Proper Mechanics for Throwing a Football

Man with football

Practically anyone can pick up a football and toss it a few yards in a backyard game, but when it comes to being an elite quarterback, you need sound fundamentals to get the ball exactly where you want it to go in a hurry. Understanding and practicing the fundamentals of throwing a football can make you a better player and improve your team's chances of winning more games.


The first piece of mechanics you will need for a sound throw is the grip. The grip affects how the ball comes off your hand, making it essential for a tight spiral and pin-point accuracy. Super Bowl-winning quarterback Peyton Manning places his ring finger on the second lace of the football, and his pinkie finger on the fifth lace for a proper grip. Depending on your hand size, you may need to adjust your finger positions on the laces accordingly. Make sure when your hand is gripping the ball that you allowing room between the ball and the cradle of the hand. Gripping the ball too tightly can make it come off in an odd manner.


Once you've mastered the grip, it's time to get you prepared to throw the ball. Don't bring the ball down below your chest level. Instead, keep it up about shoulder-high and grip it with two hands until you're ready to bring it back to start your throw. You should be standing so the non-throwing side of your body is pointed at your target. Pull the ball back behind your ear so your elbow is pointing behind you.


Now that you're set up, it's time to launch the ball with sound mechanics. To get the most power on your throw, shift your weight to your front foot. At the same time, swing your arm forward. Just before your arm starts moving downward on your throwing motion, release the ball out of your hand. Let the ball roll off the tips of your fingers as you snap your wrist. This will create the spin on your throw you need for proper trajectory.

Follow Through

Just as in a golf shot or a basketball jump shot, proper follow through is essential to an accurate football throw. Keep moving your weight to your front foot. Your back foot should naturally lift off the ground and rotate your upper body around. Complete the follow through with your throwing arm by letting it swing down and across your body. It should end up right around your pants pocket on the opposite side of your body. Keep your wrist cocked and watch the ball all the way to the target.