Batson's always in training mode

CLEMSON - Like any Clemson coach, Joey Batson's personal life is based around his work schedule.

And most of that schedule for Clemson's director of strength and conditioning centers around the football program.

A family vacation for Batson is generally a mini-weekend, when he gets the occasional Friday off during the summer. Those come few and far between and getting a week off during the summer, when most Americans take their vacations, just doesn't happen often.

Of course Batson tries to fit in time off when he can because his family is important to him, but he also knows he is responsible for 90 or more football players during the summer months when football coaches can't bother their players and players are encouraged to participate in voluntary workouts.

"Summer is a tough time for a strength coach because they are voluntary, and you can call it what you want, but I'm expected to produce a product that has to be ready to go out in August," said Batson, who despite the long days and weeks is extremely passionate about his job. "It is really a time when the things we have worked on all spring and the things the coaches have been preaching are supposed to start taking shape.

"This is when you really find out what kind of team you have and who your team leaders are."

And those leaders start with Batson and his crew. Depending on the time of year, Batson and his staff will work 12 to 14 hour days, six days a week, and in Batson's case, a few hours on Sundays, just on football.

Starting in January and running through February, Batson's day will generally start at 6 a.m. and will last until around 7 that evening.

"During the day we might have some early morning people come through that have to lose weight," he said. "A lot of that is getting organized in the morning and preparing for the afternoons. The big push for me is in the afternoons where you run all of your football team through it and that is not counting the Olympic sports coming in."

Football generally takes about five hours each day where Batson and his staff will do on the floor training. Everything at this point is hands on. After that, they will spend another hour or so editing all the day's activities such as lifting charts and things of that nature.

This is Batson's day Monday-Thursday during the winter months. Fridays he gets into recruiting and will show potential prospects the facilities, the weight plans as well as have a meal or attend dinners that coaches have for the prospects.

On Saturdays, he is with the recruits all day and then after church on Sunday he is back in the office planning for the next week.

It doesn't get any easier when spring begins.

"The lifting comes down to two days a week and we have staff meetings every morning, but we will lift on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting at 6 a.m.," Batson said. "We will have two groups in the morning and then in the afternoon we will run three groups and then editing those workouts on the off days.

"Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday you have practice so that continues your six-day routine. Sunday afternoon or late evening you are organizing for the week."

After the spring game, Batson's hours become somewhat normal. He will work just Monday-Friday, but he will still be pulling 10-hour days. This is the time when the NCAA makes players take mandatory time off.

"They are on their own," Batson said. "They will come in and workout and we will talk, but this is a time when the NCAA mandates that they have time off. So right now for me, I go from about 8-6 organizing the summer and getting ready for our youth camps coming up."

Batson also plans his new budget during this time and works on his staff assignments for the upcoming year. But unlike other years, he is also trying to coordinate the Tigers' move into the new weight room and training facility underneath the WestZone.

The football program is expected to move into the 14,000 square-foot facility by July.

"Every day we are continuing to send things out to get bids and getting our equipment to come in," he said. "We are about 70 percent complete."

These next few weeks are also time for Batson and his crew to plan professional growth trips, while also attending conferences and seminars. When they get back from that, voluntary workouts start up, which this year will begin on May 19. At that point, Batson takes on the same schedule he had from January-February.

"The mornings are more for organizing and getting things ready for the afternoon and then by about 2 o'clock to 6:30 we train football," he said. "In the morning you have some kids that come in and do some extra work, but in the afternoons they train and then the following morning I will come in and make edits, make adjustments and changes, and look at the guys who may be injured.

"We also work with Dr. (Loreto) Jackson to make sure guys are logging their foods and are staying on track."

When August rolls around and camp begins, then Batson's schedule becomes like the spring and when the season starts, it becomes a whole different world.

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