "applied". 

VO2 Max is not a limiting factor here...
I am one of the lucky ones; I've been a trainer for almost 2 years now and have gotten some really valuable hands on experience with my clients. I know the best way to teach a squat is the goblet squat, and I know the most effective way to get a female client up to full pushups isn't incline pushups. How many of my fellow students are aware of these facts? A very small minority, from what I've seen. The most practical class we've had this far is called Conditioning for Performance, and it was taught by one of my favorite professors. Each week we met once in the classroom and once in the weight room. During the practical portion of each week the professor got some great speakers to come in: Mike Boyle (Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning), Eric Cressey (Cressey Performance), John Sullivan (former owner of Excel Sport and Fitness) and an Olympic lifter named Ben Fuller (one of the biggest men I've ever met). Carl Valle (from www.elitetrack.com) was a speaker, but he only spoke to us in the classroom because he deemed that we didn't know enough to be met with in the training facility. Lame. These were amazing speakers to have available to us, but there is really not much for us to learn from them. An hour with EC or Mike Boyle doesn't even let you get a whiff of the knowledge they posses. Boyle talked about, mainly, plyometric exercises and EC talked about (of course) assessment stuff. I remember specifically spending about 20 minutes on external rotation of the humerus.

The internship program in my concentration is, I suppose, intended to take care of all this "practical learning". The flaw in this system is that the internship is the last thing you do at the University. The other issue is, what reputable strength and conditioning facility or gym would to take an intern that had no marketable skills? What good is a training intern that can't train anyone? I guess you could be pretty hand re-racking all the weights. To be a proper asset as an intern or employee, and to learn as much as you can, one should show up on day 1 with as many applicable skills possible. 

Classroom learning is useful. It's nice to know where your masseter muscle is or what the oxygen dissociation curve is. But I challenge the importance of knowing that versus knowing why your desk-jockey client has shoulder pain when back squatting, and dumps the bar in the hole when front squatting. 

Learning is always good, I just think my fellow students need to learn more about picking up heavy shit.

Now go do it!!

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