Monday, November 5, 2012

NEWS FLASH: Athletic Trainers are on Twitter!

In the field of Athletic Training, we have grown leaps and bounds in the use of today’s technology. It allows us to perform more advanced rehabilitation and treatment methods for athletes or patients who are not responding to traditional methods.  Athletic Trainers rely on other professionals to share advice concerning issues in various rehab programs, about trends in new equipment, or even to get feedback on their research efforts.
Technology today has made communicating with others so much easier. The National Athletic Trainer’s Association (N.A.T.A.) has made efforts to provide more communication options for Athletic Trainers. There is a national conference held every year for Athletic Trainers across the country to come together and learn about new rehab or treatment options, meet vendors and learn about their products, and to interact with other Athletic Trainers. This conference is where many Athletic Trainers can present their research projects and discoveries. N.A.T.A. also has a website where Athletic Trainers can login as members in the organization. This member only site allows employers to post job openings and for prospective employees to view the various job opportunities in the world of Athletic Training.
Other social media sites that have become very popular with Athletic Training organizations, programs and individuals are Facebook and Twitter. In particular, Twitter has become a place where organizations can post upcoming events, recognize professionals in the field, and showcase research efforts.  Lately, concussions have been highlighted; the passage of new laws and establishment of new protocols has increased the awareness about concussions with professionals, athletes, and even parents.
As an Athletic Trainer, I have found the social media networks (Twitter, Career Athletes, LinkedIn, etc.) extremely beneficial for my present and future job choice. This allows me to network with more people in the field and to make my name in the field of Athletic Training. As the world is changing and moving faster, our profession is learning to change with it. Social networking sites help to bring awareness to the rest of the community related to the efforts that Athletic Trainers are making in not only athletics, but also the world!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Dr. Joe Gillespie Receives the Regents Professor Award from the Texas A&M University System

     Dr. Joe W. Gillespie has been named a Regents Professor for exemplary service to The Texas A&M University System. Since 1997, only seven professors from Tarleton State University have received this prestigious award.   
     Dr. Gillespie came to Tarleton State University in 1973 as head track coach and assistant football coach. Since his arrival on campus he has served as chair of the Department of Health and Physical Education, Athletic Director and Dean of Education.  A strong leader, Dr. Gillespie possesses a can-do spirit, solid work ethic, and no-nonsense attitude that motivates those around him to  aspire to be their very best.     
     Dr. Gillespie, you are indeed worthy of this honor!  Congratulations!  We all love you!!!

Share Your Thoughts, Please!

Please feel free to share your thoughts about the various posts on this blog.  We truly value your opinions and want our readers to be active participants in discussions related to the Kinesiology discipline.   You may post a REPLY anonymously or you may become a FOLLOWER of this blog and post a REPLY with your name.   Whichever method you choose, please get involved.  

I envision a future where there will be 300 million reporters, where anyone from anywhere can report for any reason.  It's freedom of participation absolutely realized.    --- Matt Drudge

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Social Media: Strength & Conditioning

     Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and several more social media sites are an absolute staple in staying current with what is evolving in Strength and Conditioning (S&C).  Blogs about a new S&C profession, information about  upcoming S&C events such as seminars or conferences, or  posts about what training methods another university is implementing  are all ways other coaches can develop new and better ways to train athletes.  Social media in S&C profession allows for Strength and Conditioning coaches to keep in touch; when it comes to finding a job, it is all about who you know and networking.  Staying connected with other strength coaches is crucial to this process of your professional development.
     Female Strength Coaches and Social Media.   As a female in this profession, it is understood that we are a minority in a male-dominated field.  It is important that we stay connected and support each other, because most of us at some point have experienced stress dealing with male colleagues. One way to find support and assurance is through an organization called the Young Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (YSCCA).  This organization has a social media site that provides opportunities for blogging, sharing experiences, and learning wisdom from the veteran female strength coaches who have made it big. This has been one of the more empowering social media tools that has helped me stay confident in myself and in my training.  It is nice to know I am not alone and people are willing to help me become a better professional.
     Social Media and Untrained Athletes.  YouTube has been one of the most used social media tools for training and coaching development.  College S&C coaches utilize YouTube to demonstrate exercise techniques for incoming freshman as well as upper classman.  The majority of freshman are untrained and may not have heard of some of the exercises prescribed to them, so the video instructions give them a place to go and so they can learn the movement properly and come to the season prepared physically and mentally.   The same principle holds true for returning athletes who may return home during the summer months; the YouTube video instruction provides a source of guidance for those athletes who are unsupervised while training. 
     Final Thoughts.  If you want to pursue the S&C profession, then it is highly suggested that you get involved and stay connected in as many ways as possible.  Get your name out there.  The more a potential employer sees your name and the more you interact, the better chances you have at getting a job down the road.  Social media is a free and an easily accessible way to help you grow as a coach. One day you might be the coach that everyone wants to learn from; put your name out there and promote yourself so that you are not easily forgotten!

