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Education is a Marathon, Not a Sprint: The Importance of Continuing Education in Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology (pp. 277-292) $45.00
Authors:  Dana K. Voelker
Professionals in applied sport and exercise psychology have pursued years of formal education at the undergraduate, graduate, and in some instances, post-graduate level. Reflecting on these formal educational experiences, we can recall times of relief and excitement when class was dismissed, school was out, or a degree was finally conferred. Although we may have been encouraged and then congratulated upon “completing” our education, a successful professional knows that learning is a lifelong process and that education is a marathon; not a sprint that ends after graduation. Mulvey (2013) aptly states that “…qualifying is not the point of arrival, but the point of departure” (p. 269). Although degrees allow us to begin professional careers, continuing education allows us to build them.

Likened to the general psychology field, effective sport and exercise psychology practice requires the “maintenance of professional competence, the delivery of increasingly effective services, and the protection of the consumer” (Neimeyer, Taylor, & Cox, 2012, p. 484). Formal education provides a foundation for these principles, but the knowledge and skills necessary to be effective over the long term are by no means static in nature. Growing with or even moving ahead of the field rather than falling behind is of critical importance. Such endeavors not only benefit the individual and their employers, but also the profession (Mulvey, 2013).

The purpose of this chapter is to discuss continuing education in applied sport and exercise psychology, including formal, nonformal, informal, and incidental learning opportunities. Strategies for integrating continuing education into professional practice are also discussed and followed by a continuing education action plan guide in Appendix A. The reader should note that the continuing education opportunities and strategies discussed here are intended to serve as examples, rather than represent an exhaustive list of possibilities. 

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Education is a Marathon, Not a Sprint: The Importance of Continuing Education in Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology (pp. 277-292)