Quarterback Vs. Pitcher Vs. Bench Press

We had a great question come in regarding our Blog last week; why we exclude bench press in our Baseball players’ strength programs (if you missed it, check out that Blog here)

The question was: Was having a similar conversation today about QBs and bench press. What do you think?

Here is my response:

While quarterbacks have similar stresses on their shoulders as pitchers, those stresses are a lot less than that of a pitcher. The record velocity for a quarterback throw is ~60mph whereas the highest recorded MLB pitch is ~105mph; they are in completely different ballparks (pardon the pun!). Because of this, throwing injuries are also a lot less common in quarterbacks. If we look at a study by Dodson, C.C; ET. Al  there are only 10 reported cases of UCL tears in NFL quarterbacks between 1994-2008 vs. 36 UCL tears in MLB pitchers in the 2015 & 2016 seasons alone! The majority of injuries NFL quarterbacks sustain occur through direct contact, ~82.3% (according to a study by Kelly, B.T.; ET. Al.) while overuse injuries account for less than 15% of injuries.

Another thing we have to consider is that most quarterbacks take long breaks from throwing in the off-season while pitchers (especially younger ones) have a tendency to jump the gun on their throwing programs and (in my opinion) on average do not let their shoulders recover long enough in the off-season.

What this tells me is that the durability of a quarterback’s shoulder is much higher than that of a pitcher’s and can more than likely sustain higher stresses off the field in the gym. While it may be a good idea to avoid bench press for similar reasons as our baseball players do (exacerbates negative adaptations from throwing, too far away from throwing motion on force-velocity curve, and failure on a heavy rep puts the shoulder in a vulnerable position), having bench press in a quarterback’s program is probably less likely to causes negative performance outcomes on the field. Which is, arguably, the most important thing to look for when choosing exercises for your athletes.

Keep an eye out for Part 2 of our Bench Press vs. Baseball Blog where we will show you pressing exercises much more suited to overhead throwing athletes, quarterbacks included!

If you have any questions or comments about this or any of our other blogs let us know in our comments section or send our author an email directly (cplewes@sstcanada.com)!

 

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Football Players: The Interview!

Here we are the Super Bowl is 4 weeks away, Bowl season at U.S. colleges almost over, the CFL has long been done and high school football seasons’ ended over a month ago. What this means is there is many players done playing at their respective levels; and ready to take that next step. This is an exciting time for many, but it also filled with much nerves. If you played so well over the last year or two and are a sure fire # 1 pick, or if you have already committed to a school at that next level, you are coasting, you are set. However, this only is a lucky handful of extremely gifted athletes. Most are left unsure of where they are going to end up – or more importantly how they are going to get there!

This, for a great number of football players is where combine or team testing comes into play. Now is the time that you not only have to prove that you can play the game of football but teams and scouts want to see how much of an “athletic freak” you are during testing. This can help to separate two players from earning a roster spot but it can also help to improve draft stock as well, hello Oakland Raiders and two stud “athletic freaks” Jamarcus Russell and Darrius Heyward-Bey who got drafted simply on being tremendous athletes. Look what that did for Al Davis!

I came across an interesting study by McGee & Burkett breaking down the NFL Combine, and how the players faired in the tests in relation to the draft status. Common and crucial combine tests include perhaps the most important and well known football test, the 40 yd dash (as well as 10 & 20 yd split times), broad jump, vertical jump, 225 bench press test for reps, pro agility and 3 cone shuttle. It is well known that a player who tests well in the 40 yd dash should also test well in the vertical and broad jump tests. This is because power and strength dictates running speed, whereas the jump tests measure lower body power. So in short if you can run fast you can jump high – and vice versa.

It has been shown that the most accurate predictors of draft status for RB, WR & DB were the 3 cone agility, 10 yd dash and vertical jump; this is because these positions are the most reliant on speed and agility. The best predictor for OL & DL happened to be height, weight, 225lb bench press and broad jump; which also makes sense as to play these positions you have to be big and strong, clog up space and basically maul your opponent. The positions of QB and LB were much harder to predict based only on testing numbers as being excellent at these positions maybe more than any other rely on decision making and reaction skills rather than physical characteristics.

