Technique Tuesday – Quarterback Throwing Mechanics

September 1st, 2015

Developing a quarterback’s throwing motion is like a basketball player shooting a free throw — tireless hours practicing reptition is key. If your throwing mechanics are sound, there will be consistent results in your passes.


  • Comfortably ‘carriage’ the football close to your chest, with elbows relaxed and pointed toward the ground. Quiet upper body, athletic lower body.
  • Keep your front shoulder closed. The ball will go to where it points. The angle of the shoulder also changes the throw — if you tilt your front shoulder upwards, your ball will be released with an upward trajectory.
  • Take a short stride with your opposite foot (left foot if you’re a righty) just off the target line (the imaginary line extending from your front shoulder to your intended target), pointing your pinky toe at the exact location you want the ball to go.  Your hips should rotate clear through, directing your entire torso at your target.
  • Trigger a compact, short circle from the carriage to a loading position. Push the ball up-and-back behind your head, not down-and-around in a looping motion– this shortens arm action and quickens your release.
  • Keep your throwing elbow at least level with your shoulder to reduce stress on shoulder joint muscles.
  • With the ball pushed up and back, your arm should form close to a 90-degree angle. Point the nose of the ball away from the target.
  • To maintain a controlled release, keep your bicep as close to your ear as you can.
  • Your elbow must ‘lead’ the throw, making your arm resemble a ‘C’ as it comes through. Do not ‘push’ your arm through the release, forming a ‘U’ instead.
  • Pronate your arm as you throw. This happens naturally if you start and finish correctly, causing your wrist to snap at the end of the release. The wrist isn’t deliberately snapped; the flick of your wrist is more of a byproduct of the arm’s rotation through the entire motion. This pronation of the arm generates the spiral as the ball is launched from the fingertips.
  • Upon full release and follow-through, the palm of your throwing hand will face down and to your right.


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