Throwing fundamentals are critical to a successful quarterback and thus a successful offense.
These fundamentals must be stressed until throwing a football (an object that was not originally designed to be thrown) is completely natural. Quarterbacks must play controlled when surrounded by chaos, so ingraining these movements is of the utmost importance to quarterback play. The fundamentals must hold solid throughout game situations.
Everything starts with a quarterback’s footwork. A solid throwing base is the foundation of an accurate passer. This starts with a 3-, 5-, or sometimes 7-step drop and must end in a balanced stance ready to throw without a hitch step if the route dictates. Feet should be shoulder width apart and perpendicular to the target so that the quarterback is looking over his non-throwing shoulder at his target. The step to the target determines how the hips and shoulders will open and the angle of trajectory. Over striding leads to over throws and under striding puts the ball in the dirt. A proper step to the target should be 6 inches and slightly to the left of the intended target for a right-handed quarterback.
After the step to the target, the hips should open square as the weight transfers from the back foot to the front foot. This uncoiling action is where most of the throwing power is generated. As the hips are opening, the front hand should come off the ball as the ball is brought behind the ear. The ball should then travel up until the elbow is parallel to the ground. This ensures a high release point. The chest should be square to the target as the ball is brought forward from this position.
Upon releasing the football, the ball should release off the index finger and the throwing hand should end with the thumb pointing down. This is where the tightness of the spiral is created. The harder the snap of the hand, the tighter the ball will spiral in flight. The follow through consists of ending with weight on the front foot, shoulders rotated with the so that the quarterback is now looking over his throwing shoulder at the target, and the throwing hand on the opposite hip, thumb still pointing down.
These beginning fundamentals must be perfected for every throw. As mentioned earlier, playing quarterback is being controlled when surrounded by chaos. Mastering these fundamentals allows the quarterback to eliminate as many variables as possible so he can react to the defense and execute the offense.