A Guide to Success on and off the Field

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1 A Guide to Success on and off the Field Preparation means you ll never enter the battle alone John Tomlinson

2 To become a successful Quarterback (QB) it is important to first understand what it takes to be a leader. In order to understand the qualities of a leader its important to understand what leadership means. Leadership is the capacity to lead or the act or instance of leading. Leadership Qualities A leader knows how to lead his or herself. A leader doesn t lead for the title of being a leader. A leader has integrity, purpose, and vision for his or herself. A leader has thick and durable skin for criticism. A leader knows how to follow first. A leader understands that leading is a process and you never arrive but your continually arriving. A leader understands he or she always has a responsibility to others and him or herself. 2

3 1. Be a leader: Leaders are players who make good decisions on and off the field. They motivate their fellow teammates to give their all. They are passionate. 2. Keep Your Throwing Elbow Up: One of the most common habits of untrained quarterbacks is to drop the elbow of the throwing arm. Work to keep the elbow above the shoulder through the release. 3. Practice Accuracy: Accuracy should be your number one goal with every throw. Regardless of whether you re warming up or throwing the long ball, always strive for a precise target. 4. Quick Feet: Jumping rope, carioca, quick footwork and drills which improve foot speed are essential for quarterbacks. Footwork is the foundation of a solid drop. 5. Strengthen the Core: The secret to a strong ball is not only a strong arm, but core strength. Activities which enhance the strength of the abs, oblique, hips and gluts will help put velocity on your ball. QB s can improve these muscles by combining medicine or weighted balls with throws, rotations, and ab work. 3

4 6. Good Attitude: Respect your coaches and fellow teammates. While privately you may not agree with your coaches approach, never openly challenge his technique. Remain positive. Use body language that says you re a winner, alert, and open to constructive criticism. 7. Head Steady/Eyes Focused: While you certainly don t want to broadcast to your defender where you plan to throw, once you ve located your man, zero in on your target. Keep the head steady, eyes focused and make the throw. 8. Explode away from Center or Gun: On all drops, explode away from the center or gun snap with speed, confidence, and purpose. 9. Improve your grip: Besides an INT, the worst thing a QB can do is fumble the ball. QB s with sticky hands practice releasing, gripping and grabbing the ball. 4

5 1. Regardless of the circumstance, accept the challenge. 2. Lead by example. 3. Stay positive, be authentic! 4. There s always a critic, live with it! 5. Ride what motivates you! 6. Be first to practice, last to leave! 7. Control the huddle. 5

6 First things first Order Get your priorities in order Cut out dead weight, negativity, and drama Unify with Christ Stick with it, no matter how tough it may get Giftedness will get you there but character will keep you there! Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Are you determined enough to throw off the things that have jacked you up? Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. The biggest distraction of being Great is settling for being Good enough! 6

7 QB, before leaving the locker room, the huddle, or when at home, remember: 1. It s not about you, your success will never be defined by the scoreboard. 2. Your position is about moving the chains not about just wins & losses. Its about commitment. 3. Be a man! You can t fake it. Do what a man does. 4. Don t love something that s going to go away, love the people you are going through this journey with. 5. You cannot stay the same. 6. It s not always going to be fun. 7. The quality of your life will be measured by your passion for others. Have a legacy bigger than your talent! 7

8 From head to toe, here is the acronym that best describes our Quarterback. Focused Eyes Accountability Toughness Unfazed Resolute Energized Student 8

9 Why fundamentals? We can do nothing without fundamentals as an every down, play to play QB. We will focus on this aspect more than any other component because this is the area where we will hang our hat when all else breaks down. What s important? When evaluating the fundamental aspects for a QB, I look at 5 major components: 1. Grip (Pre-pass) 2. Wrist (Pre-pass) 3. Elbow 4. Follow-thru 5. Lower Body 9

10 Your grip on the ball will vary according to your hand size but every finger has a purpose and a positioning on the ball. Finger side with laces on Pre-Pass: Pinky behind laces by sliding in between one digit of laces. Ring finger along laces. Middle finger off laces towards back of ball or against laces if you have big hands. Index finger needs to be towards back of ball with first knuckle on index finger along stitching that aligns with laces. Ensures nice even bend off index finger to create nice tight spiral. Grip Note: make sure all four fingers are in complete contact with the ball. Thumb side: Location of thumb is vital. Pocket is formed by location of thumb during grip. If you slide thumb down you create nice palm pocket. If you slide thumb up you lose pocket. Thumb should be aligned with middle finger. Thumb Note: When you hold ball, nose should be in slightly upward position. 10

