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Best Tips for Quarterbacks

A quarterback has to serve his team both on and off the field. Here are some of the best tips for quarterbacks looking to improve their game.

Photo by Keith Johnston on Unsplash

While every member of a football team is vital to its success, quarterbacks have a uniquely important role in the offensive lineup. They control where the ball goes and are thusly the focus of just about every opposing player. If you are a new quarterback, there are a few things you need to know if you want to serve your team as best as possible. Here are ten important tips for quarterbacks who want to be successful in the game of football.

Learn how to become a leader.

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A quarterback needs to be a leader on the field, as they can have great control over the offensive plays the team makes. The greatest quarterbacks of all time are convincing leaders not just on the field, but any time they are with the team. Some people are born leaders, and these people are predisposed to becoming effective quarterbacks on the field, but that doesn't mean leaders can't be made. If your physical build and talents are capable of the distance and accuracy to be an effective quarterback, then you owe it to yourself and your team to learn how to become a leader, whatever it takes.

Always keep a ball in your hands.

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A quarterback has more contact with the ball itself than any other player on the team. In order to become the best quarterback you can be, you need to become intimately familiar with the ball. The most efficient way to familiarize yourself with a football is too carry one as often as possible—not just during practice. During your personal daily exercise routine, hold the ball while you do sit-ups or during a jog. The more comfortable you can become holding the ball in your hands, the more effective you'll be as a quarterback.

Train your arms.

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It's a no-brainer that working on your arm strength is one of the key methods of improving your effectiveness as a quarterback and the quickest way to improve your throwing distance. The stronger you are, the farther you can throw the ball. Period. Throwing doesn't just mean work on your shoulder muscles, though: you must exercise every muscle in your arm, from your fingers to your scalpula. If your high school or college offers weight classes, it would behoove you to sign up in order to learn how best to work out your throwing muscles. If no such facilities are available or you don't play in a school league, most gyms offer similar programs.

Don't skip leg day (or any other day).

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"Don't skip leg day" is really a jab at weightlifters who neglect their leg muscles in favor of their upper body, resulting in an unbalanced appearance. This trope can also apply to quarterbacks, as it takes more than just one really strong arm to launch that projectile. Notably, rotational core strength can make a big difference in your passing strength, so working out your core is one of my best tips for quarterbacks. While leg strength and speed isn't necessarily quite as crucial for quarterbacks as it is for other positions, it's important to have a balanced and versatile workout.

Train your feet.

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In addition to exercising your legs, core, and arm muscles, you also need to develop your footwork. Strong arm muscles aren't enough to throw the ball down the field, you also need to know the proper technique. The same is true for your legs and feet: muscles aren't enough. In many cases, a quarterback's footwork is just as vital as his throwing. The obvious example is for running plays, but good footwork is also important for escaping pocket pressure and throwing while on the run. To sum it up, one of the most important tips for quarterbacks is to access and train every part of your body—and the best football gear & training equipment for quarterbacks will help out. 

Know the book.

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For better or worse, you can't become a good quarterback just by practicing your tail off. You need to train and exercise in order to keep your body in the game, but you also need to know the ins and outs of every play in the book in order to successfully run an offense. While the coaches have the ultimate say in making playbook decisions, if a strategy has to be suddenly adjusted pre-snap, then the whole team will be looking to you, the QB, for guidance. The better acquainted you can become with the playbook, the better a leader you will be on the field.

Know your team.

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In addition to knowing the playbook and what plays work most reliably in any given situation, a successful quarterback must also understand his teammates. Who is the fastest running back on the team? Who has the most endurance? Which lineman will protect your position the longest? Who sticks to the play most reliably and who is better at improvising? All these questions and hundreds more can mean the difference between a good quarterback and a truly phenomenal leader on the field. If you can develop a deep understanding of your teammates' behavior, you can run much more efficient and effective plays.

Watch the films.

Photo by Keith Johnston on Unsplash

While I'm sure Friday Night Lights and other football movies based on true stories have plenty to offer in the way of emotional inspiration, I'm actually referring to watching film of your team post-game. Whether you won or lost any particular game, every game provides an opportunity for learning. Figure out what worked and what went wrong, and recognize what was simply the result of luck (good or bad). Paying attention to the film is one of the most important tips for quarterbacks, coaches, and anyone else interested in improving their game. Beyond watching film of yourself to study your own playing, it can also be beneficial to study film of an opponent before an important game to figure out what their strengths and weaknesses are. Finally, it can also help to watch films of great college and professional teams for ideas on unique plays or to see standard plays executed particularly well.

Maintain your spatial awareness.

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Abstract tips can be difficult to practice, and awareness is particularly hard to master. My best advice would be to simply keep playing the game as much as possible. You can practice all you want with your team, but the pressure is never quite the same as in a real game. When you walk out onto the field in full uniform for the first game of the season, it can be easy to get swept up in distractions, and that's when mistakes are made. Keeping your head, even when you're under immense pressure, is vital to remaining effective on the field.

Don't let up on your training.

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Sometimes the best advice is the most obvious, as is the case with this final tip. More than anything else, persistence is the key to becoming a successful quarterback. Putting in your hours in the weight room, watching films, throwing the ball, running laps, and every other aspect of training is the only way to stay at the top of your game. If you're content to play casual pickup games, then don't sweat it: there's nothing wrong with that. If you want a shot at a championship trophy, however, you owe it to yourself and you owe it to your team to dedicate as much time as possible to improving your craft.

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