The Impact of Social Networking on Employment

When applying for a job, employers often check potential applicants’ profiles on social network sites like Facebook and Twitter to see if a person is worthy of employment. Job seekers with social network profiles should double check their social media sites to make sure they do not have any negative information that would hurt their chances  of landing a job.  According to Greysen, Kind, & Chretien (2010) “The Internet has changed many interactions between professionals and the public. The recent development of Web 2.0 applications (also known as “social media”) has created particular hazards for public views of certain professions. School teachers and lawyers across the country have been sanctioned or fired for online indiscretions felt to violate societal expectations for how they represent their personal lives in the public sphere” (p. 1227).
Social media can have a tremendous impact on a professional career. As I apply for coaching and teaching jobs, I know there is a good chance that the school districts who are interested in me will probably take a glance at my Facebook and Twitter. It is my duty to make sure that my Facebook and Twitter pages are professional. If my future employers decide to review my social network profiles, I want my pages to be the determining factor for me actually getting the job. I do not blame employers for viewing future or current employees’ social network profiles, because the people that they hire to work for them will ultimately represent the company’s image. My social networking sites are clean, professional, and present me in a positive light. I encourage all coaches to check their social networking sites before applying for a job.
Greysen, S., Kind, T., & Chretien, K. (2010). Online professionalism and the mirror of social media. Journal Of General Internal Medicine, 25(11), 1227-1229.

College Athletes and Twitter

     Twitter has taken the world by storm and has had a tremendous impact in the sports world. A question that is frequently being asked and discussed among head coaches around the NCAA is "Should college athletes be allowed to use twitter during in-season competition?".   The answer to this question can be addressed by simply pointing to the techniques used by professional scouts who often monitor tweets of potential recruits to get a better understanding of their character and maturity. As it relates to the future career of these athletes, 'trash tweets' may result in contracts not being offered or offers made that with significantly lower salaries.
     Controversy can erupt when athletes post something vulgar or offensive to their Twitter of Facebook accounts. This controversy can have immediate or future consequences. For example, the athlete is linked with the university therefore the university is automatically affiliated with that comment. That alone may hurt the affiliated school’s reputation and possibly cause the loss of future recruits.
     If you want to make a statement and you want it to be noticed Twitter is definitely the place. Athletes tweet their thoughts at any particular time on any subject.  However, Twitter can be the place to make a deplorable mistake; your feelings about a certain topic may change after you've had time to 'cool off', but once you post a tweet you cannot take it back. The backlash you might receive will make you regret the tweet.  The concerns are that these tweets come directly from the athlete; it’s their own words, their own thoughts. Their words cannot get twisted or misconstrued because it’s exactly what they wrote.
     On a personal note, I do not think it’s right to ban athletes from using social media while in-season because this is the way most young people communicate. Corporations and government officials tweet their opinions but they do so in appropriate professional manner. Athletes should be able to voice their opinions as well but they must understand the possible consequences that come with hasty tweets. Twitter might not be the ideal place to discuss your thoughts about all topics or air your dirty laundry but it can get you rapid attention.  Final Thought:  If you do not want your mother to see it or hear it, then I don't recommend tweeting it!

