There’s an old saying about the game of football, it’s 90% mental and 10% physical. It might seem like a lopsided percentage, but processing information from the break of the huddle to the snap of the ball, what makes a great quarterback. Oh, then, you must wash, rinse, repeat again for the next play!
The quarterback position is one of the greatest positions in all of sports, as the quarterback is the field general who must posses’ certain assets from a mental and physical point of view.
Let’s review some of the top attributes from a mental and physical point of view.
Key Quarterback Mental Attributes
Keep in mind, every quarterback is built differently with their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to thinking quick on their feet. Therefore, recognize and build off your strengths, while improving on your weaknesses.
I can list 50 types of mental qualities of a quarterback, but I’m only going to list a handful for young quarterbacks to work on.
- Retainability: Know your input capacities of learning a playbook. Anybody can learn 40-50 plays of the playbook, but what good is learning so many plays if you cannot “SCAN, ANALYZE & DECIDE” (SAD) the plays vs. the defense in front of you huddle to snap?
- Coachability: Being a good listener and understanding what the offensive coordinator is trying to teach you is very crucial to the success of the offense, as you will be the coordinator on the field during practice and games when the coordinator is not there to guide the offense. Quarterback needs to be like another coach on the field and that means studying your playbook. How many times have you’ve been at practice or a game and a receiver comes up to you and says, “what do I run on this play?” That’s why it”s key to be a good listener, so you can coach up the players who need help at the most critical time, especially during a game.
- Processability: Once the play is called in the huddle, you have 20 seconds to “process” the play vs. the type of defense you are encountering and finding indicators on what the defense gives you, will help you find the weakness in the defense. Think about a computer, would you rather have 8 gigabytes of RAM or 64 gigabytes of RAM to process the “SMASH” passing concept.
Key Quarterback Physical Attributes
Same thing for the physical characteristics of a quarterback, know your abilities and limits, while understanding your key assets are as an athlete. There are many forms of quarterbacks, you have the shorter quarterback who can run a 4.8, while being limited with their arm strength, while the 6’4/230 LBS quarterback has a 60-yard arm, but not very mobile in the pocket.
Here are a few physical traits to work on to be an all-round quarterback.
- Great Footwork: To be a mobile quarterback, you need to understand how to maneuver in the pocket, you will be moving in six-inch steps. Once outside the pocket, then you become an athlete in space. In the off season, I always schedule 20 minutes of fundamental footwork drill, that concentrates on quick feet. It might get boring at times, but slow feet will get you sacked and in trouble.
- Types of Throws: Not every play is a 10 yard OUT or a 50-yard GO route. Work on the different types of throws, either from a static or movement position. Practice the 3 types of level throws, bad body throws, screen throws, quick release throws and many more to the arsenal your coordinator has in the playbook. A good tip is to look at each play and determine what kind of throw is needed for each position and work on those throws.
- Ball Handling: One of most fundamental movements of the quarterback is ball carriage and handling. Not every play is a throw, you will need to have great hands to be able to give proper hand offs or being able to move out of the pocket using your core strength to avoid defenders while always keeping two hands on the ball. Escape drills are great for ball handling while learning to run in an athletic position while securing the ball.
To be honest, I could sit here for 6 hours writing different type of mental and physical attributes on what makes a great quarterback, that is why I’m inviting you to attend some of our work out sessions this winter or our 5-week virtual zoom lessons which will start in January.
If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with Coach Ron Raymond, please reach out by going to our contact us page.