While every coach hopes to have a perfect, clean pocket for every play, the reality is that oftentimes quarterbacks are forced to adjust and throw from an imperfect base or on the run.
By Mike Dovenberg
Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
College of San Mateo (CA)
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While every coach hopes to have a perfect, clean pocket for every play, the reality is that oftentimes quarterbacks are forced to adjust and throw from an imperfect base or on the run. There is certainly value in recruiting a great athlete for whom these things come somewhat naturally, but I believe as coaches, we can drill and improve these skills. These drills are designed to enhance a QB’s “toolkit” for making plays in real game situations.
Organization of a Drill Bank
At the College of San Mateo (CSM) and as a private QB coach, I organize my drills into five categories:
- General Footwork
- Throwing Mechanics and Body Control
- Perfect Drops
- Pocket Movement and Escapes
- Run, RPO, and Ball Security
For this report, we will primarily focus on the pocket movement and escapes portion. We drill at least one of these skills every day both and out of season. Let’s dive right into it.
Drill 1: Jog-Flip-Toss
- QBs pair up 10 yards apart with one ball per pair.
- QB jogs slowly away from the target.
- On command, flip hips & deliver the ball to the target. Switch turn direction & repeat.
- Emphasis is a fast turn with body control and smooth delivery of football.
- Ball in secure carriage position (armpit to armpit).
- Weight transfer from plant foot through the ball.
Clean follow through and throwing mechanics:
- Full arm extension.
- Elbow above the shoulder.
- Finish with a thumb to the opposite hip.
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In conclusion, the best drills are ones that directly apply to the real situations our quarterbacks see in games. As the drills and film above show, many times these situations are affected throws with imperfect platforms. I believe that rather than relying solely on natural athleticism and instincts, we as coaches can empower our players with the tools, they need to be successful when things break down.
Meet Coach Mike Dovenberg: Mike Dovenberg has been the Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach at the College of San Mateo since August 2019, a position he assumed after spending the previous 18 months defeating leukemia and assisting the CSM offense remotely. Prior to CSM, Dovenberg spent three seasons as the Head Football Coach at Gavilan College in Gilroy, CA. During his tenure, over 40 players signed scholarships to four-year institutions. Previous stops for Dovenberg include Kansas Wesleyan University, Ellsworth College, and Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis, MN. In 2014, Coach Dovenberg was named to the inaugural “30 Under 30” class by the NCAA and American Football Coaches Association, recognizing the top 30 future leaders of the coaching profession. He is also a private quarterback coach in the Bay Area.