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Quarterback Training: Footwork Drills

This article gives quarterbacks training on the footwork drills to improve their quarterback skills.

This article will focus on the proper way a young football quarterback should practice in preparation for an upcoming season or game. Obviously the information that will be taught is not designed to replace practices organized by a coach or team; rather the quarterback drills and techniques that will be taught are designed to be utilized during off-season or in-season training, or what I like to call individual practices. They are designed to be done by yourself, or with another training partner or coach. The drills and techniques taught are currently being utilized by NFL coaching staff and Division I programs throughout the country. The purposes of these drills are to begin training your body to prepare for any and all situations that may occur in a game and to transform yourself from being a "good" to GREAT!

A critical deficiency that many young quarterbacks currently lack in organized football is proper footwork. Proper footwork is needed when dropping back and setting up in a position to throw the ball effectively. Many GREAT Quarterbacks like Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, and Steve Young have realized that being a dominate QB is much more than just having a strong arm. For that reason, in much of their personal training and off season preparation, they will design many workouts exclusively devoted to footwork.

Drop Back Drill

Good footwork and ability to drop back into the pocket quickly give a quarterback the capacity to read defensive coverage faster and provides a lesser likelihood of getting sacked. Possessing a combination of both these skills, along with adequate arm strength, are crucial to being recruited by top tier Division I programs and having the opportunity to play at the next level.


This drill is designed to increase a quarterbacks quickness in dropping back into 3, 5, 7 step drops. In addition, you will learn the proper fundamentals of setting your feet in the proper position to throw the football while maximizing hip and shoulder rotation.

This drill will require an exercise band that can be wrapped around the ankles (ideally one that has expandable handles and is 5-10 pounds resistance). In addition you will need a football to hold and 15-20 yards of a field or park to execute the drill.

Step 1:
Adjust the exercise band so you have only 1 foot between your feet, while the band is still un-stretched.

Step 2:
Start on a Line of Scrimmage in a ready position as if you were to receive a snap from the Center. (Have your feet a little less than shoulders width apart and the football in your throwing hand extended under the Center.)

Step 3:
Practice your cadence and on "hut" or "set", begin to drop back. If you are RIGHT HANDED, you will step directly backwards with your right foot while keeping your left foot planted. . Next, you will rotate your shoulders so your left shoulder is pointing down field and have the ball gripped properly with your right hand. Hold the ball up near your chin, with the left hand supporting the bottom of the ball.

Next, you will bring your left foot through past the right foot. Then follow with your right foot. Exaggerate each step so you are stretching the band as much as possible. However, you should try to drop back as quick as possible.


Step 4:
15 -20 yards, STOP, STAND TALL, maintain a good base (shoulder width apart) then step to your target and throw.

Step 5:
Repeat steps 1-4, five times with 15-30 seconds rest in between. You would do this drill in 3 sets, thus a total of 15 reps. This drill should be performed a minimum of 2 times a week to receive the full benefit.

Coaching Tips

Over emphasize and exaggerate the steps on this drill. Take extra large strides while maintaining good form and speed. Don't be afraid of stretching the exercise band, it will not break.

You should feel a burn in your groin and inner thighs if you are doing this drill correctly.
Do every rep as fast as you can, but emphasize stretching the band each time.
Always keep your head up and eyes looking straight ahead. Don't look at the exercise band or your feet.

Tom Brady and Matt Hassleback have probably the purest drop back forms. Imitate their footwork when doing this drill.

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