Always work on a specific skill—from basic to advanced skills, depending on QB’s level, progress, and ability.  What you see they need to work on should be their focus.

-Some days you may see a basic skill faltering.  Use a drill to work whole body technique, but tell the QB

            to focus only on that fundamental.

-Make sure they maintain proper technique through drills

-Only isolate a few key points at a time—1 to 2 is best.  And make sure the QB knows what he’s working


-Never do a drill just to do it—isolate!  Know what you’re coaching and why and relay that to the QB.

*If you see your QB dropping the ball low, don’t just tell him and expect him to fix it.  Do the Zigzag drill with the step-over bags, emphasizing posture and ball position.  If the ball’s dropping below the bellybutton, his posture is probably sagging.  This will work the whole body, including footwork, but you can isolate this problem.

-If a QB is doing something wrong, it’s your job to fix it.  Drills will either compound problems or improve them.  Be diligent.  Telling a QB he’s off balance does nothing.  When you get a chance, do a drill that works on balance.

-Use throwing only when you need to in drills.  Let the drills be about everything but throwing, unless it’s specifically designed for it.  If you feel he is not going to throw enough in a particular practice, incorporate a throw at the end of the drill.

-Use a drop with drills as much as possible.  Make sure it’s appropriate to the drill though: a drill for moving out of the pocket or looking from one side of the field to the other should be done with a 5 step drop, not a 3.  In quick game, a QB never scans the whole field, and never thinks run—they either throw to a receiver or throw it away.

    There are many coaches out there who know quarterback play and can teach technique.  What separates me as a coach is the unique knowledge and countless hours I have spent with the best minds in quarterback fundamentals.  There is a wealth of misinformation out there for QBs to absorb.  Coaches have learned these improper fundamentals and continue to teach them to their players.  I am constantly updating and evolving my teaching as the position itself evolves.  There are a few key aspects of throwing technique, body position, and body movement that are constantly overlooked, uncoached, or coached incorrectly.  These things are embedded below, within my outline of QB fundamentals.  But to truly master these key components, a QB needs the keen eye of a knowledgeable and skilled fundamentals teacher.


    I coach the quarterback from the toes up.   All of the skills taught, the techniques executed, and the quarterback drills performed will help to improve release.  No matter how much you tell a QB where his arm should finish, and no matter how much work you put into strengthening the shoulder and arm, if there are problems with the rest of the body, you will never see the proper results.  Basically, fix the feet and the arm will improve; fix posture and the arm will improve; fix the hips and the arm will improve.  It’s all physics.  Once the QB has improved his footwork, then we begin work on the arm motion.

    Lastly, I refer to the things you need to coach as “problems” to be solved.  That’s because somewhere along the way, someone has taught the quarterback skills that are incorrect, or the quarterback has been throwing a football for a while and has developed bad habits that are ingrained.  It’s quite rare to get a kid who is free of existing flaws.  It is your job to teach the right way or at least not teach the wrong way.  You may not be an expert QB coach, but you can master the knowledge of the basics.  I am not sure what qualifies one as an expert, but I believe myself to be one.  With that, I also have a responsibility to always be on the look-out for new knowledge and the latest techniques.  Just because something’s old doesn’t mean it’s outdated.  And just because a technique or drill or theory is new, doesn’t mean it’s good or valid.  I choose my sources wisely.  I use drills that work with an individual QB and do my best to keep them simple.  But I never have a QB perform a drill without them first understanding what they are working on.  A foot agility drill is being used to make the player better.  But in order to get the most out of the drill, a specific fundamental or coaching point must be isolated.  For instance, if you tell a QB to practice his 3-step drop and he does ten without specifics isolated, he will continue to further ingrain any problems.  So before he starts, ask: “What are you working on?”  The answer should not be, “My 3-step drop.”  It should be something like, “Lengthening my first step,” or “Landing to my target.”  Build from the ground up.

    Stance:  Under center, in shotgun, in the throwing stance and ready to throw the ball, the feet are always the same.  Just wider than shoulder width, slightly staggered, with the left foot pigeon toed.  This creates a powerful stance from which to push off from center.

    The Feet:  Start with the feet just wider than shoulder width apart.  This is contrary to what many high school coaches teach, but it is the correct and the best way.  Keeping the right foot square, turn the left heel out about 2 1/2 inches to 3 inches so that the foot is in a pigeon-toed position.  This is a “power position,” crucial for pushing quickly from center.

    Under Center:  Bend at the hips first, then only a few inches at the knees.  Reach forward under the center with the arms straight but just short of the elbows locking.  Again, posture is the key.  Keep the back straight in order for the eyes to see the whole field.

    Shotgun:  The stance should be the same as under center, except that the QB does not have to reach as far nor bend as much.  It is a naturally more comfortable stance, so be sure not to straighten upright or relax. always keep a slight, athletic knee bend.

    Throwing stance:  This should mirror the stance under center and in shotgun.  The only difference again, is that the quarterback will be slightly more upright.  But the knee bend will still be the same as the other stances, never letting the knees straighten upright or relax.  The term to remember here is to sink.  This means: keep good posture, sink the butt vertically to the heels, which bends the knees, and execute the throwing motion with the knees bent all the way through, including after the ball is released.

