October 22, 2018
Our son, AJ, has been working with Jason Smith (Just Grinding) on his quarterback training over the past 2 seasons. Last year, AJ was a 7th grader and the starting QB on the middle school varsity team. This was quite the adjustment since AJ had never played tackle football (only flag) and we had just moved to the area. AJ’s offensive coordinator made the introduction to Jason and it proved to be invaluable. Jason didn’t just work on AJ’s footwork, drop backs and ball location, but more importantly it was the attention he gave towards AJ’s mental game, how to fuel his body to recover, what to say in a huddle, how to be a leader, his voice inflection and most importantly, forgetting the last play and moving on to the next that helped the most. His instruction and insight the first few weeks helped AJ not only improve his game and grow his confidence, but it helped AJ adjust to his new home through being an integral part of his team.
AJ and Jason started up again in mid-summer to prepare for the final season of middle school football after baseball season was over. Just like last year, they get together every Sunday for 2 hours. AJ’s arm strength has substantially improved and his QB knowledge has soared this year after the first few sessions. He is throwing further, harder and more accurately every week, making quicker reads on the defense and his timing in the pocket is night and day compared to a year ago. Last year it was about learning, improving and surviving, but this year he is applying what he has learned and thriving.
As we wrap up this season, the team is 5-1 and heading to the championship game tomorrow night. We have no idea what the future holds for AJ, but we do know that the lessons he learned with Jason these past 2 years is transferable to not just another sport, but in life. Their connection is so much more than a QB and the quarterback coach. Jason asks open-ended questions and makes AJ think through the throw, not just physically make the throw. Jason has him laughing one second, but focused the next, with every critique there is a positive message, and after every session, AJ is better than he was before he started it.
We are quite confident that regardless of his athletic future, AJ and Jason will have an ongoing relationship for years to come. We cannot thank Jason enough for the invaluable lessons AJ has learned from him. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
Jeff and Kari Sirianni