Coach Ronnie Elliot is a graduate of Duke University, where he was a 4 year letterman and 2-year Team Captain of the Football Team. Heralded as one of the top trainers in the Southeast, Coach Ronnie has earned a reputation for developing players through fundamentals, hard work and discipline. As a player Ronnie played point guard on his AAU, Middle School and High School basketball teams. Coach Ronnie was the 1998 Junior Olympic Gold Medalist. As a trainer he has worked with Basketball and Football players on every level, and has directed over 30 Camps in the past 2 years, in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Texas.
You can read an overview of the interview with Ronnie Elliot or listen to the podcast below for the full interview.
Q: Tell us a little about what you're working on at the moment?
A: Right now we’re getting ready for both our spring and summer registration, which will have both our academy and AAU travel teams. So we’ll be getting ready to send our teams all over the nation to showcase their skills and also get a chance to see what type of talent is out there.
Q: What is the vision and mission behind RCE Skills Academy?
A: First and foremost we just want to provide an environment and program for kids to go and bond and grow as youth and adults, outside of just sports. We just want them to be able to have friendships that they can carry throughout life and learn lessons that will make them model citizens…
Q: Tell us a story about one of your proudest moments in your coaching career?
A: I had opportunity when I first came out of college to work with a guy by the name of Greg Little… And at the time Greg was a Running Back and he was labeled not as a hard worker, and he had never played the Wide Receiver position. So I had the chance to work with him very closely for about a year. And the crazy thing came was it came from a mentorship program that started at Duke... And after that year he ended up getting a scholarship to North Carolina and two or three years later after being there, he was drafted into the NFL. And it just was a signature as far as, what discipline and hard work can do for you. And so Greg is one of the guys I’m and proud of, and so that was one of those things that was very exciting as a coach.
Q: Tell us a story about some of the challenges you faced in your coaching/athletic career and how you overcame them, or maybe you still are?
A: So everybody has a different dynamic and life. I think that’s one of the good things about me is that coming from the inner city in Huntsville where we may not have been as fortunate, and then also going to a University like Duke I met new friends who had been fortunate throughout their entire life is you know, different players have different home situations. And so we can only physically have them for a period of time. And so our goal is to lock the mind in and instill it into an RCE mindset, so that even when they’re not with us physically, mentally they are doing the right thing and they’re focused on what is going to get them to the next level in whatever platform, or whatever subject they may be working on at the time.
Q: What do you think has been the key to your success that other coaches could learn from?
A: I think the funniest thing is that with success comes growth, and with growth you have to change. But my core values are fundamentals. And it doesn’t matter what else is going on in the marketing. If people are trending towards this, or trending towards that, I have just stuck to my core, that fundamentals are always the basis of everything you do. And I think that if coaches just have a core set of discipline habits that they want to create within their organization, and they just stick to those no matter how much they grow, that will always give them substance in their program, that will continuously give them success.
Q: What wisdom have you picked up over your years of working in the sport industry?
A: Be helpful. Because it’s always about the kids. And so I’m always willing to talk with trainers, talk with coaches. Not only share what I’ve learned, but also be willing to listen and take notes of what they’ve learned so that we can just bring the best information for the kids. You know I’m always looking to do something better or learn a better way for the kids to be more effective. And so I think that by building relationships with trainers and coaches for the kids, it just goes a long way.
Q: How do you think technology is changing the way you work and coach?
A: ...I think that to get a kid to really work hard, you want them to be doing something that they enjoy. Right now, kids like electronics, and they like things on electronics, so I say how can we get basketball into what they’re already doing, so that they will want to spend of their time that they would be spending doing something else on the same piece of technology, but doing something that will help them with basketball, or school… We have several systems… for them to go online and get workouts and get workout programs from. So depending on what program they’re in, sometimes they get weekly homework assignments that is in the form of videos. So they get a chance to go online, view the video...and then they can go out and do the drill.
Q: What is your favorite "success" quote?
A: “Only those who are willing to risk going too far, can possibly find out how far one can go.”