Young boys in pads and helmets dream of going pro one day. The reality of throwing touchdowns as a PeeWee football player transitioning into a college quarterback is slim. The competition is fierce as hundreds of high school hopefuls gun for one position. If they do land one of the coveted positions, only 1.7% of college players end up suiting up in the NFL. This is not to discourage you whatsoever, we're simply saying that to play at the top level you MUST #TrainLikeAPro. One way to beat competition is training with a high end academy or specialized quarterback coach. Quarterback coaches continue to rise in popularity as players like Jameis Winston and Ben Roethlisberger used them to improve their mental and physical game. We are so lucky over at Bownet that we always get to interview top talent in the various industries that we work with and provide training tools for. Today we meet with QB coach, Ken Mastrole, who is responsible for the success of hundreds of high school and college quarterbacks including NFL QB's, Teddy Bridgewater and E.J. Manuel. We asked him 6 questions that left us fiending to go outside and throw the pigskin around!
Ken, we're so excited to have you with us. Tell us a little bit about your story before playing quarterback in college. How did you develop a passion for the QB position?
I was in 8th grade at a family friends house. Their two kids a Junior linebacker and Senior wide receiver at the high school I would eventually attend (Cardinal Gibbons High School) were all outside throwing a football around. The head coach was over and saw me throw. He made the comment I had a strong arm and would be the quarterback for the school in a few years. I grew up playing baseball and tennis but my dad played QB at a college prep school and his stories of football always intrigued me about the position. I grew up idolizing Dan Marino for the Dolphins and Phil Simms of the Giants but never played until high school. After the first year of high school I was obsessed with the position and competition. When I won the starting job my Junior year I had one goal in mind. Play on Saturday’s.
You ended up playing quarterback at Maryland. Many players reading this article dream about playing college ball. What is it like to play college football? Can you tell us 1 thing that you expected from college football that did not turn out to be the case at all. And also one thing that you were expecting that did turn out to be just like that.
It was an incredible opportunity. Before all the stars and recruiting services I was considered one of the top QB’s in the country. Maryland threw the football 40 plus times a game and while on my visit I learned about the past greats that played and went on to the NFL at the QB position. Playing in front of 80-100 thousand fans on Saturday’s and the ACC competition is what I missed the most. One thing I expected from college football that did not turn out to be the case at all is I thought our coaching staff would never change. I learned the hard way when the staff was let go and I experienced playing in 4 different offenses in 5 years. The one thing I was expecting that did turn out to be is the talent level of all players. Playing in Florida I played against some of the best in in the country. College, you had just as much speed with more complex defensive coverages and schemes.
After college you went on to play football in Europe and eventually in the Arena Football League. Tell us your fondest memory from the AFL.
Yes, I was signed by the Chicago Bears who allocated me to NFL Europe. After the NFL stint, I played a few years in the arena league and went on to win an Arena Cup. Winning a Championship was one of the greatest memories. Winning a championship in any sport is difficult enough.
Congratulations on that championship! How long after your professional career did you decide to start the Mastrole Passing Academy? And what was the catalyst that made you want to start the academy?
When I decided to stop playing I took a job as an offensive coordinator in the arena league. After 3 years of coaching I decided to walk away from football. A former teammate and friend Brandon Kornblue, who is recognized as one of the best kicking instructors in the country knew I loved the game of football and enjoyed helping kids. 2 years after stepping away from the game It started with me driving 30 minutes twice a week to help a freshman high school quarterback for free. Over the next 4 years we worked together as well as many other QB’s. It just so happened that first quarterback, after 4 years together, went on to earn a football scholarship to the Naval Academy. I’m driven to make a difference in people’s lives not only better quarterback’s but leaders on and off the field.
Well that's amazing and something we should all strive to do, to make a difference. Tell us about Mastrole Passing and why it’s a superior academy.
We are based out of S. Florida. We work with Youth, High School, College, and NFL quarterbacks. I have had the opportunity to prepare 14 quarterbacks for the NFL draft in 4 years (Two were 1st Rd. draft picks and all 5 quarterbacks I prepared this past year were drafted). Over 75 quarterbacks who have spent at least 2 years with us since 2009 have gone on to play college football. We are a science based, mechanics, technique, and mental prep program for quarterbacks around the country. Our teachings are derived from 3D motion analysis plus my experience as a former player and coach. This year I am excited to announce we are now powered by Under Armour. I will be coaching in the Under Armour All-America game as well as their nationwide camp series as a lead QB coach. We are superior in our measuring program. We are one of the only quarterback academy’s in the country that provides a comprehensive science based testing program.
Sounds like you have an amazing program. Finally, tell us a little bit about Bownet and how you’ve incorporated our barrier nets and the QB 5 into your training. Would you recommend this product for any school to have in their practices or even to any QB to have at their home?
I met the founder of Bownet during a coaching convention 4 years ago. All the products I had seen in the past were too expensive, long set up times, and difficult to transport. Bownet was best product on the market for what I needed to take from camp to camp and provide a quality training aid for quarterbacks at all levels. Our youth, high school, college, and NFL quarterbacks love working with the nets during training sessions and competitions. With the barrier net, the number targets, QB 5, and fade nets we can simulate, analyze, isolate, and improve every throw or situation a quarterback will experience in a practice or game. Concentration levels and anticipation increase with the number targets. Accuracy and touch can be perfected with any of the Bownet products. The best part is, no matter the outside conditions, these nets hold up in windy conditions and thousands of footballs thrown. Without a doubt. These nets are a must for every quarterback or school. Each net takes me less than 3 minutes to set up and I can take them anywhere at any time. As a former quarterback that played at the highest level my accuracy was perfected by constantly throwing at small targets away from team organized practices. Bownet will give a quarterback the edge.