For Quarterbacks, the off season is when the work begins. In this clinic report, Coach O'Hara provide you with some new, simple, and effective ways to improve your QB play by focusing on balance, foot speed, feel, evasion, timing, rhythm, weight transfer, and confidence.
By Ryan O’Hara
Mt San Antonio College
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For Quarterbacks, the offseason is when the work begins. In this clinic report, I will provide you with some new, simple, and effective ways to improve your QB play. The focus of these drills is to improve a QB’s balance, foot speed, feel, evasion, timing, rhythm, weight transfer, and confidence.
My goal as a coach is to try and recreate any possible movement a QB can do in a game and get him as many repetitions at them as possible. These drills are meant to do just that.
Note: It is recommended that you do at least half of these drills daily. Our pre-practice, individual warm-up is usually 15 minutes and we usually get 8-10 of these drills done a day.
Drill #1: Live Pocket Presence
This drill starts with one QB under center or in shotgun. Two or three additional quarterbacks will be lined up on cones spaced 4 yards apart (see below). The QB will take a 5 step drop with a hitch from under center or a 3 step drop with a hitch from shotgun. When he sets at the top of his drop, two rushers will backpedal at him quickly, make him move, reset, and get the ball out as quickly as possible. A coach or receiver will stand 15 yards away. This works on movement within the pocket while staying poised to throw accurately, a skill that I believe is essential for good and consistent quarterback play.
Drill #2: Eye Manipulation W 2-Ball
In this drill, four quarterbacks will stand 22 yards apart from each other, with two on each side. One QB will stand in front of another to simulate a linebacker. The opposite QB will take a 3 or a 5 step drop with a hitch and try to skim the ball over LB’s head. This throw will have a little height and a lot of speed. The ball needs to come out off the first hitch and the QB should work on looking off the safety. This drill simulates timing, rhythm, arc and manipulation of defenders.
Drill #3: Quick Set-Up & Throw
To set up this drill, we use two cones will be set up 12 yards apart. The QB will sprint from one cone to the other. On the coaches “fire” call, the QB will quickly come to a balanced passing stance to set-up and throw the ball to a coach or receiver. This drill simulates being outside the pocket on the run and transitioning to a set-up and throw.
Drill #4: Base Walk
This drill allows you to slow down the tempo of things and get the quarterbacks to feel each movement. They start from a in a passing stance with their feet slightly outside shoulder width. Their knees should be flexed and the ball carriage set high with relaxed shoulders. To execute the drill, the QB will take 6 inch steps from back foot to front foot as if they were pushing up in the pocket. As they do this, they must not allow their feet to come any closer than shoulder width. Emphasis should be on maintaining a low center of gravity and putting their entire cleat in the ground.
Drill #5: Base Throws
For our base throws drill, we usually set up a two cones 1 ½ yards apart. The QB will work his base from the back cone to the front cone. When his front foot hits the front cone he will throw the ball to the coach or receiver right in front of him.
Drills #6 Through #12…
Join X&O Labs’ exclusive membership website, Insiders, and get the full-length version of this report. Here’s a short list of the drills you’ll get when you read the full report…
- Subtle Movement Drill, which teaches hip rotation on the throw.
- Lateral Pocket Movement Drill, which teaches the proper mechanics for movement in the pocket.
- Long Drop/Fast Eyes Drill that trains quarterbacks to look downfield in avoiding a rush.
- Base to Hitch Drill, which teaches the gather step necessary for quarterbacks to get the feet under the throw.
- VIDEO: Watch all these drills.
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These drills have been essential to my coaching at each stop in my journey and my time as a player. They all focus on muscle memory, balance and timing which are critical to the success of today’s quarterback. Thank you for taking the time to read my clinic report, I appreciate the opportunity to share afforded by X&O Labs.
Meet Coach O’Hara: Ryan O’Hara is the Quarterbacks Coach at Mt. San Antonio College. This past season, Mt SAC went 11-2 and won the California Junior College State Championship while finishing with a #4 National Ranking. O’Hara’s quarterback had a very successful season finishing with just under 3,600 total yards and 33 touchdowns while being responsible for only 9 interceptions. He also was First-Team All Conference and garnered the MVP of the State and SoCal Championship games.