By Quarterback Coach Ron Raymond
The most common mistake I see in young quarterbacks, they tend to throw a football, like they would a baseball. For some reason, they seem to think both throwing motions are the same.
The older the quarterbacks, the harder they are to adjust to a new delivery. As much as you show and teach them on how to throw a football, they always tend to revert to their old bad habits. When you throw a baseball, you tend to place most of the pressure on your index and middle finger. However, when you throw a football, all 5 fingers share the same pressure points, but the index finger is the last to touch the ball.
Furthermore, when you’re throwing a football, it’s important to keep both hands on the ball when you’re at the set position; as this will keep your core body intact, while its critical players get the elbow above the shoulder on the wind up and come forward in a slashing motion to your target.
Couple of coaching points:
1.) When quarterbacks have their throwing arm behind their head, they must point the tip of the football the opposite direction of their target.
2.) Make sure the ball is not too close to their head, because that will force the quarterback to drop their elbow during the forward motion, which will cause a side arm throw.
3.) Lastly, when throwing in practice, have the quarterback use a full extension on the follow throw and hold it for a 2 count.
One of the biggest problems with throwing a football in the off season, quarterbacks don’t wear shoulder pads and it is a completely different throwing motion.
Although it shouldn’t be, but this is where the baseball mentality will come into play. Once you have shoulder pads on, you have no choice but to extend your arms and come across your body on the follow throw.
It’s hard to explain in an article, but there’s a feeling you get when you throw a perfect tight spiral, as the ball comes out “clean” from your hand with a “snap factor” from your wrist.
Ideally, if you’re going to throw in the off season, try to throw wearing shoulder pads at times, as this will allow you not to pick up bad habits.
Here are a couple of throwing drills you can use during the off season or in practice: (Dart Throws, Sit and Throw and Statue of Liberty)
Dart Throw: Keep both feet parallel at shoulder width; hold the football with your shoulder above your head and let the football roll of your fingers, as though you were throwing darts.
Sit and Throw: One of the best drills that resemble a true throwing motion. Sit with a partner 5 to 7 yards apart, while sitting on the ground, spread your legs with a slight bend in the knees. Hold the football with both hands in front of your chin, then twist and throw. Make sure you get the elbow above the shoulder and follow through.
Statue of Liberty: Another great drill that works on getting quarterbacks to fully extend their arm during their delivery. If you’re on a field or in a gym, stand with your toes on a line; hold the football above your head with your elbow slightly above your shoulder like the Statue of Liberty. Make sure the point of the ball is pointed in the opposite direction of your target. Take a hitch step, then open your hips and follow through on your throw.
Like the old saying goes; “practice makes perfect” and throwing a football takes hours of practice. The main coaching points I seem to emphasize during clinics and QB camps keep your elbow above your shoulder and point the end of the football at the back of your end zone. Players have a bad habit of dipping their elbow, which seems to be the main cause of their success.
Hope to see you at one of our clinics in the very near future.