Learn something new today.

Yesterday I passed the exam for the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s (NSCA) Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). It was a pretty hard test that I have been studying for off-and-on throughout the past six months and I was thrilled to pass both parts the first time!

The CSCS is for people who wish to design strength and conditioning programs for folks participating in sports. Most strength and conditioning coaches at major universities are quite familiar with the NSCA, the research they produce, and are certified through them.

A solid strength and conditioning (S&C) program is vital for the success of any sport and this should NOT be the coach’s responsibility. Some coaches have experience with building such programs, but most do not. Most injuries among youth athletes occur because of a bad S&C program or because of the de-conditioning between sports seasons.

I do not currently work with any sports populations, but would like to in the future and the principles still hold true for the average person, depending on their goals.

Building a solid strength base can benefit everyone and is very important for recreational athletes, like runners. With proper conditioning, recreational runners can “train to win” instead of “train to finish”.

Although the NSCA is an industry leader in quality of their certifications, many see them as useless pieces of paper. I agree and disagree at the same time.

Any certification is useless unless you have the knowledge to back it up. And nothing can replace experience. I most assuredly would not have passed this exam without the experience of working with a diverse group of real people over the past couple of years.

While my clients could care less about my certifications, I guess it proves to me that I am still studying and growing…

I learned much more than I expected going into this exam. I realized that I think I know everything about a subject until I actually study it for awhile. Then, “the more I learn, the less I know.”

So, learn something new today.

Perhaps periodize it like any good strength and conditioning professional will do with their programs… focus on one subject you are interested in for a month or two until you are satisfied, then pick something else.

What do you think? Do certifications matter to you? Let me know in the comments below!

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