There is no doubt that mechanics and fundamentals are crucial to any quarterback (or athlete), and constant dedication to that end is an enormous contributor to individual success. However, in some cases, working on throwing mechanics or fundamentals without first testing for biomechanical integrity can hinder the results an athlete gets out of hours of work on mechanics.
Let’s take, for example, a young man who works hours on end on his throwing mechanics, and pretend his shoulder is somewhat inflexible and won’t move into the correct positions during the throw. Since he can’t get his arm into the right position, all those hours of work are being put towards a compensated throwing motion, one that is not the most efficient or effective, and could quite possibly be causing injury to both his shoulder and whatever joints are bearing the excess pressure created by the incorrect throwing mechanics. In this case, the young man is actually hurting himself, which is unfortunate because he wants to work hard to achieve his goals. But, without the proper analysis done on his body beforehand, no matter how much work he does, he will not reach his goals; as we said, his shoulder lacks mobility, and he cannot yet throw the football properly, and will not be able to, despite his efforts.
What is the lesson to be learned from that scenario (which, by the way, is a real scenario I encountered a few years ago with a young quarterback)? The take-away is that quarterbacks need to do a biomechanical analysis before doing serious throwing mechanic work; in fact, this is true for every position, but we’ll focus on quarterbacks. If, prior to working on his mechanics, a quarterback were to find out how his body functioned, address areas that were of concern, get his body moving with biomechanical integrity, and only then begin throwing mechanic work, he would put himself in a far greater position to succeed. He would have a reduced risk of injury and a greater capacity to learn and execute the skill correctly.
So, whether you are a coach or player, remember – mechanics are not the foundation for success. They are a big part of success, but there is a layer of physical capabilities underneath mechanics that serve as the foundation – biomechanical integrity comes first. Once that foundation is solid, good mechanics and fundamentals can be built.
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SPU's Alex Drayson writes the SPU Football Performance Blog.