Michael Hill, a native of Fort Dodge, Iowa, has been with the Georgetown University Athletic Department since 2004 and is currently the Associate Athletics Director of Sport Performance working specifically with Men’s Basketball while overseeing the development of all 29 sports.
In May 2017, Hill was recognized as a Master Strength and Conditioning Coach (MSCC) by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCa). In 2014, the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) named Hill one of the top four collegiate strength and conditioning coaches in the country. Hill’s certifications and memberships include the CSCCa-MSCC, NSCA-CSCS, and RSCC, National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), USAW Level 1, 24 Hour Fitness CPT, SAC Level 1, FMS Level 1and CPR/AED from the American Red Cross.
Freelap USA: Coaching staff turnover in the college setting is often the kiss of death for strength coaches/performance staff, but you’ve seemed to prevail at Georgetown. What is the process of establishing yourself with a new coaching staff and adjusting to what they prioritize?
Michael Hill: Big Coach Thompson (John Thompson) said once, “true professionals shall rise,” and I truly believe that. If you carry yourself and conduct your business professionally, the product speaks for itself. In other words, you are always writing your own resume. Just like the saying goes, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” I feel like I have done that my whole career. I have also been very fortunate to also have an administration that believes in my work and has had my back throughout.I have been very fortunate to have an administration that believes in my work and has had my back throughout, says @License_to_Hill. Click To Tweet
It is unsettling to know that great coaches get let go despite their coaching expertise just for a changing of the guard and a “NEW” style of training. Most sports performance/strength coaches don’t want to hear it, but we need to be regarded as part of the support staff just as athletic trainers have been solidified.
Freelap USA: An obvious difficulty working with basketball players is their tall, lean frames. What do you do to accommodate these athletes (especially those over 6’6”) in the weight room and those who are particularly lean (under 185 pounds)?
Michael Hill: There are definite challenges to working with tall, lean frames. Most basketball players have uncharacteristically long wingspans and disproportional torsos and are playing a sport that puts drastic demands on their bodies in severe angles that they shouldn’t be in. This results in an increased injury risk.
Regarding barbell training, the first issue would be holding a barbell and making accommodations for athletes who can’t truly get into positions such as a position 1 clean, hip rack position, or hip crease position. They may need to take a wider grip, bend the elbows, retract the shoulder complex, have less knee bend, etc.
The second is accommodating for exercises coming off the floor. This is, relatively speaking, easier now using blocks to proportional tibia, fibula, and femur heights. The third is using a bigger grip or Fat Gripz over the barbell to accommodate for the sizeable hand spans. The last would be the racks that we work in, which are the 10-foot-tall Sorinex Base Camp Series.
Freelap USA: Developing a strong rapport with athletes has become something you’re very well known for. Why is this a priority for coaching and what are some ways that you’ve gone about it?
Michael Hill: My teaching is built behind the scenes, on the back end or posteriorly, which is all about the true relationships. The RDL (Romanian deadlift) is a great example of this concept structure, but I change the acronym to support my theory while maintaining the structural concept. The real RDL is relationships, development, and lifestyle.The real RDL is relationships, development, and lifestyle, says @License_to_Hill. Click To Tweet
First, I want to create a meaningful relationship with the human, client, athlete, entity, etc. Second comes development in many different forms, from the development of said relationship to the development of the entity to true enhancement. Third and last is that I want to train or teach the entity how to continue throughout their own life and teach others the same way I was taught.
Freelap USA: According to your Instagram account, you are an avid reader and a sneaker connoisseur. If you could only collect one or the other for the rest of your life, which would you choose and why?
Michael Hill: Most certainly, books. The shoes are just a by-product of my many years of excellent service at Georgetown, with Nike/Jordan mixed with my conservative Iowa upbringing and not wanting to wear new clothes/shoes just for the purpose of looking fly.
So, I had to find another way to showcase my collection besides wearing them out to the club. And, let’s be honest, it also brings “likes” and “followers,” as nobody wants to see the books I read, they just want the shoes—sex/shoes sell. In a way, it’s me just trying to, as the kids say, “flex” for the crowd, but in reality, I would only post books if that got me followers and likes.
Freelap USA: The year is 2035 and the aliens have invaded us. What is the most important part of your first impression with them and how do you demonstrate value to be perceived as an asset rather than a threat?
Michael Hill: We actually secretly invaded years ago and have been mingling among the crowds, studying humans for 2035. So, I would say that my current work prior to the actual invasion should hopefully speak for itself; in other words, I should have already written my own resume and proven my value as an asset and dressed for the job I want not the job I have.
Lead photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire.
Since you’re here…
…we have a small favor to ask. More people are reading SimpliFaster than ever, and each week we bring you compelling content from coaches, sport scientists, and physiotherapists who are devoted to building better athletes. Please take a moment to share the articles on social media, engage the authors with questions and comments below, and link to articles when appropriate if you have a blog or participate on forums of related topics. — SF