I'm approached on a regular basis by young S&C coaches wanting information on how to break into the industry. They are all at different points in their career, some looking for courses of study, others have graduated and looking for a job. One piece of advice that holds true for everyone is make sure you invest your time wisely. This goes for people starting out as well as coaches like myself who have been in the industry for some time.
Last year I read a great book called Taming Tigers by Jim Lawless (if you've not read it then grab a copy). One of the ten rules for taming tigers is:
"UNDERSTAND AND CONTROL YOUR TIME TO CREATE CHANGE"
Now as the author, Jim Lawless explains, this is not about time management. He simply gets you to think about time as a scarce resource (it's an infinite resource - we can't create more of it, once it's used up it gone!). For anyone wanting to make it as a strength and conditioning coach I would urge them to think about how they are "investing' their time, not "spending" their time.
If you sit on your arse all day as a student, watching daytime TV, partying all night and scraping through your degree then you will get a definite return on your investment!
If you want to make it in a fiercely competitive industry then you need to make sure that you are investing your time wisely and that everything you are doing takes you one step closer to your goal. Make sure you are:
1. Reading books (not Harry Potter - S&C and Sport Science related material)
2. Watching DVD's (see above!)
3. Listening to audiobooks/podcasts (if, like me you are a slow reader audio books and podcast are great for absorbing information)
4. Working with a range of clients/athletes
5. Networking with other coaches (you are a product of the people you hang out with)
6. Attending workshops, seminars and conferences (see above!)
It's easy to get sucked into time wasting activities but just remember that you are investing your time and whatever you do now will pay out a definite return, so make sure you're going to get the return on investment that you are looking for.