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Georgetown University Athletics - Coach Michael Hill Q&A

Updated: Aug 3, 2020

What are your philosophies for athlete Development?

My philosophy in general is not to have a specific philosophy and be pigeon-holed per se but to be constantly learning and expressing my experiences and failures to learn and move forward a said athlete. Athlete and/or athletic development is in a constantly changing environment that has some basic rules and guidelines to follow but also needs to be pushed to the outer limits when and where necessary. To be cliche, it is a science but yet an art. If I were to say that I have a philosophy it would be that I am defined by those basic rules and parameters but that I play within those boundaries to move athlete development forward. However, sometimes you also have to think outside those rules and guidelines to solve certain situations to move that athlete forward.

Do you train athletes differently in the university setting, rather than what you would do if they were full-time professionals?

Building a strong foundational base is what any athlete's training program should be built on. First, we would start with assessing the athlete and figuring out the basic needs analysis before starting any form of training. Second would be then looking towards the future and what goals the athlete is looking to complete or work towards. Third, the training arena, area, space, time, and limitations are spoken into existence and then we can go in any direction so to speak with each athlete.

In terms of differences, I would say athlete's at the university have much less of a training background or history compared to professionals. On the flip side, professionals have more of a specific need for their training and therefore also have more resources available. The downside to being a professional in a training program is that sometimes you can get caught up in this gave of over-correcting conflicting theories or philosophies from multiple professionals, and the constant flux of trends on the market that are appealing and are shaping brands.

How do you develop coaches and interns? And what are some important factors for you?

Developing Coaches and interns is a process that takes years of understanding to perfect. No two instances are the same and nor the paths chosen right or wrong. Most of the time I find that the best coaches and interns don't possess any knowledge of the subject but do possess a willingness to work hard, learn, are open and honest, and can be adaptable as possible to whatever situation that comes in their field of view. Within this profession it's hard to find candidates who embody all of those attributes but still want to train athletes. I have found that if you don't have a good base and understanding of yourself and your capabilities that the athletes can see right through that and your coaching turns out to be not genuine.

As mentioned above, the most important factors that a coach or intern can have to help develop them personally is hard work, a willingness to learn, an open mind and an honest speech, and being adaptable to every situation. As a coach you will have to work long hours while constantly staying up on the latest research and trends. Having an open mind and not always having the answer will open more doors rather than having a closed mind that will close doors. Always being honest even when it means your own faults as the athletes and sport coaches will always respect that and trust is gained on respect. Lastly, being adaptable whether it's in a meeting and you have to be professional to on the field and you have to pump athletes up. Also, to coaching each team and each athlete, everybody is motivated in different ways, being adaptable and wearing different proverbial hats is a must.

What should young coaches do who are looking to get into the the Collegiate S&C profession?

My advice to young coaches is to become a subject matter expert in their field. Read and learn as much as possible from as many different mediums as possible. These days there is a flood of information that is accessible and available to young coaches that didn't exist 20 years ago. Also, a young coach should train themselves, you cannot tell someone how to do something if you cannot do it yourself or if you have never done it. Which means, experience as many different facets of training as you can and this doesn't mean just lifting weights as there are many areas that are involved in training. Lastly, my advice would be to reach out and ask to be mentored by a coach in the profession. Nothing can be learned without experience and failure, and current coaches within the profession are the best source of knowledge for both.


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