The term “throwing in rhythm essentially means a QB taking a drop and throwing without taking a hitch at the back of his drop back. This can be a very challenging task for quarterbacks to perform, especially if they have some strength or stability problems throughout their body that can lead to decreased accuracy and power during throws. Check out today’s blog post on how to improve these specific areas so you can be better than your peers in this crucial area!

Breaking Down the Movement

When a quarterback takes his drop, he is moving in the frontal plane. (lateral plane) This is important to note because when football players train in the weight room, this plane is often times forgotten. Bench, squat, cleans, and deadlifts are all in a different plane of motion. (sagittal) From a specificity standpoint, we need to perform movements that are specifically going to help us in this frontal plane.

The ability to drop back with good speed while under control and then decelerate that speed to a screeching halt is tough. But to then balance and produce power on a throw after decelerating is impossible for most. This not only takes a lot of practice and good coaching, but also requires the athlete to have the basic ability within their body to be able to perform the movement. Let’s go over some key points to help y’all.

Gluteus Medius Eccentric Strength

If there is one muscle that is ALWAYS overlooked in being important for quarterbacks, it is this one. The gluteus medium muscle is the muscle that stabilizes the pelvis in the frontal plane when the human body is moving in EVERY plane. Let me give you a more clear picture on this. This muscle will work to keep the pelvis from dropping down too much when moving side to side, but will also decrease that drop when walking or running as well. Check out the video below to gain a better understanding of this issue.

When making that transition from moving back, stopping, and then moving forward as a QB would do when throwing in rhythm, the gluteus medius muscle has to stabilize to decelerate the body. It also has to work to maintain a good relationship for the pelvis with the rest of the body so when the QB wants to throw, he will be in a great pre pass position to do so.

How do you know if you have this problem?

A good test to perform is to jump off two feet laterally to the right and then land on the right foot. Were you able to stick the landing? Could you stick the landing and then throw as soon as your foot hit the ground? Most of you are going to say no way! Well, you have an issue here then. Let’s give you some great exercises for you to perform to take care of this strength/stability problem.

Last Two Steps of the Drop

QB coaches that coach rhythm throws well will often times tell their quarterbacks to shorten the steps on the last two steps of their drop during rhythm throws. Why would this be? Well, this is to decrease the amount of momentum and to start that deceleration process before hitting the last step to throw from. This is a great thing to do! Quarterbacks that you will see that have the same distance between their steps on their drops will be the ones that you see fall off balance the most during throws.

Where’s Your Center of Mass?

I would say that most quarterback coaches out there teach how to play from a wide base well. This essential part of having a wide base for proper balance is spot on, but we are missing the boat here a bit as we struggle to understand that quarterbacks don’t just stand in the pocket and throw. There’s always movement before throws, especially during rhythm throws when balance is most crucial.

One of the most common dysfunctions that we see is that if a quarterback does not have enough stability in the right hip (right handed quarterback when anchoring the foot in the ground and then throwing, then he will never even TRY to transfer the weight back like he should. Well, what do I mean? Check out the video below.

You can see in this video that whenever this QB sticks his foot in the ground to throw, he never gets back to a good pre pass position. Because his body/brain know that he doesn’t have enough stabilization in the trunk and hips to decelerate from this momentum and then throw, he doesn’t allow himself to even try to transfer his weight back. This causes two primary issues. Number one, the quarterback will never be able to produce a lot of power from his hips without loading his drive hip. Number two, the sequencing in the throw is now very flawed with the upper body mechanics having to work extra fast to catch up to a body that is already in a forward position. We see this ALL the time!

Why is this important?

We want y’all to understand that this is extremely important because there will always be a ceiling on performance if you don’t work to fix this. You can see that this is a huge problem from the youth leagues all the way up to the NFL and is NEVER TALKED ABOUT. Let’s fix this players! Start training in a manner that is specific to the demands on the field. Start paying extreme detail to the movements that you have to perform on the field. What is going to be more important to you, bench pressing 400 pounds or being able to stick a 4 foot lateral single leg hop on the right leg? I think you know what we are going to say.

If you have questions on this, please feel free to reach out. We take pride in answering all the questions that we get on a daily basis. A good number to call/text is 812-343-4226 or you can email at [email protected].

-Drew Kiel PT, DPT, CSCS