Personal Training Certification

     If you are wondering if it is necessary to become certified in personal training then look no further. If two people were in the running for a personal training job and one was certified and one wasn’t, who would you hire? Did you know that physicians are checking the experience and qualifications of personal trainers before making patient referrals? Communication skills, leadership traits, and a good personality are important but on paper (the resume) it’s all about certifications.
     Choosing the organization that provides the best certification can be frustrating because there are many things to consider. You need to determine how the certification will be used, whether it’s for working with a special population, in a particular environment, or to demonstrate marketability. You also need to determine what is expected from the certifying organization, such as networking, continuing education, and requirement regarding liability insurance. Ask your potential employers what certifications they prefer or require. Survey other professionals in positions related to yours and ask what certifications they have obtained. Finally, contact the actual professional organization and ask about their certifications and what they can do for you. The benefits of having a certification include:  verifies your level of knowledge, skills, and abilities; recognizes your commitment to being a professional; aids employers in hiring the best person; assures participants that they will receive safe and effective guidance; facilitates marketing; and requires a continuing education system which requires a commitment to maintaining knowledge and skills.
     Each fitness director will have different certification preferences. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is universally recognized as a leader in the fitness industry; however, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) is also among the top providers of certifications. The ACE Personal Trainer Certification is now being recommended for college credit by the College Credit Recommendation Service and it is currently the first and only organization to have this academic recognition for fitness certification exams. ACE has lobbied against any licensure of fitness professionals because the majority of their certifications are held by people who do not have college degrees. There are four minimum requirements to sit for the ACE certification exam:
1. You have to be at least 18 years of age.
2. Have current adult CPR.
3. Have 300 hours of work experience designing and implementing exercise programs for apparently healthy individuals and/or high risk individuals, to be documented by a qualified professional (e.g., allied health professional, fitness director, club manager, professor, etc.)
4. (a) You must have a Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education (courses in: exercise physiology, programming, and leadership), Exercise Science, Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology, Adapted Physical Education, Athletic Training, or Physical Therapy. OR (b) have current certification as an ACE-certified Personal Trainer, ACSM Exercise Test Technologist, ACSM Exercise Specialist, ACSM Health/Fitness Director, ACSM Program Director, or NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist.
     Becoming certified can be very beneficial to your clients, employers, and to yourself.  If personal training is the job for you, then becoming certified is your next step.

Social Media in Sport

      Social media has a major influence on the world today and has provided a way for people in it to connect like never before. Perhaps the biggest influence of social media today is in the world of sport. From Facebook to Twitter, social media allows fans and critics to connect with their favorite teams, athletes, and coaches. Mainstream sports are driven by social media and the rapid attention it can bring to a team, player, or specific issue within the sports culture.  
     Communicating with high profile athletes used to be something that was very rare but is now an everyday experience thanks to social media. Sports fans have always dreamed of being close with their idols and social media provides opportunities for them to connect with their favorite players. Fans can gain more information and insight about their favorite players and teams by following them on Twitter or Facebook. These social networking sites also provide fans opportunities to meet their favorite athletes as well as win prizes such as tickets and memorabilia through various competitions on Twitter and Facebook.
     Social media has had many positive effects on the sports world, but it has also provided some negative experiences for some athletes and organizations. Because social media is such a big part of the sports world today, it is constantly seen by anyone who uses Twitter or Facebook.  High profile athletes are already watched through a magnifying glass and exploited when they say or do anything wrong; social media has enhanced that scrutiny. For example - when athletes give their two cents on issues regarding NFL president Roger Goodell, they are at risk of getting fined and having their words exposed on every sports show out there. Athletes have to be careful about what they say on social media outlets because they are constantly viewed and criticized by the media and sports analyst. Although social media is a great way for athletes to show their passion and appreciation for the fans, it is also just another way they are constantly being watched and ridiculed for things they might say or do.

