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Joey Batson’s Answers To Ask The Tigers

June 30, 2000

Below are Joey Batson’s answers to Ask The Tigers. Batson is the Strength Training Director at Clemson. ClemsonTigers.com thanks the fans who submitted questions and Joey for taking the time to answer them.

Walter Bell, Vienna, Va. Coach, 1. Who is the hardest working football player in the weight room? 2. Who is the overall strongest player on the team? **Comment, I think the Tiger Football team is in excellent shape..no fat players, thanks to you and your staff..GO TIGERS 2000 and again thanks to you and your staff. Tiger fan for 31 years.

Joey Batson’s Answer Question 1 – There are so many and it is hard to pick out one guy because there is always a group of guys and you hate to single out just a few people. I think if you look out on the offensive line, you have Kyle Young as the anchor. Kyle works extremely hard. If you go over to the defensive line I think you’ve got some guys like Terry Jolly and Nick Eason. In your linebacker corp you’ve got Keith Adams. When you look at the receivers, Joe Don Reames comes to mind. You look at the defensive backs, you have some young guys that are doing a great job like Kevin Johnson and Brian Mance. There are a lot of hard working guys. I guess it is hard to single out one guy. A guy that is always in here even during break time because he lives in town is Kyle Young. Kyle is an extremely dedicated guy. He won the dedication award last year as voted by his teammates. When you look at the team voting on a guy they feel is most dedicated, Kyle Young comes to mind.

Question 2 – Neely Page has the highest total of four lifts, which is 1,797 pounds. Those lifts came in the squat, bench press, clean and power jerk. Now pound-for-pound when we talk about the strongest guy on the team in terms of his body weight versus amount of weight lifted (power index), that is a guy by the name of Charles Harper. Neely Page has the highest total, followed by Terry Witherspoon and T.J. Watkins. Power index is Charles Harper, followed by Rod Gardner and Joe Don Reames.

Todd Hester, Taylors, S.C. Your conditioning program for the football team last year produced outstanding results. Which current player has the highest bench press and how much? What was your personal best?

Joey Batson’s Answer Right now our best bencher is Nate Gillespie at 480 pounds, followed by Terry Jolly at 475. Those two are the top benchers. Freddie James is at 450, Neely Page is right around 450, Terry Witherspoon and Marcus Lewis at 440. We have quite a few guys that are pretty good benchers. I believe we had 26 guys coming out of winter workouts that could bench over 400. Hopefully, we can try to approach 30 guys by the end of the summer.

Personally, my best has been around 500. That was back when I was power lifting pretty hard.

Dustin Miller, Taylors, S.C. How many sets should I peform when I’m concentrating on the Pecs, Quads, or Back muscles? At the moment I’m doing about 10-12 sets for each muscle group, but do I need to be doing around 15 sets for the bigger muscles? I also work out 5 days a week Mon-Fri. I work only one muscle group once a week. Thanks for your help Joey.

Joey Batson’s Answer I think the thing that we do here is we concentrate on strength training, so it is a little bit different than what you do when you are body-building. When you look at strength training versus body building, you are looking at two different animals.

We probably work around 12 to 15 sets per body part. We are doing some major lifts that the normal person would not do, things like power jerks and power cleans. Those are Olympic type lifts that develop power that most people don’t do out in public.

Dustin, you seem like you are in the safe range in your sets.

Don Bennet, Seneca, S.C. Pound for pound, who is the strongest male and female athlete at Clemson?

Joey Batson’s Answers It is really hard to say because each sport trains differently. All of them have different needs. Soccer men and women are going to train differently than football, football is going to train different than volleyball. Everything is specialized by sport. They all work the same muscle groups, but there are different needs. Charles Harper for example has a tremendously high power index. It will be hard to find any athlete with a power index higher than his. As far as the females go it is hard to say. Shereka Weston is an extremely powerful sprinter. She was our Strength All-American for our female athletes. I would say she is probably one of the strongest and most powerful females we have.

Lee Boggs, Seneca, S.C. When benchpressing, some people lock their wrists, pointing their knuckles toward the sky. Others bend their wrists, pointing their knuckles toward their head. Which method do you think is the safest and most effective? Thank you.

Joey Batson’s Answer I always prefer a grip where the thumb is around the bar. I think a lot of people try to use a thumbless grip thinking they can get an advantage and try to stimulate their triceps a little more. I believe in locking the wrists and trying to squeeze the bar. You almost want to squeeze the bar in two to try to create as much tension as possible when you are pressing. The knuckles are going to be pushed back toward your shoulders and the wrist is not locked totally back. Your thumbs are going to be pointed more towards the sky. In a sense the bar is rolled back to an extent. The big thing is having the wrists locked and thumb grip, trying to squeeze the bar in two and finding a grip that’s comfortable whether it be a close grip or a wide grip.

