Bad Weather Football
Yesterday I watched a good high school football game in Peterborough, On, as two quarterbacks did a great job managing the wet and cold weather. When playing football in the North this can be a common scenario. So what should QBs do to minimize the impact of not perfect conditions?
1. DON"T WORRY ABOUT IT - The weather is something you can't control. Game day is game day so embrace the challenge and win the mental game by not letting the weather control you.
2. TEST YOUR GRIP - wet and/or cold conditions will challenge the grip you have on the football. Those QBs that are "over-grippers" (like to really squeeze) will be most difficulty. I encourage those QBs to start working on a lighter grip and start to treat the football more like an egg. This means less palm touching the football and more finger tip strength.
3. LOWER YOUR THUMB - to support the idea of a lighter grip, you can move your thumb closer to the middle of the football on wet weather days. This helps to reduce palm contact and gives you more grip surface.
4. PRACTICE - Getting comfortable throwing in bad conditions means getting use to playing in these conditions. In the off season, you should challenge yourself by throwing on rainy days or wetting a football and testing out your grip.
5. TRUST YOUR MECHANICS - not only trust want made you good but also be aware that you might need to exaggerate parts of the throw because you are challenged in others. Bad footing can be compensated by a shorter arm circle and defined extension on your release. Your extension impacts your throw significantly, unfortunately it is one of the first things to go when you are struggling with your grip. This is called "short arming" the football and will lead to inaccuracy and loss of velocity.
6. OVER PLAN - my university Head Coach always said and this is stuck in my mind "it is always easier to take off something that you brought then put on something you didn't". Simply, over pack for all conditions. Have extra socks and towels in a dry bag for the 4th quarter. Towels for you and towels for everyone that has to handle the football.
A quick story - in my final year of high school football, we had a playoff game in horrible weather and the field was a quagmire. The game came down to the final play. With the score tied 0-0, we moved the ball down the field to the 1 yard line. Our coaches won us the game, they called time out so one of the coaches could run into the school and get a dry football for the last play (home field advantage at it's finest). We decided to punt for the single and it was a good thing that the ball was dry. the snap came back and nearly went through my rain soaked cold hands but I held onto the back tip of the ball and the headlines the next day read "Goldie Punts Falcons Into Finals". When the weather could be inclement be sure to over plan for all possibilities.
7. KEEP THE BALL OFF THE GROUND - this might seem like a silly comment but I couldn't tell you how many times I have seen it. As the Field General, you should constantly remind everyone to hand the ball back to the referee. Don't throw the ball on the ground in celebration and don't let it sit on the ground after an incompletion. At most levels, there is a limited supply of game balls, in fact you might have to supply your own. When you are on the sideline, protect the football from the elements with a water proof bag and towels.
I have played and coached in enough games to know that the team that best manages the elements celebrates in the elements.
( I was trying to find a video of one of our receivers swan diving into a snow filled endzone after 104 yard TD reception)