As a community, high school, or provincial quarterback, you’ve likely heard the saying, “It’s not about the play, but about making the right read.” This statement emphasizes the importance of developing a keen sense of awareness on the field and making smart decisions under pressure. Whether it’s executing a passing play or audibling out of a running play, your ability to read the defense and adjust accordingly is crucial to your team’s success. In this article, we will discuss the importance of reading the field and share tips on how to improve your decision-making skills as a quarterback.
Develop a deep understanding of your playbook
Your playbook is your primary resource for understanding the various plays and formations your team will use during a game. Spend time studying and memorizing each play to develop an instinctive understanding of your options in any given situation. This will allow you to make quick and accurate decisions on the field, increasing the likelihood of successful plays.
Know your teammates’ strengths and weaknesses
Developing a strong rapport with your teammates is essential for effective communication and trust on the field. Understand the specific strengths and weaknesses of each player, such as their speed, route-running abilities, and hands. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions on which players to target in different situations.
Study film of opposing defenses
A significant aspect of reading the field is understanding how opposing defenses are likely to react to your plays. By studying film of past games, you can identify patterns and tendencies in the opposing team’s defensive schemes. This information can help you anticipate their moves and make more informed decisions during the game.
Practice reading defenses in real-time
Incorporate drills into your practice routine that require you to read defenses and make decisions on the fly. For example, set up a 7-on-7 scrimmage (Pass Skeleton) where you must quickly identify the coverage and make an accurate throw. These drills will help you develop the mental processing speed necessary to make split-second decisions during a game.
Learn to trust your instincts
While it’s essential to study and prepare for each game, there will be moments when your instincts must take over. Trust your gut when making decisions, especially when the play unfolds differently than anticipated. With experience, your instincts will become increasingly reliable, allowing you to make better reads under pressure.
Master the art of the audible
An audible is a change in the play called at the line of scrimmage. As the quarterback, you have the authority to change the play based on what you see from the defense. Becoming proficient in calling audibles requires a deep understanding of your playbook, as well as the ability to quickly assess the defensive alignment and predict their movements. Practice calling audibles during team practices to improve your decision-making and communication with your teammates.
Mastering the art of reading the field as a young quarterback going through a development stage, is a vital skill that separates good players from great ones. By focusing on understanding your playbook, knowing your teammates’ strengths and weaknesses, studying opposing defenses, practicing reading defenses in real-time, trusting your instincts, and perfecting the audible, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an elite quarterback.
Remember, success on the field is not just about executing a play; it’s about making the right read and adapting to the situation at hand.
About Coach Ron Raymond
In June 2011, 8-time champion Head Coach Ron Raymond of Ottawa, Ontario founded Capital QB’s. With over 30 years of experience playing and coaching the Quarterback position in the Ottawa area, Coach Raymond has been instrumental in developing numerous amateur and university quarterbacks and players since the inception of the school in 2011.
- 8-Time Regular Season and Playoff Championships Wins
- 4-Time City & Provincial Coach of the Year
- International QB Coach Team Canada 2012
- Ottawa Gee Gees QB & Receiver Coach
- Ontario Prospect Challenge (OPC) GM 2015-2017