Indianapolis Colts DT and Former Wagner College Star Chris Williams and Athletic Trainer Gavin Ingster prepare at the Sports Performance Lab in Middletown, NJ for New NFL Season
When an NFL rising star gets together with a motivated athletic trainer, some great things can happen. That's the story of the latest guests on SportsJam with Doug Doyle.
Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle and former Wagner College standout Chris Williams has been training at the Sports Performance Lab in Middletown, New Jersey since mid-June with his athletic trainer and conditioning coach Gavin Ingster. However Williams and Ingster have been a team for quite a while.
Williams, who signed a three-year deal with the Colts and Ingster joined SportsJam host Doug Doyle via Zoom from the lab.
Williams and Ingster are enjoying their time at the Sports Performance Lab which allow them to do a mini-NFL- combine-like workout with off field testing.
Williams says he completely trusts Ingster when it comes to how to prepare for the new NFL season.
"You just got to learn how a person is and what are their motives for what they're doing. That's what I noticed quickly when I started working out with Gavin. There were a whole bunch of kids so he was trying to make the most out of his time. The more I got to see him the first thing I noticed about him at training session was that he would have a notebook and write down every little thing. When I asked him about that, he said 'I want to be so detailed and efficient in everything I do.' I noticed the similarity in me too, that's what I'm doing with football, I'm always studying and trying to figure out what can make me a little bit better."
When Williams was dominating the line of scrimmage while playing defense for the Wagner College Seahawks, where he was described as a run-stopping force. The 23-year old Williams is known for his agility and strength. He's 6-foot-2 and weighs 302 pounds. What skills can Williams improve on? Trainer Gavin Ingster says it's important to always go beyond the basics and their current workout space offers several advantages.
"Here at the Lab we have a little bit of a different approach to things. We do all your rudimentary and your basics, your strength training, your weight lifting and all that stuff, but we also take a different approach with the brain training and the focus, the eye coordination, the reactive agility stuff. So I always taken a kind of approach where I put things together, you never get away from basics, but I am always trying to improve. I'm always trying to be dynamic and I kind of throw things against the wall and see what sticks, see what works. It's crazy when they get to this level, there such minute amount of changes because all these guys can already squat a ton, they can all dead lift a ton, they can all bench a ton. So that's why we've been lucky enough, looking from last summer to this summer. Nothing overtakes hard work and dedication but with some of the stuff we have at the lab like the brain training, like the reactive agility stuff, it just helps to be that much more explosive. We kind of have always pushed each other. We have that relationship where there's no ego involved. I've never had a situation where I felt like I couldn't tell him how I feel and vice versa which has kind of made this relationship really flourish."
Growing up in Brooklyn and playing for Lafayette High School, Williams tried to pattern his game after former Baltimore Ravens and NFL legendary linebacker Ray Lewis.
"Just something about him, I just gravitated to him. He's one of the greatest linebackers who every played in the NFL. When I was growing up, I would restart the Madden (video game) just so I could hear him give that speech every time."
Motivation has always been a key for Williams who was an undrafted free agent and worked hard at Wagner with his defensive line coach and former seven-year NFL veteran Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton.
"Before I met him I would just go out and play football, just from talent and listening to what the coaches were telling me. And then I got with him (Knighton) and we watched film and I learned so much more. There's was so much more I could see before the snap and allowed me to know what plays would be ran so I could react and I could see something when the ball was snapped. Working with him made my prediction go up because I was seeing these pre-snap keys and learning what the game of football is about and what it really is."
Williams stresses Knighton also pushed him and others on the Wagner squad to be a pro. It was also that motivation that Williams carried through the coronavirus pandemic. He and his younger brother who plays football at Delaware State stayed busy and trained hard together with the help of Ingster.
Williams says it's now weird calling Ingster his trainer.
"I call him my brother. He's family. The bond grew way bigger than just what we do in the gym. This is just what we do like friends going out."
Williams and Ingster share that competitive fire, inside and outside of the gym. Ingster says that results in a strong commitment to be the best.
"It's crazy when they get to this level, there such minute amount of changes because all these guys can already squat a ton, they can all dead lift a ton, they can all bench a ton. So that's why we've been lucky enough, looking from last summer to this summer. Nothing overtakes hard work and dedication but with some of the stuff we have at the lab like the brain training, like the reactive agility stuff, it just helps to be that much more explosive. It's become something that we look it as a job because of the severity of it, but we're so compassionate about it that it doesn't drag."
Ingster got his Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise at the University of Buffalo and MA in Athletic Training at Seton Hall University has also worked with several area schools.
Ingster when Indianapolis signed Williams he immediately became a Colts fan after many years cheering on the Jets. Williams says the Colts are ready for a fine season this year. Williams told Doyle he'll have to wait to see what his sack celebration will be.
"I've got some stuff planned."
You can see the entire SportsJam interview with Chris Williams and Gavin Ingster at https://fb.watch/v/2MyG8PsmO/.