Shaun recently commented that I haven’t posted much lately, well that’s because there hasn’t been much to post about.  It took me forever and a day to recover from bronchitis and then I had several days of trial (as an aside this was for a pro bono case and actually made me feel good to be an attorney).  Despite the generally monotony this past Thursday I flew down to Charlotte, North Carolina for the USA Triathlon Level One Clinic.  I thought this could be an interesting learning experience and significantly less expensive that a masters in kinesiology

There were both goods and bads to the weekend — the toughest part was trying to cram a lot of information into two days.  In total there was twenty hours of instructions comprised of lectures on: exercise physiology, triathlon nutritional strategies, strength training, swimming skills, cycling skills, running skills, periodization and planning, sports psychology and triathlon specific training and key workouts.  The information was geared to be “general” as the there were no assumptions made about the knowledge level of the attendees.  For me, I could spend twenty hours talking about triathlon nutrition strategies (let alone day-to-day nutrition strategies). 

I think my biggest issue was trying to cram that much information into 2 days leads to lots of lecturing, not a lot of time for questions and literally no time for discussions (plus sitting still and paying attention for 10 hours a day is not easy, even for someone like me who spends most of my day at a desk).  I understand that people (both presenters and attendees) have limited time, but to me, a more focused approach would be better.  You can still hand out a manual and test across a wide range of subjects (similar to the USA Cycling Level 3 certification) but you could focus the in person to allow for questions, discussion and the sharing of ideas among forty people in the room, all of whom have the same passion. 

Along the same lines there’s a lot of telling and not showing.  The value of video taping swim and run form was repeated over and over again and while the presenters had videos up on screen there were no suggestions on how to actually do a complete video analysis.  While I know the purpose of the clinic is not to teach video analysis, rather than listing the components of a swim stroke or principles of good run form why not integrate it into a complete analysis, thus killing two birds with one stone. 

My final issue (at the moment as I always have new issues) is the test.  Throughout the clinic the presenters stressed that they weren’t going to talk about  youth and juniors because USAT now has a youth and junior coaching certification.  That’s fantastic, except for the fact that when I downloaded my test there were at least 5 questions specifically about training youth and junior triathletes.  My guess is that USAT hasn’t updated the test (yet) but still its on the annoying side. 

While I like to complain, overall the two day session was interesting and gave me some things to think about.  It also makes me realize that being an attorney is not a long term goal for me and that I really want to be able to do something I enjoy on a day-to-day basis. 

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Kelly Burns Gallagher

mccarter english employment litigator / oiselle team runner / coeur sports triathlete / sonic endurance coach & race director / witsup.com writer / dartmouth '02 / emorylaw '05

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