3 KEY QUARTERBACK DRILLS TO DO WHILE WARMING UP
The quarterback is arguably one of, if not the most critical position in football. A successful quarterback leads, dictates, and sets the tone of the game. With superior vision comes the ability to navigate through the defensive line, see all receivers, and furthermore, connect with receivers by completing plays. The quarterback has the most significant impact on a team’s success and is likely to determine how far a team will go.
Great quarterbacks have a sixth sense connection with receivers; they can scan the entire field, find the most open receiver, and place the ball exactly where it needs to be. However, a quarterback’s overall strength and throwing mechanics will make or break his game. The following 3 warm-up drills can drastically improve a passer’s mechanics and enhance his ability to connect with receivers.
1. Working On Load Sequence
How a quarterback ‘loads up’ will greatly determine a passer’s success in completing plays. The importance of loading up is often left unnoticed. Nevertheless, by perfecting footwork and stance before the release of the ball, quarterbacks can significantly improve their balance and maintain proper alignment of the body with the target, which in turn will allow them to generate more power in their throw, and more importantly, improve the accuracy of the pass.
Consider the following when working on load sequence:
- Start with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, and feet perpendicular to the target
- As you bring the ball backward and are preparing to throw, simultaneously step towards the target with your lead foot
- By keeping the back knee slightly bent and taking short steps with the lead foot, you will improve your ability to shift your weight to your front foot, thus generating more power
2. Getting Your Elbow Up & Through
When a football is released, the projectile motion of the ball relies heavily on the positioning of the passer's elbow with his shoulder. A quarterback’s ability to effectively get his elbow up and above the shoulder, will have a significant impact on his overall throw release. During warm-ups, it is crucial for quarterbacks to work on getting the elbow up and through, especially those that struggle to drive their hand up or tend to drop their elbow underneath.
Once you are in your load position…
- Focus on driving your hand up while simultaneously keeping your elbow up
- Quarterbacks can more easily maintain high elbow position by keeping the ball close to the head
- With the elbow high and ball close to the head, quarterbacks can improve their ability to get the elbow ahead of the shoulder, which will improve power and accuracy
3. Working On The Finish
A quarterback’s throwing performance is dictated by two critical points: the start and the finish. The ability to keep the elbow high, maintain upright wrist position, and keep the ball in line with the target upon release will enhance the passer’s finish or follow through.
All quarterbacks can benefit from the following while warming up:
- Start with your feet in line with the target
- Keep the elbow up and high, slightly above the shoulder
- With the ball pointed towards the target, focus on maintaining upright position of your wrist
- While releasing the ball, focus on flicking the wrist and preventing the throwing arm from driving too far towards the opposite hip
OPTIONAL DRILL: WALL DRILL
Quarterbacks that find difficulty getting the elbow up and over the shoulder and tend to throw to the side will benefit from the wall drill.
- Stand about arm’s length distance from a wall with your body facing it
- Work on getting the elbow up and over the shoulder without making contact with the wall
- Focus on getting full rotation in the hips as you throw the ball