Ahhh the power of media!! I suspect that it’s made most professionals’ work a lot more challenging. As a 60’s child I grew up in a time when a professional had pretty much sole and protected access to the information relevant to their profession. If I wanted to know what was causing my knee pain, I needed to see the doctor because she had that knowledge or access to the knowledge – otherwise I would have to spend a lot of time in medical libraries (when I figured out where to find those) doing some hard core research on knee conditions. Today that information is but a couple of clicks away. Also a couple of clicks away is more information on the same topic that may or may not be accurate – may or may not be trustworthy. My Google search will also turn up personal statements from people who have had similar knee pain and have had successes and failures with a whole host of interventions and treatments. Tape, Pilates, massage, fish oil, yoga, spinal manipulations – I’m expecting just about anything these days. Of course my attention is also going to be captured by the celebrity athlete NFL lineman who came back from a similar knee problem in 3 weeks using just hypnosis – I’m being facetious but you get my drift.
The point is that nowadays I’m overwhelmed by information – some great, some good, some unhelpful, some dubious, and some downright wrong and unethical. The question is what am I going to put my trust in? And that’s really the whole point of the 10th man concept – cos 10th man thinking lets us park the science and the personal experiences and really try to critically think our way through the fog. The way I put it to my students is that they are now in constant competition for the minds of their clients. Everyone has likely had alternate advice that promises better and quicker results. That’s why I like the 1oth man zombie analogy – everyone is after your brains – not just the exercise professionals – the media and advertisers and others trying to make a $. So a big part of being an exercise professional is working with those client beliefs in a sensitive and ethical way. To me, we always need to come back to first principles and our duty to explain and gently educate clients about alternate pathways. We’ll talk more on this and how to protect your brains – the answer is not aluminium foil hats by the way!.