I know shocking!!! But it was shown that over all positions the players who were drafted in the 1st and 2nd rounds were collectively stronger, faster and could jump higher than those players taken in the 6th and 7th rounds.

Here at SST, we not only focus on getting our athletes stronger and faster in the weight-room, we also work to improve an aspiring athlete’s combine numbers. In fact with specific training and much hard work and dedication from many young athletes SST has had 4 players drafted in the first 2 rounds of the CFL draft over the last 2 years. Because of these players recent success and many others over the part number of years SST has been rated the #1 speed training facility in Canada, and in the top 15 overall in North America.

What to look for in a QB? – Part 2

In the first part of QB training I discussed some of the qualities I would look for in a young QB! Some of these included the following:

  • Mental and Physical Toughness
  • What type of athletic ability does he have?
  • Manager of the game

Take a look at the (link) to see more information about these qualities

Trust me when I say this, but many people believe a QB has to have the strongest arm or be able to just drop and throw. As I stated in my previous article, we as coaches need to start developing young QB’s at a younger age particularly grade 7-8 age. Kids are mentally and physically crave the ability to get better during this age group. This is important- SKILLS NEED TO BE INTRODUCED BEFORE PUBERTY – this will ensure proper development.

What can we do? Over the upcoming weeks this five-part series on Quarterback development will cover:

  1. Qualities of a good Quarterback, Part 1
  2. Qualities of a good Quarterback, Part 2
  3. Drops, drills and technique
  4. Throwing mechanics, Part 1
  5. Throwing mechanics, Part 2

Accuracy

If there is one physical trait that a good qb possesses is ACCURACY. I know many people believe arm strength is crucial and it is to a certain degree but without great accuracy you will be limited in how far you go.

I tell kids this all the time..in high school a wr is open when there is 5 yards between a him and a DB…in college- 1-2 yard difference…in the pros there is little to throw at and you will need to be able to complete balls on different spots on a WR like the back shoulder throw.

In my 15 years of coaching and 15 years of playing I have discovered three types of QB’s:

The Thrower
A QB who has tremendous arm strength but just chucks the ball around…he will make some great throws but then he will make a throw and you will be dumbfounded at the lack of accuracy.
An example of this QB would be JaMarcus Russell – the biggest flop in NFL history

The Passer

This is the Qb who may not have the strongest arm, but is deadly accurate. He can make all the throws and his accurate pinpoint passes allow WR’s to have a lot of YAC!
A good example of this would be the Great Joe Montana

The MAN

The Man combines great arm strength/ accuracy and decision making all in one. These types of QB’s possess GREAT mechanics and are students of the game. I repeat…. GREAT MECHANICS and STUDENTS OF THE GAME!

Some good examples of this type of QB would be Aaron Rogers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady

So if you were looking for a qb I assume the latter two is who we would prefer.

What else do these last 4 qbs possess?

THEY WIN

I ask Qbs this all the time…what is the most important thing a qb can do…WIN! At the end of the day coaches/GM’s want winners. How are winners evolved…some are born but with proper mechanics and becoming student of the game your success will increase tenfold.

An example is Peyton Manning- the film study he does is overwhelming. In fact, before the majority of each snap he know what 8 out of the 11 defensive players will be doing. 8 out of 11! Thus when he drops etc all he has to worry about is figuring what the other 3 are doing…Do you think this gives him an edge?

How does he know…FILM more Film and then more Film. Once his mind knows where to go with the ball then his great mechanics take over!

QB Canada Training and Development – Part 1

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:

  1. Qualities of a good Quarterback, Part 1
  2. Qualities of a good Quarterback, Part 2
  3. Drops, drills and technique
  4. Throwing mechanics, Part 1
  5. 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.