Interview with MLB Player Will Groff of the St. Louis Cardinals by Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com
Critical Bench has interviewed outstanding athletes including powerlifters, strongmen, pro athletes, and top bodybuilders. Will Groff is a unique athlete because he can powerclean 300 pounds and deadlift over 550 pounds weighing less thatn 180 pounds. Did we mention that he have up his dream of being a pro football player to become a pro baseball player?
Will was a friend of mine in high school. He was a great athlete and a great person at the time. I'm very happy to announce that he has been drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals. I am personally looking forward to seeing him become a force to be reckoned with in MLB and seeing his highlights on ESPN. Without any further ado I bring you Will Groff to share his journey to success.
1) Critical Bench: Hi, I am with Will Groff right now who has just been drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals. Will, it's great to have you with us, tell us a little bit about yourself and the things that you like to do?
Will Groff: Well, I am 21 years of age and just finished my junior year at SUNY Cortland. I was born and raised in upstate NY. My hobbies are fishing/outdoors, running/training, relaxing, cards, sudoku, and have always been heavily involved in athletics.
2) Critical Bench: Will, you have just been drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals of Major Leauge Baseball. How did it feel to get drafted by a professional baseball team?
Will Groff: I label it as one of the most exciting moments as a baseball player, to get drafted and sign a professional contract. I have worked so hard for this my whole life and it is an amazing feeling to be an investment of a MLB team (that they feel I have the ability to play this game at the highest level among the best players in the world). The feeling of knowing you will be playing with or against players as child you idolized is almost surreal.
3) Critical Bench: Back in high school you were a strong powerlifter. Tell us some of your most impressive lifts and how much you weighed at the time?
Will Groff: As a junior in H.S. I weighed 168 and finished 2nd at the NYS lifting competition (squat-410, deadlift 515) as a senior 180lbs (squat 500 clean 290 dead 560.)
4) Critical Bench: Imagine a high school kid at 180lbs powercleaning 300, and deadlifting 600lbs? Will was close to that! Anyway, not only were you very talented in the weight room but you were also a good running back in high school football. Tell us about some of your accomplishments as a running back in football?
Will Groff: In H.S. my senior year I rushed for 1,536 yards on 168 carries 23TDs! I set single season records in yards and TD's! I was the '02 NYS class A player of the year, and the '02 post star player of the year
5) Critical Bench: Will, since you were quite dominant at both baseball and football, what motivated you to pursue and be the best that you can be at baseball instead of football?
Will Groff: Baseball has always been my #1 love however coming out of HS I was not ready to give up football because it was such a passion of mine. I went to Cortland and played football and baseball and did pretty well. In football I ran two Tds back as a kickoff returner 84 yrds and 100yrds (a d3 record) and I also started at free safety. I finally came to the realization though that to be the best I could at either sport I needed to devote a full year to one. I always had the feeling of starting over or learning the same things repetitively at the end of one season and the start of the next. I new I didn't have a chance at the NFL and MLB already had some interest at my baseball ability.
6) Critical Bench: So, you have play baseball for your local Glens Falls team and for your college team (Suny Cortland.) Tell us about both experiences and how they are different?
Will Groff: The Glens falls Golden Eagles in the NY collegiate baseball league was a great experience. I played 2 summers there and played with in total 11 MLB players from schools from Kansas state ,Michigan state ,new mexico U. It was a great experience because I was playing with at the time some of the best collegiate players in the nation and it gave me confidence knowing I was competing and succeeding at that level. It differed from Suny Cortland because at school being a d3 school it was very rare to play against other players that had ability to go on to the next level. Also your main focus at school is winning ball games, summer was a chance for me to focus on me as a player.
7) Critical Bench: Will, what are your future goals in life and in your athletic career?
Will Groff: My future goals in my athletics is to make it to show and have a lengthy career.
8) Critical Bench: Are you still weight lifting and doing lots of plyometrics? How is your training different now compared to back in the days when you were lifting for football and powerlifting competitions?
Will Groff: I weight train heavily in the off season and work on maintenance during my season. I focus on reps from 8-15 and sets of 3 or 4 I have gotten away from 1 or 3 rep maxes. A big part of my game is speed and being explosive. I live on plyometrics and agility work and I swear by them. Working on these tools will elevate any athlete's game.
9) Critical Bench: Will, you have achieved a lot! So looking back at your athletic and weight lifting career, what were your top 5 favorite highlights and why?
Will Groff: My top 5 highlights:
1. getting drafted in the 06 MLB draft by the st louis cardinals – it felt that all my hard work had finally paid off
2. Cortaca jug 03 running a kickreturn back and won the game 16-15. I have never been infront of so many fans in such an electric crowd a feeling that I will always remember
3. '05 d3 world series finished 2nd in the nation- the most pressure games ive ever played
4. HS baseball NYS class A state championship game
5, accepting the class A NYS player of the year award at Syracuse U was the biggest football honor ive ever had
10) Critical Bench: Will, in one of your pictures I see you holding a Fancy trophy? What Trophy are you holding?
Will Groff: Benny, surprisingly that is the world series trophy! I was at Fenway in the home plate club lounge during this past Yankees vs Boston series and got to see it...I could have never imagined being this close to it, what an experience!
11) Critical Bench: Sounds it! What an athletic career you have had! When your athletic career is all said and done, how do you want people to remember you?
When my athletic career is all said and done I want people to remember me as an athlete who played the game because he loved it; not for money or fame. I've always been a firm believer in ability and everyone was born with strengths and weaknesses. I believe you should follow what you were gifted to do. I was given a gift, given an ability and I love what I do.
Critical Bench: Will, awesome job with your athletic career it's great to see that you have been very successful! Critical Bench and our million supporters wish you all the best ahead as you continue to amaze your friends, family, and the sports world!
Will Goff Doing Some Hardcore Plyometrics In His Critical Bench Shirt