One of the most effective skills a Quarterback can have is the ability to throw the football on the run. When the Quarterback is able to break the pocket and threaten the defense with the run, while at the same time being able to throw the ball to a receiver downfield, the defense is put in a no win situation. In order to be effective in the roll out game it is critical that the Quarterback has the ability to throw the ball on the run. We use the Flash Fire Drill to work the important components of throwing roll out passes.
Teaching Your Quarterback How to Throw on the Run | Flash Fire Drill
When throwing roll out passes there are three critical stages. The first stage is the Apex and Approach where the Quarterback gets his depth and begins to move his body towards the target. The second stage is the Load where the Quarterback is executing his mechanics and delivering the ball. The final stage is the Finish when the Quarterback releases the ball and follows through towards the target. In order to effectively throw a roll out pass all of these elements must work together to transfer power through the throw, we use the Flash Fire Drill to isolate and work on these components.
In the Flash Fire Drill two players are lined up about 20-25 yards apart, depending on their age and development level. On the coaches command the player with the ball will start jogging slowly towards his partner. When the coach says Flash the Quarterback will get the ball into his prepass position and continue in this position until the coach says fire. On the coaches “fire” he will finish the throw and keep coming towards the target for 3-4 steps.
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There are a few key elements of each stage of the Flash Fire Drill. The first area to focus on is the Quarterback’s body positioning during the Flash section of the drill. When the Quarterback goes to Flash he must push his opposite shoulder back and load the ball onto his throwing shoulder. We refer to this as “staring down the barrel” and we tell our Quarterbacks that their non-throwing arm, from the shoulder to the elbow, makes up their barrel. At the same time they need to shorten their steps and rise up to their toes.
When the coach yells “Fire” the players will take the ball from their prepass position and deliver it to their target. In this stage the key element is that the Quarterback gets a full range of motion and continues their path towards the target. One of the best parts of the Flash Fire Drill is that it forces the Quarterback to be moving towards their target. This allows them to get their full lower body into the throw. By using their lower body to generate momentum Quarterbacks who lack arm strength are able to throw passes like the 16 yard comeback on a line.
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The Flash Fire is a great way to break up the throwing mechanics of throwing on the run and to teach Quarterbacks how to translate the power their lower body is generating into their throw. When done effectively this technique can allow any level of Quarterback to throw a 16 yard Comeback to the opposite side of the field before the defender can make a break on the ball.