I know I’m going to restart the old debate with this question: “Why aren’t there any Canadian Quarterbacks in the CFL?” I’m sure you’ve heard a multitude of opinions on this issue; some you probably agree with, others just don’t ring true. I firmly believe there is more than one answer to the Canadian QB Question.
One thing I do know for sure is that we coaches need to do a better job of instructing our young Canadian Quarterbacks. I’m not just referring to high school athletes. I think good serious training can start as young as 8 to 13 years old. This is a great age, when kids are prime for both physical and mental development.
What can we do? Over the upcoming weeks this five-part series on Quarterback development will cover:
- Qualities of a good Quarterback, Part 1
- Qualities of a good Quarterback, Part 2
- Drops, drills and technique
- Throwing mechanics, Part 1
- Throwing mechanics, Part 2
Many people believe a good Quarterback is the player who can throw the furthest. Don’t laugh…I was at an all-star camp and was asked by the head coach to have the Quarterbacks just drop and throw as far as they could. They chose their starting Quarterback from this one drill!
What are some things I look for when choosing a Quarterback?
Mental and Physical Toughness
QBs often get all the glory when things are going well, but they also take most of the grief when a team is not performing up to par. I want to see a QB’s reaction after he throws an interception or after he throws a few bad balls. How does he react and how does he try to overcome this bad bout? The great Quarterbacks are able to come right back to lead their team down the field, letting go of what just happened.
Can the Quarterback stand back there waiting to throw the perfect ball knowing, that because he has to hold on to the last second, he’s going to get hit hard? Over the years I have played with some great Quarterbacks and have had the opportunity to watch numerous others. One strong characteristic that is common to all the great ones is that they will take the hit for the team. There is no better way to gain the respect of teammates than this. Let’s be honest, football is a physical game but most Quarterbacks are untouchable during practice, while everyone else is suffering full contact! Not only is this a good way to gain the respect of your team but, at the same time, you let the opponent know that whatever they do, they cannot rattle this Quarterback.
What kind of athletic ability does he have?
There are going to be numerous times in a game when things breakdown, such as when the WRs fall down, or when someone doesn’t pick up that safety blitz. A QB needs to be able to improvise and create under pressure.
Seldom does a Quarterback just drop back and throw without having to deal with external factors, such as linemen in his face. This is why I have our young Quarterbacks practice throwing off-balance and from awkward positions. Don’t get me wrong, our athletes practice the proper mechanics of throwing at least 95% of the time during camps, but they need to be prepared to throw even when things breakdown.
Excellent Quarterback ability doesn’t mean just running a great 40-yard dash. I want to see a QB who can create more time in the pocket. Take a look at great Hall of Fame’s football great, Dan Marino. Marino could have used a sundial to time his forty, but, man, could he avoid rushes with little movements in the pocket, and then throw darts all over the field!
Manage a Game
Quarterbacks such as Tom Brady are great game-managers on the football field. Good QBs take what the defense gives them; they rarely force throws and ultimately they make good decisions. Good game-managing Quarterbacks exude confidence, which will spill over to every other player on his team. More and more coaches understand that they can’t count on the Quarterback to win the game on his own. If they surround the QB with good talent they just need the QB to distribute the ball to the playmakers.
In the coming weeks we will discuss one attribute that is MUST for all successful QBs!
Please visit www.qbcanada.com for additional information on our upcoming camps!!