As football has grown and the passing game has expanded, so has the importance of the Quarterback. Even Vince Lombardi said that football's major flaw was that the Quarterback is too important. This makes it even more important for those looking to pursue excellence at the position to put in off-season work. This doesn't mean quit all other activities and dedicate 100% of our time to football, but it does mean find some time to work on improving fundamentals and mechanics.
There are two major issues with playing Quarterback only in-season with no off-season work:
1) There is limited practice time during the season to work on mechanics and fundamentals, and most coaches won't sacrifice team and skeleton period to allot more time to Quarterback fundamentals.
2) Most high school and youth coaching staffs don't have a true "Quarterback Coach," and have to use a very limited working knowledge on the mechanics of the position.
These two factors compound each other very quickly. You have a coach with a limited working knowledge giving little tweaks to a Quarterback's throwing motion. If even one of those tweaks is wrong, the player will now be asked to repeat that incorrect motion over and over with the necessary volume of repetitions to work on a good passing game and will most likely develop a long term overuse injury. The shoulder is already a fairly unstable joint and a throwing motion puts a lot of stress on the body; done incorrectly often, a throwing motion could become a very painful action, a serious injury, and a long recovery.
The remedy to this issue is to put in work in the off-season. Taking that down time to fix mechanics and improve fundamentals means that during the season there is less need to take time from practice to do so, and if the mechanics are good it will help prevent injury that could have come with the high volume of reps.
We did mention before that most high schools and youth programs don't have true Quarterback Coaches so seeing a real private Quarterback Coach has become the most popular choice. To be honest, even many of those "professional QB Guru's" lack real knowledge on the function of the shoulder, preventing injury, and recent research on throwing mechanics. But, if you can find a good private coach who understands how the body is supposed to work, it will greatly help in the long run.
One issue with private quarterback coaching is that many head coaches don't like their quarterbacks going to see someone else for coaching. While I don't have a great answer to this issue, I can say most head coaches won't complain when their quarterbacks come in throwing better and staying healthier. Ideally, we'll find a situation where the head coach and private coach can have an open line of communication and be on the same page.
So, to answer the original question, what is the role of the private Quarterback Coach? The private quarterback coach should be an off-season coach who helps improve throwing mechanics, footwork, and other fundamentals. Any quarterback truly striving to reach the highest levels of the sport should consider taking part in an off-season program like that - stars from Peyton Manning to Tom Brady spend their off-seasons seeing quarterback specialists, as do rising college players and most of the best high school players. The quarterback position is no longer a 3-month job.
Find a truly good coach and it should pay dividends. If you have any questions or thoughts, please feel free to contact me at adrayson@SportPerformanceU.com.
Quarterback Coach Alex Drayson will put up articles, thoughts, and reviews to help you stimulate your journey towards being the best QB you can be
Drayson Quarterback Academy
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Wilton, CT 06897