Mastering the Game: Essential Quarterback Drills for Aspiring Football Stars

Mike Pawlawski
December 20, 2023

The 10 Best Quarterback Drills to Improve Your Accuracy, Increase Your Arm Strength, Polish Your Footwork, and Improve Your Decision Making

QB Drills are the cornerstone of QB training
QB Drills are the cornerstone of QB training

When it comes to football, the quarterback position is a pivotal role . QBs call the plays, lead the team, and execute critical passes that can change the course of the game. It takes more than just natural talentTo excel as a quarterback. It requires dedicated training and practice. Since I had the opportunity to play 11 years of pro ball after college, and still coach young QBs today, I wanted to help you out and provide 10 essential quarterback drills that will help aspiring quarterbacks hone their skills, improve their throwing power, decision-making skills, and agility on the field. Whether you are a seasoned quarterback or a newcomer to the position, these drills should be part of your training regime.

Let's begin by discussing the type of drills you should be doing on a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule. As I develop or implement QB drills into training I take a holistic approach and try to be well rounded with the skills I teach. You should have drills in your bag of tricks that help you develop all of these skills.


Accuracy isn't just about hitting the open receiver. It's how you consistently get first downs and touchdowns!
Accuracy isn't just about hitting the open receiver. It's how you consistently get first downs and touchdowns!

Throwing motions may vary between quarterbacks, but accuracy is the most vital skill a quarterback can develop. The ability to consistently deliver precise passes moves the chains and puts points on the board. Accuracy is not just about completing passes though. It's also about putting the ball in the right spot to allow receivers to make plays.

Bill Walsh, the legendary former coach of the San Francisco 49ers and the mastermind behind the West Coast Offense coached a lot of really good football players at the position, including Joe Montana. His take was, "Accuracy is not just about throwing the ball to the receiver; it's about putting it in the right spot to allow the receiver to make a play after the catch."

Accuracy extends beyond simply completing passes. Precise throws that lead the wide receiver into a running lane can turn a short gain into a game-changing play, giving the offense a significant advantage Having an accurate QB also boosts confidence.

The GOAT, Tom Brady said, "Accuracy is the foundation of a quarterback's confidence. When you're accurate, you believe in yourself, and your teammates believe in you."

Brady attributes his success to accuracy and the confidence it breeds. A quarterback's accuracy earns them trust from the team. That trust creates a sense of unity and belief that the team can overcome any challenge with the right triggerman. This confidence translates to improved performance and a stronger team dynamic.

As a QB or a coach you need to prioritize accuracy in your QB training and practice. QBs that focus on being accurate will not only elevate their game but also become leaders by example. The precision of a quarterback's throws can be the difference between an average team and a championship-caliber team, making accuracy the ultimate game-changer in the world of football.

Arm Strength

Though it often gets more attention than being accurate, arm strength comes in somewhere down the list of the top 5 essential assets. Back in the day, coaches used to have QBs run what they called knee drills, to develop arm strength. You basically threw off your knees either one or both, to develop arm strength and accuracy. I don't love knee drills because football is a dynamic game.

Nowadays, various football drills can be incorporated into your QB training routine to strengthen your arm. Arm talent is actually part natural talent, part strength and conditioning, a big part throwing mechanics, and a lot of repetition to incorporate them all. Any good quarterback drill will help a quarterback develop an efficient, consistent throwing motion. QB training can ensure that QBNs maximize arm strength and learn how to deliver accurate passes when the game is on the line.

Footwork and Agility Drills

Like all football players, Quick feet and agility are crucial for quarterbacks as well. Quickness and explosiveness help in evading defenders and escaping pressure. There are several general football drills to develop quickness. I'll detail QB-specific drills here.

Decision-Making Drills

Unlike any other position, Quarterbacks needs to make split-second decisions on most plays that determine the outcome of a play. Strong decision-making under pressure can turn an average quarterback into a stud.

Pocket Presence Drills

A successful quarterback should be able to withstand the pass rush while keeping their eyes downfield for open receivers. Proper QB training helps improve a quarterback's ability to extend plays and teaches them how to move in the pocket while protecting the ball to create passing lanes and find the open receiver.

