Have you ever watched that NFL quarterback toss a 40-yard pass that has a tight spiral and hit a receiver in stride? Do you wish that you could do this? With a little help and a lot of practice, you can learn to throw like the pros – or at least to throw a good pass.
Start by gripping the ball. Many quarterbacks find the grip to be most effective with your index finger immediately before the laces, your thumb on the side of the ball opposite your index finger, and then your middle and ring finger one space apart with the laces under the last joint of your fingers.
If your hands are big enough, your pinky will end up on the far end of the laces. Unfortunately, most people won’t have big enough hands to grip like this. Adjust your grip so that it is comfortable to you, but the most important thing is that your thumb and index finger be on the “back” side of the ball – that is the end that is not pointing forward.
Once you have your grip start by holding the ball with your grip in your throwing hand and your other hand on the side of the ball for support. Your feet should be even about shoulder width apart.
Now, cock your arm back. In doing this, the “Front” point of the ball should be by your ear pointing to your target. Your elbow will be out to the side of you, behind your torso. You will feel tension pulling you back toward your normal position, but this will help you to throw it further. Your free arm will be slightly extended in front of you to help maintain balance.
After you finish cocking your arm, step forward with the foot opposite your throwing arm, but do not put much weight on it yet. It should be a full step in front of you when you finish, and the foot opposite your throwing arm will be half a step in front of the other foot with little weight on it.
As you begin your throwing motion, you will use this forward step to help you throw the ball further.
To start the actual throw, begin by bringing your elbow forward. Always remember, elbow first! Next, bring your forearm forward over your elbow until your hand is just ahead of your head. Don’t forget to snap your weight to the forward foot. Begin to let go of the ball and you have thrown a pass.
Up to this point, throwing a football isn’t much different than throwing anything else. However, here is where we add the spiral.
The spiral is vital as it helps the ball sail smooth and true to its target. A ball with a good spiral can go a lot farther and a lot more accurate than a ball without a spiral. To add a spiral, use your fingers to put a spin on the ball as it leaves your finger tips.
Do this by flicking your wrist downward at the last moment that your fingers are on the ball. Follow through at the end of your throw so that your index finger points at the ground and your throwing arm points at the receiver. This flick of the wrist can be tricky so practice just tossing the ball up from your grip position until you get the right effect, then use this same technique on your passes.
Throwing a football is an art. The biggest, strongest guys on the field are usually not the best at throwing. The nice thing about throwing the ball is that it is the same technique whether you are throwing 5 yards or 50 yards with only a little different release angle and force.
Practice throwing short 5 -10 yard passes until you get the spiral every time. Work on your technique until it becomes second nature, and then when you start throwing longer passes, you will be able to concentrate on leading the receiver and getting the distance right. Good luck!