11 The positioning of your wrist on pre-pass is a vital component to a consistent throw. A curled wrist position weakens the finger grip and drops the nose of the ball. It also causes slashing. What gives the strength and power to fingertips is the location of the wrist. That location is called the wrinkle in the wrist because essentially that s what we want to create, a wrinkle in the wrist on pre-pass. The following points are cause to have a cocked wrist on pre-pass. A cocked wrist position strengthens the finger grip. A cocked wrist position lengthens the wrist snap and increases the spin. A cocked wrist reduces ball movement and loads the ball for strong release out to the target. A cocked wrist brings the nose of the ball up to the proper release point. Wrist Note: Make sure the front of the ball stays lower than the back of the ball when cocking wrist on pre-pass as well as ensuring the ball is positioned on the back shoulder. The wrist is the key ingredient that promotes accuracy on the throw. After the elbow extends, the wrist snaps and provides direction to the throw. 11

12 The positioning of your elbow during the throw is another vital component ensuring that the ball is released on a vertical flight as opposed to a horizontal flight. A vertical release helps the ball go out on a straight line and provides for a consistent throw. With all of this said, it is vital that our lead elbow evaluates above the shoulder on the throw. The following points are cause to have an elevated lead elbow on the throw. The lead elbow on pre-pass should be off the body slightly below the shoulder so you can elevate to the lead position. This helps the wrist create greater torque. The lead elbow must be above the shoulder line to lead the throw and ball must be off body to create better torque of elbow. The lead elbow should lead the throw. Elbow Note: Lead elbow should break imaginary pane of glass after elevation of elbow and upon coming down. Wrist will curl if elbow isn t in lead position. The nonthrowing elbow will also break pane of glass as well on torque of trunk on release of throw. 12

13 A consistent throw also has its roots in the follow-thru. The positioning of the Quarterbacks throwing hand after the pass is as important as pre-pass. The finish point of the throwing hand should be outside lead leg below waist. Some say to pick a dollar out of your left pocket if you re a right handed passer. I say emphasize finishing just slightly outside of lead leg. This allows your hand to finish in the same place This gives us consistency on follow-thru and a defined place to finish that won t lead to slashing. 13

14 As important as it is to have a consistent grip, a cocked wrist, and an elevated elbow, it is essential to let the thoroughbred legs you were gifted with power your throw. The following components are essential to every QB: Balls of feet: Unless your on the sideline talking to your coach, from the time you re under center to the snap of the ball to the time it leaves your hand, you must stay on the balls of your feet. Slight bend in knees: Slight bend in knees helps QB transition weight from foot to foot and stimulate explosion from lower body on throw. The old saying of being tall in pocket applies to the waist up. Standing tall simply means your eyes need to be downfield. Transitioning weight: When a QB throws and drops on the balls of his feet and he maintains a slight bend in his knees, he creates the ability to transfer weight from his final step in his drop to his lead foot (front foot) that points to the target area. Much like a speed skater transitions back and forth, a QB is looking to do the same. Balance: Maintaining balance as a QB is a by product of the first 3 bullet items. When you can stay on the balls of your feet, maintain a bend in your knees, and transition your weight, you should have the ability to maintain balance in your throw. A balanced QB will eliminate the tendency to throw off his heel on his plant foot. 14

15 The Clock for a QB is the time he takes to dissect the play and execute it to success. The Clock is the mental ingredient that takes a QB to the next level because of the following skills: The offense: Understanding the offense thoroughly and the philosophy of it allows the QB to process information more efficiently on the field. The play: Understanding the play thoroughly and everyone s assignment allows the QB s Clock to process faster and efficiently on the field. The down & distance: Understanding the down & distance through the duration of the game keeps the QB aware of all the options and the chains moving. The defense: Understanding the opponent is another vital ingredient for the maturation of a QB. The audible: Understanding the options an offense has comes from a QB s study of the defense and thoroughly knowing his audible system. The great anticipator: Understanding from snap to throw how much time a QB really has as well as identify where to go with the ball is known as his anticipation skills. Note: A QB s Clock is critical to his development and a key ingredient to defining his success. A QB with a great Clock never holds the ball too long. 15

16 End of Part I 16

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