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Wednesday September 4, 2013UF Baseball Announces Iron Gator Challenge

Gainesville, Fla.

Under the direction of Strength & Conditioning Coordinator Paul Chandler, the Iron Gator Challenge is a six-week competition that will test Gator baseball players not only physically, but mentally. Since baseball is such a mental game and challenge, at Florida we spend most of our time developing the mental toughness of our baseball players. Regardless of the position, baseball players MUST learn how to lock in mentally and focus on the present.


Baseball players must have a short-term memory. It's not the last at bat that will hurt an individual, it's the current at bat. It's not the last pitch that will hurt the individual, it's this pitch. Strength and Conditioning training can significantly improve our baseball players' mental aspects of the game. It's not what we do - it's how we do it. We push our baseball players to their very limits of what is humanly possible. The lifts, finishers and completions are designed to cause conflict between the mental and physical connections in the body. Therefore, the players will be able to gain confidence that they can handle physical and mental tasks considerably more than they ever thought possible.


The Iron Gator Challenge also teaches competiveness. Every day during the six-week challenge, the players will be tested by various competitions. We are looking for guys to compete and battle. That’s the game of baseball. If a pitcher gives up a big hit, they have to learn to battle back and keep fighting. If a hitter gets behind in the count, they must fight back to get a hit. We want our baseball players to be relentless both mentally and physically, both on and off the field. If we can accomplish this goal, they will be very successful in all areas of their life.


The Iron Gator Challenge is divided into four teams, each led by a team captain. The four captains held a draft to choose the members of their respective teams. Not only will the teams compete against one another, but pitchers will compete against pitchers and position players will face off against other position players. At the end of the six weeks, there will be an overall team winner, as well as pitcher and position player winners.


The team captains for 2013 are: junior right-hander Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.), junior outfielder/right-hander Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.), junior infielder Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) and redshirt junior right-hander Karsten Whitson (Chipley, Fla.).  


Iron Gator Challenge Past Winners

·         2005 Pitcher – Darren O’Day

·         2005 Position Player – Chris Woods


·         2006 Pitcher – Tony Davis

·         2006 Position Player – Avery Barnes


·         2007 Pitcher – Tony Davis

·         2007 Position Player – Avery Barnes


·         2008 Pitcher – Tony Davis

·         2008 Position Player – Jonathan Pigott


·         2009 Pitcher – Kevin Chapman

·         2009 Position Player – Matt den Dekker


·         2010 Pitcher – Justin Poovey

·         2010 Position Player – Kamm Washington


·         2011 Pitcher – Jonathon Crawford

·         2011 Position Player – Nolan Fontana


·         There was no competition held in 2012



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