Youth Football:The Basics of Coaching Quarterbacks 101 Part One
Youth Football: Coaching Quarterbacks 101 Part One: The Basics
Coaching quarterbacks at any level is a difficult and daunting task. But don’t get discouraged. Perhaps no other player shoulders more responsibility than the quarterback despite the system in place on the team. There are a number of factors to consider when coaching your team's quarterbacks including arm strength, accuracy, and ability to adapt to your offense. Physical characteristics such as height and weight are important but playing the position of quarterback is a mental game more so than that of a physical one.
It is important for your quarterback to have a natural swagger to him, a sort of cockiness almost. These characteristics are vital in the huddle of the offense; the 10 other players in the huddle must be receptive to what the quarterback's demands are. He is the signal caller of the offense for a reason, and must not simply be the kid with the strongest arm. This is important to remember when piecing together your team. Nobody will demand more grooving than your quarterback so he must be teachable and coachable. I like to think of these words as having two different definitions; teachable is being able to learn new concepts and skills while being coachable is building on the foundations already set and stone and improving on these skills.
As you demand the most from your quarterback, he should be doing the same from his teammates. He must be uplifting while encouraging his teammates to grow and learn, picking them up and working in unison to get better. While he should be demanding of his teammates, it’s important that he NEVER bring them down. After a dropped pass or a misalignment or wrong route, he should know when it’s his place to say something and when it is you, the coach’s job too.
Perhaps there is no greater trait the quarterback must hoist under his belt than having “the ability to expand his football sense past his own responsibilities.” Not only does the quarterback need to be fully aware of his responsibilities, play call, audibles, hot routes, protections, shifts, motions, identifying safety splits, coverages, etc, he must also fully know what is going on around him and what each other player on the field is doing and is responsible for. He must know what linebacker the running back is responsible for on blitz pickups, and where his outlet or check-down is against free blitzers.
The knowledge of the game aspect is crucial for your quarterback; he should hands down be the smartest player on the field and have the highest football IQ. Coach Randy Taylor of NCSA Athletic Training sums it up very well in the following quote “The quarterback position is as much moxie as it is technique.” Meaning a quarterback’s character and determination is just as important as physical technique i.e. release, arm strength, and talent.
Most importantly, it’s imperative you first teach your quarterback up, and not down. Patience is a virtue, especially while working with quarterbacks at a young age. It’s not an easy task by any stretch, but teaching your kids proper technique and principles will go a long way in their development.
By: Matt Kerns
Quarterback Coaching 101