Rodney Hill is a football strength and conditioning coach whose career has included stints at Mercer College, Penn State, Howard University, and now, the NFL. We sat down with Rodney to get the details on how he got started and what it took for him to get where he is.
What encouraged you in the first place to want to get into strength and conditioning?
Growing up playing football, strength and conditioning has always been an important piece in the sport. I was in a weight room preparing my body for the football season from the time I got to high school. Once I got on a prescribed program, I fell in love with the results (getting stronger). As I continued to train, I continued to educate myself on the different methods involved in training to get strong. Learning about getting stronger, and human movement in general became a bit of an obsession. I loved it so much I decided to become a human performance major in college, leading me into my current profession. Coaching is also teaching, so growing up with two parents that work in education, I feel like coaching in some sort of capacity was my calling.
How would you describe your S&C philosophy?
Train to get better and minimize the risk of injury while doing so. Thats pretty vague, but every sport, and every individual in every sport requires something different in order to help them perform at their optimal ability. Not everyone just needs to get stronger, some people need to improve on their movement economy, some individuals may have one side of their body stronger than the other, others may need some proprioceptive work, the list of ways to get better is infinite, but it really comes down to taking a holistic approach in your methodology to meet the specific needs of every athlete that you are working with.
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to break into strength and conditioning?
Reach out to ALL strength coaches and get to know them as people and coaches. Who they are and what they have been through has helped shape their coaching/programming style. Take advice and learn from anyone who is willing to teach you anything, because everyone has something to offer. Don’t just chase the logo on the shirt. Just because someone isn’t at a ‘big name school” doesn’t mean they can’t help you.
What is the difference between college strength and conditioning and the NFL?
The approach taken to train the athletes is vastly different.
Where do you think the future of S&C is trending towards in regards to training methods
I think “sports science” is changing the way we train and the way we view training. With more and more data becoming readily available to coaches, we are able to alter our methods on a daily basis in order to make sure that we are not overtraining our athletes or putting them in too many compromising positions. We still want athletes to adapt to stress, we just don’t want that stress to lead to injury.
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