By Talia Pangalangan
For my STEP experience, I chose to do an internship at the company Fit2Play. Fit2Play is an athletic training business that primarily focuses on increasing performance in young athletes. This company is located in Columbus and all the trainings are done in different rented or public locations depending on the clientele.
I had chosen this particular internship because it would provide me with additional knowledge to help me in my future career plan of becoming a physical therapist. I have always thought that I would like to work with either children or athletes, so combining the two into one internship experience was a great opportunity. I initially thought that the internship coordinator would have me quietly assisting the personal trainer. I am naturally very quiet, and had assumed that I would mostly be doing behind the scenes work with setting up for drills and such.
My responsibilities gradually grew to the point that I was running complete training sessions on my own. It was really surprising for me because at the beginning of my internship, I did not think I would have been able to conduct them on my own. My communication skills grew, and I was able to show confidence in my instruction. I not only learned how to deal with children and teenagers, but also the parents of the athletes. It was very rewarding for me to learn enough about the training that I felt able to discuss them in different ways depending on the population.
A large portion of my transformation came from the close relationship I created with the personal trainer that supervised all training sessions. He has been working in the field for over twenty years and is very knowledgeable. I believe that mentoring under him was extremely beneficial in my entire transformational experience. Not only did he teach me valuable information about the training field, but he also taught me how to communicate this information to the athletes and their parents.
I believe that this relationship aided me in my transformation because it helped me to feel more comfortable in running sessions independently. I would not have been able to achieve the level I did if it were not for him pushing me out of my comfort zone. I am normally too shy to ask for more responsibilities, so in the beginning it was him adding new duties to my title. By the end of my internship, the close mentor relationship I had formed, along with the self-confidence that had grown, really left me with a lasting impression for future endeavors.
I also believe that the population I was training encouraged my growth. It helped that I was working with young children to adolescents. I feel comfortable with children and I was able to relate with the high school athletes being that I just was one a couple years ago. Because I felt more comfortable in this environment, I was able to move out of my comfort level more.
My internship experience also affected me personally by allowing me with the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of training athletes. Though I am an exercise science major and learn many of the physiological and psychological aspects of exercise, it was refreshing to gain actual field experience. I enjoyed integrating myself into a slightly different field than just physical therapy, and I liked meeting the young athletes.
My experience allowed me to grow in my field and gain insight as to what is being done at the training level. PT’s generally only see athletes after an injury has occurred, but my i nternship at Fit2Play allowed me to learn what is being done in order to prevent an injury in the first place. I saw how something as simple as tweaking the way a person runs and changes directions can save them from potentially large injuries like a torn knee ligament. My time at Fit2Play showed me that I enjoy working on the training side of things and am contemplating getting a wellness certification so that I can begin training other people. The communication skills that I learned during my internship will also translate well into the physical therapy field.