The Sports Connection

     Social media has completely changed the way in which the world communicates on a daily basis. Individuals can instantly “post” something on the web through social networks and spread their thoughts to the world about any and everything imaginable. Many people have used social networks such as mySpace, Facebook, and YouTube, as well as blogs and other social mediums to become wealthy and famous individuals. So what has this world sharing and connecting with each other via the web done to the sports world and careers of some individuals?
     Sports fans dream about being close to their favorite athletes and communicating with them on a daily basis; social media sites have allowed this dream to come true. With networks such as Facebook and Twitter, the average person can befriend and follow their favorite athletes on these social networks and feel even closer than just watching them during their games or on the news. In return, the athletes can interact freely and from a safe distance with their fans on a regular, laid-back basis. Athletes can show their gratitude towards fans on a more personal level and really connect with the people who support them in their careers. Fans can follow these stars in their daily activities and express their feelings, bad or good, to the athlete in ways that otherwise would not be possible without social networks.
     However with the power of social networks comes responsibility. As in all jobs and professions, individuals must be held accountable for their actions and in today’s world they must be held responsible for their words. With social media networks, the ability to vent and let your frustrations be known is just a quick touch or click away from being distributed for the entire world to see. Athletes must be cautious of what they post to their personal accounts and to whom they direct their comments or rants. Many instances have occurred where a few words sent during vulnerable times have cost these individuals thousands of dollars and sometimes playing time. The New York Knicks star Amar’e Stoudemire was fined $50k by the NBA in June of this year for using a homophobic slur in a post.
     The world of social media is ever evolving but it is here to stay. It is an amazing resource for information and connections in our internet driven world. The possibilities are endless in what one can accomplish through these networks. But with all things, it must be used in a responsible manner. 

Coaching: Using Social Media to Get Ahead

     Social media has become a large part of today’s society; 850 million people have a Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account.  In the world of coaching, there are positives and negatives to players being able to express themselves as openly as they want, whenever they want through social media.  There are two main social media websites, Hudl and Facebook, which have had a major impact on coaching.
     Hudl is a web-based video editing program that is used by almost every high school, and some colleges, in the nation.  It allows coaches to upload game, practice or opponent video to their personal website and share it with players and other coaches.  Coaches can watch film, breakdown an opponent, and communicate with their players through this website.  Hudl allows coaches to spend less time in the office and more time at home with their families by allowing them to have access to everything that they need to make a game plan and study their opponent.  Praise or corrections can now be shared instantly from coach to player by using the voice recording and drawing feature.  Instead of driving all night to meet another coach half way between schools, Hudl allows coaches to exchange video instantly.
     Hudl has also affected recruiting by allowing players to instantly create their own highlight films that can be “Googled” by a college coach.  This feature has made recruiting easier, because now a college coach does not have to wait on the high school coach to make the highlight film, put it on tape or DVD, and send it to the college via FedEx.  High school coaches can share the film featuring multiple players with college coaches as well as through the traditional email route.  Hudl has revolutionized the sport of football; video editing and sharing are as simple as a ‘click of the mouse’ enabling high school and college coaches to effectively and efficiently coach and recruit players.
     Facebook has changed the way people communicate and stay in touch.  Friends who haven’t seen each other in years are able to keep up with one another through messaging and posting on one’s “wall”.  Facebook has had both a negative and positive impact on sports.  A coach should be aware of how instantaneously a Facebook post can ignite controversy or shed a negative light on a program.  Coaches need to constantly monitor their players’ Facebook pages to ensure that these players are not sharing information or pictures that could potentially hurt the athlete or the program.  Conversely, with the new NCAA rules college coaches can use Facebook to their advantage.  Contacting potential recruits and being able to find information about them, such as a phone number or their behavior outside of sports, is vital to building a quality program.  Facebook is also allowing coaches and players to connect without the trouble of going through third parties.
     Social media is changing the way our world communicates and shares information.  It has aided in many aspects of coaching, such as video and information sharing. However, coaches should be aware of the positive and negative aspects of online information, know what to expect, and how to protect their players and program.

Let's Hudl Up!

