We all know that we need to engage in continued professional development as qualified/ registered practitioners, but what is sometimes slightly less well articulated is exactly what this CPD should be. Should we be looking to develop our skills, or knowledge or both?
Conferences, for example, can be a great way to network and keep up-to-date with research and applied practice in the sector. However, it is always important to remember that a conference is only as good as it’s programme. Also, conferences can be limited by the degree to which presenters live up to the promise of their presentation titles. Over the years there have been a number of sessions at conferences that I have attended that have promised much for an applied practitioner but ended up just being a discussion of methodology and sample size. With conferences cost is always a consideration but I do think, where possible, attending one of the sport & exercise psychology specific events such as the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) annual conference, the European Federation of Sport Psychology (FEPSAC) four-year conference, or the International Society of Sport Psychology four-year conference is a must.
Some sports governing bodies will run their own sport-specific events that might take the form of a workshop or symposium where interested parties from the same sport can get together and share information, ideas and experiences.
Finally you can look outside of the discipline for CPD. Depending on your specific focus of interest or current roles this might focus on training for commercially available psychometrics (such as MBTi, or Insights), or further counselling courses (e.g. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy – CBT, or Mindfulness).
Indeed, if you had the budget you could easily fill most of your time undertaking different courses and CPD activities. So, the trick is that you need to be selective, and make sure you invest your time and money wisely.