Play Fast but Don’t Rush

If you were to ask all of the thousands of football players I have coached over the years about what “coaching point” I use with them most when I am coaching them through the skill development of their position, it would definitely be…”play fast but don’t rush”. This phrase was one that I never really planned on using with my athletes when I first started coaching, but in the process of working with them, it was one that made a great deal of sense when I would see them go through drills. Many times they would execute a drill a bit too slow or they would try and rush through a skill much too quickly where their technique would break down. Finding that beautiful balance of executing a skill at game like speed, but not crossing the line and rushing through it, is a concept that can help any football player…especially the middle to high school player who is working on developing his game to higher levels.

When working with quarterbacks, footwork in pass drop mechanics …as well as the cycle of the throwing motion (stride, arm circle, follow through) are the common areas where the timing of playing fast without rushing needs to be drilled, critiqued, and perfected. With wide receivers, getting them to run crisp routes to their completion without cutting them short (ie: rushing through it), and then getting them to concentrate on the catch without trying to rush the process of catching and running is always a challenge for most.

Each position has its fundamental skills and the challenges that come with them to execute fast without rushing. The time that coaches and players invest in executing skills game-like fast without rushing is time spent wisely!

In my Elite Football Development Program that is designed for middle to high school aged players looking to take their game to the next level, the concept of playing fast without rushing is a concept I spend a great deal of time on with my athletes so they can truly master their position fundamentals and become more successful on game days. To learn more about this program, please visit my Elite Football Development page…

Playing Quarterback and Adversity

Such a big part of life is how to deal with adversity once it comes about. Throughout one’s life span, a person will likely have quite a few adversarial situations that he/she will have to confront. Playing quarterback is definitely a microcosm of life. When one chooses to become a quarterback, adversity is right around the corner and will happen early and often.

What do these adversity situations look like for the QB? It usually takes the form of a bad decision being made on a throw or a temper flaring up after a sack. It could be a fumbled snap or an audible call not made when it should have. One thing is for sure, they will happen!

What is the best way for a QB to deal with adversity? Here are 3 things that are critical to deal with these hard to deal with situations..

  1. Take Responsibility– It is important to take on an adversarial situation head on and deal with it. Take whatever consequences that come about like a man and learn from your mistakes and strive to be better from the entire experience.
  2. Don’t Point Fingers At Others– It is too easy to blame others for bad circumstances, even if it very well might be their fault. That isn’t what great leaders do and a successful QB shouldn’t either. Admit your share of the responsibility and encourage everyone that we all will overcome and success is near.
  3. Stay Positive– Don’t let a temporarily tough situation destroy your confidence that you have worked so hard to achieve. Keep a positive mind set and go back to your hard working approach with your skills and fundamentals to get back on track and be competitive.

Playing quarterback has physical challenges, but the mental challenges are the toughest. When it comes to adversity, the successful QB needs to take a mature approach and deal with it correctly and appropriately.

The Fundamentally Sound QB – Don’t Cross The Line!

All of you readers are probably well aware that the QB position is one that has multiple fundamental skills. All of these fundamentals whether they be throwing mechanics, footwork, reading defensive coverage, route progressions, etc… are important for a QB to learn how to do through knowledge and endless repetition. One of the problems that I see with many QB development instructional camps is the concept of fundamentals being developed at the expense of the big picture. Throwing mechanics are isolated to such an extreme that it has zero carryover to a live game situation. I also see this happen with learning the reading of defensive coverages and  route progressions. It is broken down in such a way as to be knowledgeable about what it consists of, but not taught in an applicable way for normal live situations.

I obviously believe that fundamentals are very important, but being fundamentally sound just for the sake of that in itself doesn’t do any QB any good. QB fundamentals should be fairly elementary to execute and repeat in even the toughest, most intense game like conditions. If a QB feels like what they are trying to learn feels nearly impossible to perform and takes too much conscious thought, then the instructor has very likely “crossed the line” and has became too fundamental.

For many things in life, I always thought the secret to success is to keep it simple and get great at these simple things. The QB position is no different!

The Athletic Quarterback

Back when I was a youngster and getting interested in football, I would go to the local high school and watch their football practice. At that time in my life, I didn’t really know enough about football to know what I was looking at, but I do remember seeing a bunch of football players working their butts off in various types of drills, and over to the side there were the QB’s just playing catch. This seemed to be a common theme I saw each time I was out there (maybe this was why I became a QB when I played lol). Obviously, the perception of the position of Quarterback has changed considerably over the years. The styles of offense incorporated in the game today make the athletic component of being an effective QB very important.

If someone were to allow me to rename the position, I would choose “Quarterbathletic”. Having a good throwing arm, pocket presence, a thorough understanding of the offense, and making great decisions has always been and will always be major parts of playing the position effectively, but more and more each year the areas of speed, quickness, elusiveness, explosiveness, strength are a part of the QB success equation.

Most of you know that I train youth/high school QB’s and each session that they are a part of will have an athletic development component and a football skill component. Here is an example of the athletic component of one of our workouts we do. This is high school QB Alejandro H. and 2 receivers going through outdoor warmup, power, agility, and strength work:

Here is that same trio going through the football skill portion:

Going beyond football skill work and incorporating athleticism training to develop QB’s to be successful is mandatory. This type of training on a consistent basis will give any QB, regardless of the level he plays at, the best chance for field success when it matters most!

Qualities of the Competitive High School Quarterback

Being successful at the quarterback position on the high school football field takes many qualities. Here are my top 8 qualities I believe are absolutely essential for any quarterback to have to achieve success:

1. PASSION- He has to love everything about playing the position.

2. WORK ETHIC- He has to be willing to put in the work required on a consistent basis to be successful.

3. COACHABILITY- He has to be able to listen and receive coaching feedback in a constructive manner at all times.

4. LEADERSHIP- Whether vocally or by example, he has to be able to positively influence others to do and be their best.

5. COMPETITIVE DESIRE- He has to enjoy competing against others and have a desire to succeed, especially against opponents who are very talented and good at what they do.

6. EMOTIONALLY MATURE- He can handle the emotional highs and lows of playing the position with class and poise.

7. HIGHLY ATHLETIC- He has to execute all of the physical components of the position at a high level

8. HIGHLY SKILLED- He has to have a high proficiency of the skills and mechanics of the quarterback position and be able to execute them well.

When working with young QB’s, I am always referring to these 8 qualities. Most QB’s are naturally good at some of these and not so much at others. It is my job to bring all of these qualities to his attention and make sure he has a good understanding on each one’s importance.