    The Throwing Motion:  Throwing the football is not about the arm!  The arm is only an extension of the chain of events that starts in the toes.  Most coaches of young QB’s try to fix the player’s release and elbow position when they should start at the toes and at posture.  Only when these aspects have been improved can the arm follow in line correctly.  It is a rapid-fire chain of events that should be understood as such, but should be executed almost simultaneously.  Below, each “event” will be illustrated in the order in which they must be taught.  While it is necessary to coach the body of the QB as a whole machine, keep in mind that the feet don’t need to be mastered before working on other parts.  But start from the toes up, and the entire body will naturally fall in line.  As you improve from the toes up, step-by-step, each part of the motion will become easier to coach.  If done right and practiced intensively, you will see a miraculous change in the overall form and function of a QB.

Posture:  This is the first thing to coach and model for the QB.  Yes, it is a full-body skill, or a total framework from which to start.  But it is crucial for the QB to understand that without proper posture, the skills learned will not be maintained. 

Coaching Points:

Proper stance (as has been previously explained)

Knees slightly bent

Weight balanced in the center of the feet

Chest out, shoulders pulled back

Ball two inches from chest, pulled slightly to back shoulder

Relaxed elbows, letting them fall naturally

Shoulders level before, during, and after throw

Front shoulder slightly open (about two inches, to see the field)

Chin on front shoulder

Feet:  Executing the proper movement with the feet is the most important part of the motion itself.  It starts with posture and the proper stance, of course.  A QB is always talked about in terms of his arm.  But don’t make this mistake in thinking, especially if you are a QB coach or a QB.   This is the throw.  Or as I once heard said, “A quarterback throws the ball with his feet, not with his arm.” 

It’s like a car: the car ultimately moves because the wheels move and the tires are touching the ground.  But the engine is the power, the heart of the machine.  Great tires do nothing for a car that’s a lemon.

So start with the feet and coach them, keep them active, and get them to feel comfortable.  If this is done right, all else will improve immediately. 

Coaching Points:

Proper stance: shoulder width apart, or 1 to 2 inches narrower.

Weight:  inside of feet, 70% on back foot, 30% on front foot.

Step:  though this should not be a long stride, you can’t just put the foot down quickly.  Push through to target and land balanced.

Step over the line: the QB should, whenever possible, practice skills while standing on a line.  It should run perpendicular to the feet, running through the middle of them, to the target.  Start the motion by stepping forward, pointing the toe to the target, landing the foot just to the left of the line.  This will let the hips open.  When the front foot comes up, the throwing arm must come up simultaneously.

The energy that throws the ball will be stored in the back leg and begins to be released as the hips open.

The hips release by turning to face the torso to the target.  If this doesn’t occur, power is being left behind.  The hips are the best indicator of the QB’s efficiency.

With the front foot planted flat, the hip being released, and the ball cocked, the energy for the throw should still be stored in the back leg.  If the weight of the QB is released into the front foot too soon, power is lost, and the ball will be thrown with all power coming from the arm and shoulder.

Keep the weight/power stored in the back leg and drive forward as the hip opens.

The core muscles will pull the upper body as the energy is released from the legs and transferred forward.

The arm follows as all the weight/power is transferred forward. 

Finish with the front knee bent and the weight on that leg.  Chest facing the target, as well as the rest of the body.


Drill List:

Step-Over Bags:              1.      Zigzag

                                      2.      Zigzag Tap

                                      3.      Bag Step-Over

                                      4.      Drop Over Bags

Dot Drills:             1.       Dot Circle

                                      2.       Drop, run, and throw

                                      3.       Three point drill


Drop Skills:                   1.        First step

                                      2.       Third step

                                      3.       Long drops: for speed and distance

                                      4.       QB Karaoke Drop

                                      5.       Freeze and Balance

                                      6.       Drop and scramble

                                      7.       Drop over Bags

Throwing on Run:       1.      In Place Throw

                                      2.      Downhill 2 Man  

                                      3.      Right Left 2 Man

Touch:                   1.       Off the Back Foot (Pull the Chain)

                                      2.      Bucket Drill

                                      3.      5 yard Incremental (Stationary)

Option:                   1.       Jump Over Bag (for proper steps out of center)

                                      2.      Two Ball Drill

                                      3.      2 Man Option Pitch

Footwork:             1.       All Step-Over Bag Drills

                                      2.      1 Step Shuffle

                                      3.      321-123

                                      4.      Foot fire on line

                                      5.      Freeze and Balance

Invest in the right equipment:  Here’s a list in order of importance

  1. White spray paint:  use part of your budget to buy at least a case of field lining spray paint.  All position coaches can use it.  But it’s crucial for effective coaching.  And be creative with it.  Use it as much as possible.

  2. Step-over bags:  the flat bags linemen and running backs usually use.  They are the best and most versatile.  If you don’t have them, use the spray paint to replace them.  But eventually, you need to buy them. 

  3. Cones:  preferably the flat, disc-shaped kind.

Good footballs that your QB is comfortable throwing. 

  1. Bucket:  something for the receivers to place the balls in when running routes.  This saves time and you will get more reps out of them.

  2. Hand shield

Quarterback Drill List

Coaching the Quarterback