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Getting To Know ... Kaf Herring

Kaf Herring is the owner and head trainer at Kinetic Prototype in Suwanee. (Staff Photo: Brandon Brigman)

Kaf Herring is the owner and head trainer at Kinetic Prototype in Suwanee. (Staff Photo: Brandon Brigman)

Kaf Herring, 28, is the owner/trainer at Kinetic Prototype in Suwanee. Herring is a 2003 Eastside (S.C.) High School graduate and was a wide receiver at the University of South Carolina where he graduated with a degree in business management in 2007. Herring and his fiancee Rachel Georgetown are expecting their first child in August, Kyler. In this latest installment of “Getting To Know …,” Herring talks to staff writer Brandon Brigman about his gym, being a Gamecock in Bulldog country and his unique name.

BB: So what do you do at Kinetic Prototype?

KH: We are a specific gym that does hands on training. Our niches are football, baseball, softball and soccer. We teach explosion, form and technique, overall speed, overall resistance. Our main goal is to improve the athlete’s speed. Speed is one thing you need in every sport.

BB: Do you train mostly youth, college or pro athletes?

KH: It actually goes from professional athletes all the way to 6 years old. We have classes that are 6, 7, 8 years old, middle school classes, high school classes, collegiate classes and NFL combine classes. Most classes of our classes are an hour to two hours long.

BB: So what kind of workouts are you doing?

KH: It’s more weight plyometrics. We believe in the band work. What we mean by that like lateral resistors that attach to your ankles. Resistant bands that attach to your hip. We’re working on those muscle fibers to get that explosion that you need out of that athlete.

BB: Did you always want to be a trainer?

KH: No, I wanted to be a coach, believe it or not. That wasn’t for me. I don’t think I can put in the genius playbooks. That’s not my forte. I can do genius programs, but the genius playbooks like the (Bill) Belichick’s and those guys, I don’t think I can create something of that nature.

BB: You said you specialize in four sports — football, baseball, softball and soccer — why those sports?

KH: That’s where our background is coming from. We have a professional soccer player from the Atlanta Silverbacks that trains with us. Two guys that are with the Atlanta Falcons that are actually part of our staff.

BB: You have a grand opening at the gym this weekend. What’s involved with that?

KH: It’s July 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. What it’s designed for is to let the community who we are, where we are located, what we do, how we can help the community out, how we help the youth, high school, college athletes. It will have an open house type feel. It will be fun with food and drinks, we’ll show the classes, give you a tour of where we train, how we train. People are welcome to come out and train and get a feel for a class.

BB: What sets y’all apart from just training at your local high school?

KH: Not to take anything away from the high school coaches. A lot of high school coaches they are there with a plan. They are there to win. They can’t say ‘Work on speed’ and give you individual attention. Their main objective is to get you stronger and prepare you mentally for the games. What we do is prepare you for speed. Speed you have to have in any sport. Speed over strength, I hate to say it, but you don’t hear anyone say ‘Oh man, he’s the strongest guy out there. They always say he’s the fastest guy out there.

BB: I’ve been to a lot of gyms, but I’ve never seen one that has a sand pit like you have. What do you do in there?

KH: We call that the Buck Pit. If you get in that Buck Pit, you’re not going to walk again without being sore. It’s insane. We try to isolate and prevent injury. It’s a lot of the same work with explosion and speed. If you ever walk in sand, you feel all those different muscle groups working in a sand pit. It’s actually named after one of our staff members Tim Buckley. He’s the one that came up with the idea, so we gave him all the glory for that.

BB: What brought you to Atlanta from South Carolina?

KH: Believe it or not, I had a buddy (Dacula grad) Kenny Irons that said ‘Why are you in Greenville? You’re done with school. Come out here and play some football.’ He’s the one that got me out here to Atlanta and I started training with the Georgia Force. When I started training with them, I said I don’t want to be a coach when I’m done, I want to be a trainer. I would rather be doing that. I just happened to do that. I stayed in Atlanta, got signed to the Force, got my certifications and did some extra school work and now you can’t get me to go back to South Carolina.

BB: Did you play football at South Carolina?

KH: I did. I was a receiver. I didn’t have a lot of playing time. That’s how I met up with Billy ‘White Shoes’ Johnson, who helped me with my combine work and got me prepared mentally and physically for the professional level. I just never got the opportunity to make it to the big ticket. I’m here now to give back to the community about the do’s and don’ts.

BB: What kind of athlete were you in high school? Was it just football or did you play other sports?

KH: I played three sports — football, baseball and track. Unfortunately, in our household we are not allowed to be home. We had to play some type of sport. That’s how it was from 6 years of age to college. I thank my parents for that for keeping me out of trouble and keeping me busy.

BB: What’s it like for a South Carolina grad to live in Georgia Bulldog country?

KH: (laughs) It’s not good. (laughs) I always saw in my time frame 2-for-4. We won two out of the four years. I feel good with that. I’m not like other guys and one out of four. Or zero out of four. They treat me well and give me a hard time. They bring the statistics like Georgia has this many wins, you only have this many wins against us. We have one number right now, No. 7. You know who that is, (Jadeveon) Clowney. We’ll see this year.

BB: So you played one year with the Force?

KH: That year I was on the practice squad. The following year they had the financial issues and suspended the whole league. That’s when I went to Canada and played with the BC Lions in Vancouever. I was up there a year, came back home and that was the end of my career. It was not a very long career.

BB: You have an interesting first name. Does that have any kind of meaning to it or what were your parents thinking?

KH: Believe it or not, my father is Egyptian and my mother is Trinidadian. So it’s a mixture of Egyptian and Trinidad. It means to die for in the Arabic language. I used to use it as a pickup line in school, but it never worked. I said ‘Hey, I’m to die for and they were like what are you talking about?’ I like it. I love my name. No believes me when I tell them. I think it fits me. Like a big calf muscle or a baby cow. It makes me unique.

BB: You’re going to be a father next month. Do you have everything set up?

KH: Everything, but the nursery. I have to paint one more wall. We have everything we need — bibs, stroller, diapers.

BB: How long before you’re training your son in here?

KH: I’ll probably give him about nine months. (laughs) When he starts walking, we’ll be in here training.

BB: Do you see yourself here at the gym for a while?

KH: The game plan really is spread throughout North Georgia and South Georgia. I want to reach out in the community and let them know we are here. We are here to help in any way possible. But at the end of the day, the game is to really is to really have the same store front and spread thoughout the area — North Georgia, South Georgia, East, West.