Certifications Aren’t That Important

With the recent move to the Boston area, I am finally settled in and have some time to catch up with my readers (probably only a handful, including my mom). For starters, Boston is now at the top of my list of best cities. Had a chance to catch a Red Sox vs. Royals game, which was very cool (Royals won).

This past week, I began my internship at Cressey Performance. I went in feeling pretty confident in my ability to coach exercise technique, but I soon realized that my knowledge was miniscule compared to the full timers at Cressey. Keep in mind I have a degree in physical education and I am soon to complete a master’s degree in exercise science. I also hold the NSCA-CSCS, which to many is the gold standard of certifications. I can now sit back and say that I didn’t know shiz going into the internship, or at least to the standards held at Cressey Performance. So, what am I alluding to? My NSCA-CSCS really doesn’t mean anything.

Yes, my NSCA-CSCS doesn’t mean anything. It looks great on a resume and some organization require it (MLB to just name one). However, it doesn’t prepare you for a number of things. For starters, it doesn’t prepare you to work  with clients/athletes on an individual level. Every client that walks through the doors at Cressey Performance has a different program to fit their individual needs. A major note here is that I did not even mention assessing those clients (that’s for a later discussion). Secondly, the exercises learned through the CSCS education are very general, and not truly sport specific. The CSCS seems to be geared toward more of a team setting, rather than an individual setting. Not everyone who is in strength and conditioning will be working at a university or with a professional team. Being at a facility like Cressey, we deal with a lot of baseball players. I have learned a butt load about the shoulder and how to train the shoulder in as little as a week as I did in preparing for the CSCS exam.

The point of this topic? For the aspiring strength and conditioning coach, do not think you are the shiz just because you passed an exam. I know a lot of nerds that could pass the CSCS if they were given the material. The bottom line is you have to continue to hone your craft and continue to learn what the best of the best are doing.



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