Strength and Conditioning Drills

Quarterbacks need to be in great condition to keep a clear head on the field. Fatigue will steal your focus. They also need to be strong and flexible to make plays and avoid injury. Remember, your most important ability is your avail-ability.

As you progress through your quarterback journey, always remember that practice makes perfect. Continuously strive to better your skills and never shy away from seeking guidance from experienced coaches.

If you want to be a successful quarterback proper training on footwork will help you avoid pressure, find balance, and deliver the football accurately.
If you want to be a successful quarterback proper training on footwork will help you avoid pressure, find balance, and deliver the football accurately.

Playing quarterback would be easy if it weren't for those darn defensive players. Improving footwork is crucial for quarterbacks to enhance their agility, balance, and overall throwing mechanics. Here are ten effective quarterback drills that can help improve footwork:

Drops on a line Drill:

One of my favorite QB drills.  QB training should involve drops during every session.
One of my favorite QB drills.  QB training should involve drops during every session.

It is essential for any quarterback that they get so comfortable with their drops that good form becomes a habit and they can put them on autopilot. Getting in position to throw accurately is essential. Drops are how we get there.

As a quarterback drill goes, this one is pretty basic. Setup on a yard line using the sideline as the line of scrimmage. Practice basic drop-back footwork, emphasizing a good initial step that lands on the line, proper stride length, balance, rhythm, and proper ball carriage on the pectoral shelf.

You can practice different versions of drops on a line like these.

From the three-step drop and five-step drop to flamingos, pogos, timing drops and drops with a hitch. Just remember that quality counts more than quantity. I'd rather see ten perfect drops than 50 bad drops. Our skills get sloppier in games, so practice perfect skills in your practice sessions.

Drops on a line is a great qb drill for quarterbacks of all ages.

Bag Agility Drills:

I love bag agility drills for QBs. You can vary alignments with bags to create obstacles for QBs to move around. Use agility bags or half-round shields to create chutes or angles.

With a little open space, a football, a couple of Quarterbacks, and some bags, here's a look at a few of the types of drills you can run.

Bag drills can finish with a throw to a nearby receiver, you can escape the pocket and run to help bui;d speed and efficiency or you can work on ball security.

This blog will give you some ideas for great bag drills to run.

Drop and Climb Drill:

Once again, we're trying to get so good at our drop-back that we can put it on autopilot. For this drill, set up on the sideline on a solid yard line like the 20 or 25. The quarterback performs the first drop down the line for 3 or 5 steps then "climbs" the pocket by hitching forward to the next hash on the sideline like you would if you were going through a progression read.

Once you hit the sideline, reset your feet and drop again with a good, game-speed drop and "climb" to the next hash mark.

Move You Big Dummy Drill:

Hitting routes is not all about your throwing arm.  Learning how to avoid defenders and create passing lanes makes "move you big dummy" a great QB drill.
Hitting routes is not all about your throwing arm.  Learning how to avoid defenders and create passing lanes makes "move you big dummy" a great QB drill.

Place a big tackling dummy at the line of scrimmage, a trash can, or three cones in a triangular formation will also work. The bottom of the triangle should be on the line of scrimmage. Quarterbacks are going to use their angular pocket movement to get around the "dummy". Perform quick, explosive movements to improve agility and change of direction.

Crossover-Stick Drill:

Incorporate lateral movements, shuffles, and crossover steps to develop quick and efficient footwork in different directions.

Drop and Climb Drill:

Focuses on the transition from drop-back to pocket movement. working on quick weight transfer and balance while maintaining proper mechanics.

Mirror Drill:

This drill is best with two quarterbacks. Pair up with a partner and mirror their movements, imitating their footwork while maintaining proper posture and balance.

Wave or React and Escape Drill:

Practice rolling out of the pocket, throwing on the run, and maintaining accuracy while moving laterally.

Cone Agility Drill:

Set up a series of cones in a zigzag pattern and navigate through them with quick, precise footwork, enhancing overall agility and body control.

Defensive Rush Drill:

Have a coach or teammate simulate different defensive scenarios, and react accordingly by quickly adjusting footwork, either stepping up in the pocket or moving laterally.

Remember to focus on proper technique, starting slowly, and gradually increasing speed and intensity as you become more comfortable with each drill. Regular practice and repetition of these drills will help improve your footwork as a quarterback.