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Football Training: Quarterback Drills and Exercises



No player in any sport is more vital to a team’s success than the quarterback, and these drills will make sure your throws are on point.

The team runs through QB – and the QB better be prepared, both mentally and physically, for gameday. Preparation is perspiration, and any worthy field general must put in the work to make the fundamentals second nature. Only then can a quarterback devote his attention to the game.

These are the best drills and exercises to propel a quarterback to the top of his game.

Proper Throwing Mechanics

Back in the days of leather helmets and wool jerseys, there was a common belief among coaches that you couldn’t teach a quarterback how to throw. He either had it or he didn’t – and you could only coach up a QB’s other skills like footwork and decision-making. Those days are long gone, and the evolution of the mechanics can be seen in all professional QBs. From three-quarter sidearm to pure pro-style, today’s QBs have been coached up to throw more powerfully, accurately and effortlessly than when they were just blue chips. To learn the proper mechanics requires practice.

Quick Delivery

Accuracy is worthless if the QB can’t get the ball out of their hands fast, and even the best offensive line can’t protect him forever. Like most quarterback drills, an effective quick release drill requires a friend or two and several footballs. Position a receiver downfield about ten yards, and have another friend toss you balls from just a few feet ahead of you. Quickly find your grip on the laces and throw to your receiver downfield. As soon as you release, be prepared for another ball in your hands tossed by your ball assistant. They key is to not look for the ball, but to feel for it, and remember to step forward and into your throw. Go until you run out of footballs, then collect them back and go some more. An effective quick release program can help with arm stamina as well as delivery. Remember throughout the exercise to keep your form correct.


Despite having a focus on quick delivery, accuracy still counts. It’s important that a quarterback can put a football where it needs to be. To hit spots during a game, QBs have to first learn how to throw to those spots during practice. Accuracy is one skill that a quarterback can hone without the help of a friend. The old hanging tire exercise really does work. Get several footballs and sling them through a hanging tire to work on short throws. Swing the tire to increase difficulty. Practice your three-step drop and scramble, and work up a sweat. Fatigue makes inaccurate passers of quarterbacks who aren’t well conditioned. Set goals and keep throwing. You can hope you’re practicing harder than your competition, or you can guarantee it.

Arm Strength

For a quarterback, arm strength is, in fact, not just literal arm strength. Throwing the deep ball or straight shot down the middle requires full-body conditioning. From the feet to hips to fingers, a reliable QB transfers energy throughout his musculature to deliver the ball downfield. That’s why the ideal QB workout is a particular full-body workout. From dumbbell presses to dumbbell rows, a good football workout begins with upper-body strength building and then moves to weighted lunges, an exercise to develop balance. Other exercises, such as fire hydrants, improve hip strength and wall pushes to enhance release point.


You don’t have to be a mobile quarterback to focus on mobility. Footwork is an essential part of every QB’s game. To avoid getting hit, a QB has to have composure and pocket presence, and he has let his feet take him to safety while his mind reads the downfield options. Here again, practice is essential. Whether it’s 3-step, 5-step or 7-step drops, moving in a pocket is essential even if scrambling isn’t in the cards. To work on drop backs, practice ladder drills, remembering to keep the ball cocked at the shoulder and ready to fire. Introduce new obstacles such as cones into the workout, and move laterally and forward, simulating the movement necessary to avoid the pass rush. You won’t know the value of footwork until it saves you from getting sacked. If you’re hanging out in the pocket or scrambling outside, your feet are all that might save you, and they could win you the game.

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