3 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Professional Development Events

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Today is Valentine’s Day.  It’s all about love and warm feelings, right?  So what better time to talk about the volleyball coach’s convention, which combined two of my loves: coaching and volleyball.  Since I’m an unabashed coaching nerd, I love going to clinics, and conventions, and seminars because I know that they’ll make me better at what I do.  But you can’t go in without a plan, you’ve got to get your mind right so that you can get your money’s worth out of your professional development event.  Here are the…

3 ways to rock your professional development event

  • Meet people.  Typically the folks at your coach’s convention, conference, or seminar are pretty fired up about your sport or else they wouldn’t be there.  I wouldn’t say that I’m big on “networking”, but I do have fun talking volleyball with other volleyball coaches…and professional development events are great opportunities for that.  The easiest way to meet new people is to chat up whoever is sitting next to you in your class.  They’re probably wearing a name tag or whatever…that makes it even easier.  And Lord knows coaches love to talk!  So don’t just hang with your crew…meet some new folks, get their emails, and get in contact with them right away when you get home.
  • Go to class. Being social is fun and a great way to meet people like I was talking about above.  But don’t forget why you’re there…to learn!  So if you’re so tired from “being social” that you can’t wake up until noon and you’ve missed half of the classes…maybe you’re meeting too many people!  I’m not necessarily one of those folks who wait to chat with the presenter after class, but I will shoot them an email when I get back home and let them know that I enjoyed their talk.  Not only does that help me to make a connection, but I’m sure they appreciate getting the feedback.
  • Be open to learning. I’m pretty sure that every time I go to a professional development event and run into someone I know, at least one of them will tell me that they haven’t learned anything.  Really?  I find that hard to believe.  You may learn how the top ten teams are training…of course, your team may not be able to perform at their level, but you learned it.  You may learn a different way of saying the exact same thing that you’ve been saying for years, that’s success!  In my mind, if I sit at an hour presentation and learn just one thing, it’s been successful.  If I listen to someone and it triggers a “next level” thought that I can apply to my team, then it’s well worth my time.  Learning requires an open attitude…just like we expect from our athletes.  We don’t know it all and we sound silly when we act like we do.  We can always learn.


There you go…three steps to a successful professional development event.  Have fun and keep learning!

This week is devoted to my thoughts from the AVCA Convention, which was held in December. Why this week?  Because it’s Valentine’s Week and that’s all about love.  And I love coaching and I love volleyball, so this was the perfect time for it!  Topics for the week: getting the most from convention/professional development, the FCA breakfast (an early morning!), and girl drama.  Stay tuned!