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Essential Skills and Techniques Necessary to Play the Quarterback Position

Updated on February 8, 2010
source United States Sports Academy Bookstore
source United States Sports Academy Bookstore

I guess crazy isn't a skill

I played quarterback back in the day and wasn't very good at the position, but I think that qualifies me to comment on this subject. I also think that is why the average player makes a better coach than the superstar because he had to become a student of the game and work that much harder to make up for his lack of talent. He took direction better than the star so he was better prepared to relay that information to a player in the future which is an absolute must if you have any desire to coach.

So let's look at some of the skills, techniques and abilities that would have made me better at the position. I did have a few of them but I found I was much better suited to play defense. I was big for my age and I saw it as a chance to get even like Cornelius Bennett is doing in the print above by an artist named Daniel Moore. Yes it is better to give than it is to receive.

  1. Excellent peripheral vision is something I did have so it helped me avoid being sacked because our line was more like butter than a solid object. It also helps one to see the whole field better and aids in reading the defense. I could do that well too but just couldn't seem to execute properly.
  2. Quickness is more important than outright speed. Being able to move a short distance in a very short period of time is going to work better than someone who can run the low 4's in 40-yard dash. Sorry, I didn't have either.
  3. Quick thinking is a good characteristic for a quarterback to have. You must be able to change the original plan at a moments notice based on the what opportunities the opposing team provides. Sticking to a fixed plan will result in similar predicaments like the one the Notre Dame QB is facing above.
  4. Throwing the ball with a good spiral instead of a dead duck flight will result in more passes being completed so there is something that a budding QB can practice.
  5. Learning how to take a snap from centre may seem simple enough but as you get into higher levels, pulling guards can be an additional defender if you aren't quick enough to make your move after the snap.
  6. Good communication is useful to relay information to coaches and players alike. The quarterback is looked to as a team leader and must be able to motivate other players, let them know what they did wrong and how to improve that and to always be the team leader in morale. The game is never over for a good quarterback.
  7. Handing off to another player seems easy enough but it can be disastrous if the QB doesn't do it properly. I had numerous instances when I moved to fullback and the new QB would hand the ball off to my knees. You firmly place the ball in the pit of the stomach every time so the running back knows its his to go and do his thing and it is not a fake.
  8. So logically, faking a hand-off is another skill to work on. Deception will provide additional time for receivers to get open and it is also up to the QB to not focus his attention on the target if the play is now a pass. Good defensive players learn how to read the quarterback so he must learn to be secretive about his true target. Keep the head and eyes moving so they can't get a fix on your target.
  9. Speech is an important skill. Your signals and cadence can impact each play. You must be able to speak clearly enough that your teammates understand the cadence and don't draw themselves offside. Cadence can also be used as a weapon to draw the opposition but be careful that you don't go to far because referees like to call the quarterback on that one. Most of them have been in some job where they like to tell others what to do and they also referee because they aren't usually good enough to play. So they vent their jealousy on the quarterback.
  10. A quarterback must lead by example so it is up to you to stay after practice and work with your receivers so you each get a really good feel for each others abilities. There will be lots of time for partying and other things in the off season. Your job now is to lead the team to victory and you need to take that job seriously. Don't think that you are replaceable because every quarterback has been benched at one time or another. Prove that you should be the starter and the coaches will be glad to put you out there.

My only regret at playing the quarterback position was that I wished I was a better player. I loved playing the game of football and would give just about anything to put on the pads and do it all over again even knowing that I would suffer a lot of the same injuries that I sustained back then. It was truly so much fun to play the game and when you were part of a touchdown drive or a winning game well there are really no words that can describe that sensation.

So make the best of being a quarterback. It is a short career and it is up to you to get the most you can out of it. It will prepare you for other things in life because people are always looking for someone to lead them in the right direction. Writers are kind of like a quarterback in the game of words, now aren't they.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hey i just want to say good job with the tips on being a better quarterback . I really helps to get someone elses insight on the aubject and to hear something different that what every other coach tells me .

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great insight, I am a tiny DT and I want to prove myself to the rest of my team, by becoming a QB.

    • EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

      Kelly W. Patterson 

      9 years ago from Las Vegas, NV.

      Hey thanks,

      I meant to comment sooner, but I was busy and then it slipped my mind. You really provided some great insights into the position with this hub.


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