Ed.: Fanpost from a reader who tried the Batson Program
Dr. B: I really enjoyed your article on Batson's S&C program and wanted to give you my personal experience with it.
I graduated from Clemson in 2003 and my brother tried out for the team in 2004, when he was a freshman. He played football in high school at Northwestern, under Moose Wallace, so he was very experienced with being in a S&C program, albeit at the high school level. My brother, at the time, was 6'0" and weighed 200 lb. and was solid as a rock. Long story short, he didn't make the Clemson team that year but was given the S&C manual from Batson, who encouraged him to come back the following year. I'm sure you have seen this manual, all 100+ pages of it. It’s like a phone book, and very intimidating to someone who has never had a manual of this proportion before.
My brother asked me if I'd like to do the program with him, and being a 24 year old with nothing better to do than work I said sure. Me, personally, I was 5'9" and weighed 140 lb. at the time so I wanted to get ripped like the football players. We followed all of the instructions in the manual, including the speed/agility sections.
When we got to the lifting portion is where the problems quickly emerged. The whole lifting program was nothing but bench press, umpteen thousand variations of squats, and numerous shoulder presses. Absolutely little to no core work was employed here.
My brother and I did the program for roughly 3 months, and while we both got significantly bigger mass and strength gains, there were some other severe consequences, which I know you have well documented. My shoulders are now permanently damaged and I have lower back problems. My brother ruined his back and had to have surgery to repair his wrists, which to this day are still not as strong as they used to be.
I say this because it is plain as day to me why Willy Korn, Cullen Harper, James Davis, and now I fear Watkins will have permanent damage to their shoulders and I don't think this is a coincidence. Same goes for JK Jay and Kalon Davis with back problems. I will mention that my brother and I were under no trained supervision from any one, which could indicate we were not practicing proper form. However, with my brother being an experienced lifter, with over 6 years of experience at that time, I don’t think this was a huge issue as we spotted each other and used weight belts and wrist supports.
I have since completed the P90X program, which definitely stresses core work for stability and to me is a much better program (because I'm not a fine tuned athlete) than Batson's program. I really appreciate you hammering on this topic because it is a shame that the athletes that come through our program are at substantially greater risk to injury because of Batson's inept S&C program.
Take Care, AC