By QB Coach Ron Raymond
March 15, 2012
Quarterbacks, who are serious about getting to the next level, need to practice and improve on their techniques. From a coaching point of view, you will be surprised how it’s always the same common mistakes which keep reoccurring during workouts and you really have to work on a certain technique for at least 30 minutes, because it has to be muscle memory at the end of the lesson. Once you show a mechanic or method, rep it over and over, until the player is comfortable with the new technique.
In fact, if you’re a high school or community football coach, it’s key you have your young quarterbacks attend some type of camps or clinics in the off season, so they can get the basic fundamentals of knowing their stance, 1-3-5 Step drop and the proper way to hold and throw a football.
In fact, during our Capital QB’s sessions the last 2 months, the main common mistakes I’ve picked up and corrected are the following;
1. Over striding: Players will have a tendency to over stride during their drop back and this creates stumbling and being unbalanced at the end of their drop. Stay on the balls of your feet and bend those knees!
2. Rising Elbows (Chicken Wings): It’s key for Quarterbacks to keep their elbows in and not to over extend them, because it creates the wrist to open up and the passing hand to show palms down, which separates the proper use of the “Push and Pull” technique.
3. Lack of Follow-through on Throws: Quarterbacks are not transferring their weight from A to Z on their throws, because they are putting too much weight on the back foot. In fact, by not shifting the weight forward on their release, quarterbacks have their non-throwing shoulder tipped up too high and this doesn’t allow the hips to open to their target, which causes the ball to sail over their receivers.
4. Don’t Over-Exaggerate: Every thing starts with the stance and it finishes with the follow through. Therefore, don’t over exaggerate any of the mechanics in between the motions. I can write an entire article on this subject alone, but to keep it in a “Coles Note” version, I’m talking about; striding, arm extension and bringing the back foot over on your follow throw, which I call dotting the i. If I can sum it up in a few words; stay athletic and agile in your movements.
5. Two Hands on the Ball: I guess it wouldn’t be a Quarterback article if I didn’t mention Peyton Manning, but he’s the master of proper fundamentals. When you look at Peyton in the pocket and he’s got the happy feet going, reading his coverage, look at the way he holds the football with two hands and uses the “push and pull” technique.
6. Point, Push and Throw: Have your Quarterbacks use this 3 step progression in practice when developing their throwing technique. Open hand throw (no football), then use two tennis balls one in each hand, so they can relate the importance of each hand of the “Push and Pull” technique. Finally, use a football. From the SET position, have them on the balls of their feet, bend their knees , hitch and point the front foot to their target, while pushing off the back foot, this will open their hips and they should finish with the follow-throw. They should feel the elastic whip technique in this motion, like they are a sling shot and they just knocked down goliath!
7. Stay Tall and Square: It’s key your Quarterbacks get tall and square after their first step. The first step is normally the push off step to gain depth and velocity out of the pocket. The sooner your Quarterback can get the football to the set position, the sooner they will get taller and square. Too many young QB stay crumpled up, head down or have the lanky shoulders leaning forward. That’s why, the “Push and Pull” technique will force your Quarterback to get tall and square, so they can find their receivers quicker.
Every football position has special techniques, you don’t have to be the strongest or fastest player at your position, but the player who masters their techniques the best, will gain success quicker. Nowadays, training is the most important aspect in the off season and it’s vital for players to get stronger and be agile, because you have to be athletic to succeed at the next level. One of the most successful high school football coaches in the United States is Bob Ladouceur of De La Salle High School in California and he says “The most important person in your program is your strength-and conditioning coach.” Therefore, combined strength and conditioning with proper fundamentals, and your dreams can come true.