Elliott Leavell, Greenville, S.C. What methods do you use to increase speed and quickness? Would you recomend using them with 9th graders?

Joey Batson’s Answer Well at this time we are in the process of producing a video to put on the market that will really help young players and especially junior high and high school age kids. I am going to work on that in the fall once football season begins and I won’t have the players in here full time. There are some extremely good things you can do. I think the biggest thing is just their overall conditioning and that is the biggest problem you find in trying to develop speed. Most people try to go out and find tricks and little gimmicks that try to help their speed, when actually they don’t do anything. We have a program called Power Speed that has been developed and proven. It is pretty detailed, but the biggest thing is just the overall fitness of the athlete. They need to learn how to do specific power speed drills that can be utilized to help them. Next is doing what we call SPP. That is Specific Physical Preparedness Drill. Those three things, the overall fitness, learning how to do Power Speed drills properly and working with the SPP are the things you have to work on first. And that takes some training.

Nick Manfredi, Kearny, N.J. 1. Are sprints a pretty good exercise to do, or are the sprints more for conditioning? 2. What kind of training could help me improve as a better overall Football player?

Joey Batson’s Answer Question 1 – During our training week we have what are called max output days, which is sprinting. On those max output days they will be using a variety of distances and resistances. We will use sleds. It is all progressive over an eight week period. You do build in some conditioning with sprints, but the main thing for us in sprinting that we have 100 percent output. We have other days that we call conditioning days which compliment the other days, which are more interval type training. You never go wrong doing sprints and there are a lot different ways to sprint. You have to make sure you are in really good shape conditioning wise to go out and do 100 percent output sprints.

Question 2 – I think the number one thing is to keep in mind that you have to be in great shape. The second thing is, you never go wrong trying to improve speed. Speed is the king of all sport. A lot of people start a weight-training program and go 99 percent strength training and one percent speed development and it should be the other way around. You can’t demonstrate great speed unless you are in great shape and it is hard to demonstrate great strength if you are not in shape.

James Burch, Lumberton, N.C. Who currently holds the fastest time in the 40 on the football team and what is that time?

Joey Batson’s Answer We really don’t like to put a lot of 40 times out into the public. Just for the fact that a lot of people pick it up and they can use it against you when it comes time to make match-ups in a ball game. We don’t even put the 40 times in the media guide. But we do have some pretty good 40s. We have some guys that can run a 4.3 and some guys that can run a 4.4.

Banks Faulkner, Lexington, S.C. What changes have been made in your philosophy/program since Coach Bowden was hired?

Joey Batson’s Answer When Coach Bowden came in he laid out three things: conditioning, speed and strength. So you take those three elements and you look at the style of offense he is playing and the style of defense, you see that tempo is a big thing. You have to adept your training to that. During your conditioning, you interval train with short rest periods. Your weight training has to be fast also. You come in the weight room and once you start, you hit it A to Z nonstop with a coach right there on top of you. Tempo and speed of everything is built in. It is a faster pace, so you have to train at a faster pace.

Christopher Lee, Lawrence, Kansas 1. I have a question about the Tiger’s conditioning. Last year we saw a lot of players getting hurt, which usually means that their not conditioning properly. I expect Clemson to do very well this year unless they have a lot of injuries. Can you comment on this? 2. How do you feel the Tiger’s conditioning stacks up against other top football programs?

Joey Batson’s AnswerQuestion 1 – Injuries are going to occur. I wish there was a way that you could prevent a lot of injuries, but when you put a joint in a certain position it does not matter how strong that joint is, eventually things are going to happen. I think you do everything you possibly can to condition them to prevent those injuries. With the demands of practice and once you get into the season, it is really tough. You do all the groundwork, you lay a foundation in the winter and summer and when they get out there in the fall you hope for the best. Some injuries are just hard for you to prevent. Brandon Streeter’s hip being knocked out of place is a good example of this. He was just in an awkward position when it happened.

Question 2 – I think with the style that we use and with the methods that we use we are as good as anybody. Whatever I don’t take care of during the summer, Coach Bowden is definitely going to take care of during two-a-days in practice going into the season. When you go into the first game you want a group of guys that are not only in great shape, but they are confident of their ability. They are very, very confident in the fact that they are going to be better conditioned and feel they can go the distance and more. That also plays a big factor, not just the physical aspect, but the mental aspect as well.

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