BOISE, IDAHO — If there is one thing that Treasure Valley parents probably won't ever have to worry about, it's finding a sport to enroll their kids in. Idahoans love to get outside and be active, and when it comes to specialized training specifically for football players, there's a new place in town that caters directly to the signal caller.
Since it's inception in 1920, the NFL has seen less than ten quarterbacks come out of the great state of Idaho. That's something Kaizen Quarterbacks Academy in Boise would like to change--all starting with their name, Kaizen.
"It's a Chinese word that's got some different meanings, but how we have broken it down is incremental improvements. They use it in business practices. We thought it's something that would work well in the QB academy world as well," said Kaizen Quarterbacks Academy Owner and Founder Alfred Benson.
Benson founded Kaizen in 2017 when he realized that his young son, an aspiring quarterback, didn't have a place to go for specialized training.
"Finding myself taking him out of state a lot of times to get quality training and just kind of got tired of that. I knew I wasn't the only one that was looking for this type of training, so I started kind of seeking out some relationships with coaches and was able to do that," said Benson.
Like any business, they experienced a slow start, but it became a Hail Mary in attendance once word of mouth got around.
"It started with five to ten--they were really from junior senior in high school all the way down to kids going into fourth and fifth grade. So we only had a few from each age group and now, yeah, it's probably about 70 coming in and out," said Quarterbacks Coach Kyle Kron.
And they gave me the chance to be one of those 70 QBs for the day, which was completely backwards, as I was one of the guys trying to destroy quarterbacks during my five years on the field. Though the regular QBs at the academy made it look easy, I certainly looked like I was on the wrong side of the ball and realized how an academy like this could be so beneficial to the area.
"Throwing a football isn't easy. It's similar to a golf swing, you know. If you're not constantly working on a golf swing, something will get out of sync and there goes your whole game. It's very similar to throwing a football. With kids playing multiple sports, you know baseball, basketball, these types of things, mechanically you can fall out of place a little bit," said Benson.
What started as a way to help his son become a quality QB, has now become a part of dozens of young Treasure Valley athlete's success.
"I'm passionate about helping people, and I felt right away from the first session--I knew that this is what I wanted to do and try to grow 'cause I saw the success that the kids were having from the off-season work to the season, ya know. So I just wanted to keep growing that," said Benson.
"They come with a really really great foundation. We might be able to give them a few bells and whistles, but they're kind of the ones who make it pop. I'm just happy to be along for the ride basically. To be able to work with the kids and hang out with them and see where they get to go," said Kron.
Even though the kids made it look easy, I certainly made it look awkward during my one-day training session. Regardless, I accepted my feedback from the Kaizen coaches.
"You can see when a guy or girl can move and when they can't. You can definitely move. I could tell right away that you're an old athlete. Now, not being on a football field for 18 years, that became apparent pretty quick too," laughed Kron.
"Ehhhhhhh...defense is good. You'd be good for defense." laughed Benson also.
For more information and to find out how to enroll, head to kaizenqb.com.