Monday, January 31, 2011

Be A Sponge

I am going to piggy back on David’s topic earlier this month.

Dr. Hughston stated “As long as you’re still green, you’re growing. Once you’re ripe, you’re next to rotten.” Although David was speaking about an educational opportunity for those that are in the profession of bettering the overall performance of athletes, you might want to ponder this statement. Think about it for a minute.

As a professional, I live by this statement. As a quasi-athlete (I use the term lightly when I refer to myself as an athlete) I still live by this statement. As a husband, friend, etc. . . . . well, you get the point.

As an athletic trainer, continuing education is extremely important to our day to day activity. If anyone in the medical profession tells you that they have it all figured out – laugh at them, and then listen to what they have to say. I don’t have all the answers, and never intend to have all the answers, but I bet you I can find someone who has a good idea how to help out. I ask my officemate thousands of questions. That being said, I get asked a lot of different questions – a lot of random questions. Every morning that I come to the office, I make sure that I read something that could benefit me as an athletic trainer. I will read journal articles, blog posts, textbooks, etc. You can sort out the B.S. once you finish reading. If something happened at practice or a game the night before and I need to brush up on something – I grab one of my resources on the bookshelf and dive in. I am not ashamed to say that I go back and look to see what the literature says – physicians do the same thing.

As the quasi-athlete, I am the same way. I have been intrigued by triathlons ever since I can remember watching the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. With the help of a buddy that has completed an ironman himself – yes that is the race that starts with a 2.4 mile swim, 120 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile jog (no big deal) - I am trying to absorb as much information that I can. What kind of training plans do they use? How do they fuel their bodies during their everyday training? How do they fuel their body during a 10 plus hour race? How many days do they train multiple times a day? What do I wear? When do I use the bathroom? When can I re-apply my sunscreen? Alright, it is a little bit of a system overload, but I have enjoyed trying to make myself better. I have a lot to learn when it comes to becoming a triathlete.

The best line that I have heard lately about being a good person - If you surround yourself with dogs, you’re going to end up with fleas.
As an athlete this is easy to do. Ask your coach, ask your teammates, ask those old alumni that come around. Read a book – I know it sounds bad – it’s not the worst thing in the world. I had a professional baseball player tell me that one of the best books he read about hitting was “The Inner Game of Tennis.” Although it was the first couple chapters he was speaking of – they got into more tennis based information later. Write things down – I have worked for the same coaching staff for just about five years now. I carry around a small notebook and take notes when I see fit – always a student. Don Meyer, an NCAA coach amongst the top in his profession before he retired, made his athletes a binder. It contained notes from team meetings, motivational quotes, articles, plays, and anything that Coach Meyer felt they needed to have at their disposal.

There are plenty of people to talk to – don’t be afraid to ask questions and be a sponge to soak up as much information (and double check it) so you can to become better at what you want to do.

Chris Ham, MSA, ATC, CES
Athletic Trainer
Vanderbilt University Baseball

No comments:

Post a Comment