In today’s society, communication has moved from a personal, face-to-face interaction to electronic forms of communication by way of mobile phones, computers and other wireless devices. This has transformed our society into an instant “I need it right now” society. Social media comes with its positives and negative. The social media site that will have a positive impact on my career and profession is Hudl.
Hudl, a lifeline for coaches at all levels, was started by a group of guys who were astonished that in today’s age of information and technology there was so much time and effort spent dubbing DVDs, recording/editing film and creating massive  playbooks for their players. So they created a network that would make things easier for everyone. How will Hudl impact me? Coaches can login to Hudl from anywhere. The site allows coaches to breakdown film and stats, give analysis on the actual film which they can share directly with their athletes, create tendency reports, or simply package a highlight film. That’s a major advantage for coaches and athletes in game planning from week to week.
Prior to Hudl, coach and athletes would have to meet before school, maybe during lunch, before practice and after practice just to watch film. Now those times can be reduced since players have access to film study from home or anywhere as long as there is internet access. Coaches no longer have to mail or meet their next opponent at the half-way point just to exchange game film; with one click of a button coaches can upload the game film directly to their opponent through Hudl. Instead of creating several DVD’s to send to hundreds of colleges during the recruiting process, now time and effort is saved by one site.  These are only a few examples and benefits of Hudl.  In the world of coaching, time management is everything; Hudl allows the coaches to productively use their time. The simplicity and effectiveness of the Hudl social network has just begun to scratch the surface of the sports world as coaches realize the potential for improving their profession.

Twitter: New Era of Score Reporting

     The social media outlet Twitter was created in 2006 and has since evolved to change the way people communicate with each other, express their opinions, and provide up to the minute information on just about every topic imagined. One change that the growth of Twitter has caused is how quickly and easily scores can be discovered and shared by via Twitter. The Internet as a whole greatly changed the way that scores and statistics are shared and greatly improved the speed in which results could be shared and discovered. The emergence of Twitter has taken score reporting to a whole new level, much easier and faster than using the basic Internet tools and resources. Scores of all sports and leagues are shared and discussed on Twitter every day. Great games played on live TV will often be trending topics on Twitter as the games are played or as the games end. The Super Bowl, World Series, and NBA Finals are often trending and being discussed for days after the end of the contests.
     Twitter is also useful for keeping up with non-professional sports teams. High school football reporting has seen a great change since Twitter came into existence. Prior to the Internet, scores were reported the day after a game in a local newspaper. Scores reported to a newspaper would likely be scores from that area and be reported at least one day late. The Internet improved the speed in which scores were reported and also allowed people from all over the world to search for the scores that they are interested in. Newspaper websites and websites devoted specifically to covering high school sports are the leading ways to discover scores online. Scores are generally posted online at the conclusion of the game and are normally all available the morning after a game is played.
     Twitter has taken high school football score reporting to a higher level. Scores are now updated and posted during a game. People interested in just about any game can search and look up how their team is doing and keep up with the score of the game as it is being played. Newspapers and radio stations will often Tweet scores and updates of games in their area. Fans also Tweet score updates during and following football games each week. Scores can be discovered as they happen by simply searching for the desired teams and using the correct key words in order to find a score. 
     Twitter connects the world. High school football scores are shared and reported each weekend and are available to the entire network of Twitter users. Over 50 million users have jumped on board and have access to the great wealth of knowledge that Twitter presents on any variety of topics. Twitter can be used as a fun way to communicate with friends and it can also be a way to keep up with your favorite sports team!

The Impact of Social Media on Careers

In the advanced world of technology that we live in, most people are using at least one form of social media.  Facebook is possibly the most popular and the one that is commonly known among social media users and non-users alike.  Many people are using social media to share their life with others, but lately social media has been commonly used for job searches and career advertisement.  The impact of a social media site on your career can either be positive or negative … you are the one in charge of determining that.  Students can look for a job using social media to gather information about organizations and job offers.  On the flip side, recruiters of organizations can look for information about future candidates who may apply for jobs with their company. 
The most common purpose of social media to use it to share one’s personal life and post pictures or status updates all of which usually express the person’s personality and emotions.  However, this can be dangerous when applying for a job.  With the current economic state of our country, positions for jobs are extremely competitive and recruiters want to gather as much information about candidates as they can.  Social media is the easiest way to do this.  Reasons that you may be turned down from job as it relates to social media include: inappropriate photos or information; photos of drinking or drug use; status updates speaking poorly about previous employers, co-workers, or clients; poor communication skills; discriminatory comments; crude language; or lying about qualifications.   The simplest way to avoid any of these misfortunes is to be very careful about what you post on your social media site.  Once something is posted on the Internet it is on there forever.  Even if you think you delete it.  It is no question that the right connections can land you a great job, so don’t be afraid to use social media.  Just be sure to use it wisely, carefully, and purposefully!