Looking to become a master QB? Then you better know how to hit defenders with the perfect spiral.
Football requires a number of different strategies, tactics, and skills, but throwing the ball is one of the most basic and essential. If you’re looking to master your QB training, this is a skill you need to perfect to become a legit gunslinger. Here’s our guide on how to throw a perfect spiral.
Get a Grip
As with pretty much any sport that involves holding anything, it all starts with the grip. Most people, when they grab a football, instinctively reach for the middle of the ball, where it’s widest in diameter, but that’s not right, particularly if you don’t have NFL-quarterback-sized hands. What you actually want to do is grip it back towards the end of the ball, where the diameter is smaller, allowing you to have more control over the ball. Keep your thumb farther back on the ball as well. Then put your ring and middle fingers in the first two notches of the laces, or threads, and hold the ball slightly away from your palm, so that it forms a sort of pocket there.
Work on Your Arm Motion
The way you move your arm is essential to how the ball comes out, unsurprisingly, but it might not be for the reasons that you think. The first key is to hold the ball above your shoulder when you’re looking to throw. This might feel unnatural, but it allows you to make a quick release and find your target accurately — you don’t want to hold the ball too far away from your body, either, because that can force you to sidearm it, which is bad for your shoulder and totally inaccurate. Then you want to use your off-arm — the one that isn’t holding the football — to guide the ball back into a cocked position, then bring it down and forward to start the throwing motion. Follow through with your ball-arm bent 90 degrees and let your forearm follow the ball as it goes forward toward your target.
If you were actually playing quarterback with an offensive line and multiple wide receivers, footwork becomes absolutely essential, because it’s how you evade defensive linemen, stay in the pocket, and go through your reads. But if you’re just throwing in the backyard, footwork is still essential to throwing an accurate ball. First, you want to concentrate on shifting your weight from your back foot to your front foot as you throw. You also want to lead with your front foot and gradually open it up toward your target, allowing your torso to also shift in that direction and for you to eventually be facing your target when you would have initially started sideways.
The follow-through is important: just because the ball is out of your hand doesn’t mean that the motion you’re doing isn’t tied to what was happening when the ball was in your hand. For that reason, you want to remember to snap your thumb inside and down toward your opposite thigh, and that your index finger should always be the final digit on the ball before you release it. By bringing your index finger down cleanly and threw toward your target, you’ll create the necessary spin to throw a spiral and also send the ball where you want it to go.
Control Your Distance
Now, sometimes you don’t just need to throw a football — you need to throw a football far. And to do that, it requires a few adjustments. Normally, you want to start with your feet shoulder width apart and take a small step toward your target. But when you’re throwing a longer ball, you want to take a much longer step, and you also want to leave your body back some, opening yourself up more toward your target than you would otherwise. This helps you to get some elevation and arc on the throw; what you’ll sacrifice in accuracy and velocity, you’ll make up for in distance. You can alter the amount of lean and the size of your step to help alter how far you’re throwing it.