Reflective Practice

If you think back to when you did your personal training course you will remember that as part of your assessment you were asked to do an evaluation.  This may have asked questions about how well you feel you have performed and what you could have done better.  This is a form of reflective practice and is designed to try and help you consider your performance and how it could be improved.

As a fitness professional we are in the business of getting people results, and helping them to make sustained improvements in their health and wellbeing.  As a trainer and as an individual it is important that we follow the same approach and seek to make constant improvements in our own skills, knowledge, and practice.  By constantly improving ourselves and pushing our personal limits as fitness professionals, this can not fail to have a positive effect on our clients.

The first step in self-development is to reflect upon where you are currently at, this can be done as a formal or informal exercise. Some of the world’s best coaches being on record as keeping reflective journals detailing how they felt they performed in their role as a coach, and most importantly how they can improve what they are currently doing.  For most who use reflection, it is an informal process where they actively seek to identify their personal weaknesses and areas that need to be developed. This should then lead to seeking as many opportunities to expand upon current skills, practice, and knowledge.

There are various different methods of reflecting on your performance, a more general way is to carry out personal SWOT analysis.  This involves your thinking generally about what are your strengths and weaknesses, this information is then used to help you think about how you can maximise your strengths and then reduce your weaknesses.  Next, you should seek to identify your opportunities to develop and threats in terms of your own development.  Again these should be considered in terms of how you can exploit the opportunities that are presented and how you can eliminate the threats.  The SWOT should be reviewed on a regular basis and modified depending on the changing circumstances you find yourself in.

A more ongoing version of reflection can be very simple to implement, it just takes a little time and commitment to doing it regularly.  At the end of your next working day take 5 minutes to answer the following questions:-

  • What did you do well today?
  • What could you have done better?
  • What additional knowledge would have helped you today?
  • What additional skills would have helped you today?

By taking the time to ask yourself these four simple questions on a regular basis you can start to ensure that are constantly reflecting on your practice and pushing your boundaries to make sure you improve.  Remember just as much as we spend time developing others we should develop ourselves!

Tom has been involved in the fitness industry for nearly 20 years. He is a specialist in rehabilitation, exercise referral and helping other fitness professionals to improve their business. He is also involved with course development, teaching, assessing and IQA of a range of training courses. He is always willing to meet other professionals so please do contact him via social media with any questions or just to say hello.

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