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How to Throw a Football Spiral? (A Step-by-Step Instruction)

A football is big, oval, and has raised laces down the middle. These characteristics make throwing motion more difficult than passing a round object like a baseball. To successfully throw a football, you need technique, power, and accuracy. 

When you combine these three parameters, what you get is a perfect spiral throw to the wide receiver. A spiral involves throwing the football so it spins around in a way that it cuts the wind in perfect form and gets to its destination as quickly and as accurately as possible.

When you manipulate the ball correctly, it leaves your hand with predictable results. The quarterback knows not to throw harder and farther with uncertain results, enabling the wide receiver to predict the movement of the ball.

When the receiver can accurately predict where the ball will land, they know where to run to catch the ball correctly.

Key Takeaways

  • It takes your arms, shoulders, and legs all at the same time to throw a football accurately.
  • There are 7 basic steps in learning how to throw a football.
Image source: Art of Manliness

How Do You Throw a Football Accurately?

Now that you know that throwing a good spiral is the most accurate way to throw, the question is: How do you throw a perfect spiral?


Before anything else, getting the right football size is important. Footballs don’t come in different shapes, but they come in varying sizes. Professional, collegiate, and high school teams start with a size 9 football – but that would be too large for a young child picking up the football for the first time.

Hence, the peewees coming into the game for the first time should learn to position and release with a size 6 football and work their way up until they can handle a size 9.

Additionally, you should know the right weight range. Weight is the second most important basic consideration when getting a football. The gas used to blow up the ball is around 12 pounds per square inch and has an overall weight of around 380Grs – 450Grs.


Image source: Instructables
  1. Place the hand on the ball with your index finger closest to the tip of the ball.
  2. Place the middle finger off the end of the white laces.
  3. Place the ring finger in between the second and third laces from the back.
  4. Place your pinky between the fourth and fifth laces from the back.
  5. Wrap your thumb around the ball.


Image source: NFL Draft Diamonds
  1. Maintain your throwing hand on the laces.
  2. Use the non-throwing hand to help hold the ball.
  3. Pick the ball up to chest level.


Image source: USA Today
  1. Place the feet shoulder length apart with your throwing shoulder behind.
  2. Raise the ball with both hands to ear level, with laces facing away from you.
  3. Face the target with the free shoulder toward the target.


  1. Cock your shoulders back while raising the football 2 to 3 inches.
  2. Drop the free hand from the ball to chest level.
  3. Release the throwing arm into forward motion.
  4. While the throwing arm is in forward motion, raise the ball above your head.
  5. While completing steps 2, 3, and 4, step forward with your leg opposite the throwing hands towards the target.


  1. While trying to release the ball off the hand, allow the ball to roll off the fingers starting with the pinky and ending with the index finger.
  2. After allowing the ball to roll off the fingers, end the throw with the index finger pointing towards the target.


Image source: USA Today
  1. Continue rotating the hand until the thumb points down while dropping the throwing arm down.
  2. Bring back your leg forward while dropping the throwing arm to the side.

Mistakes to Avoid When Throwing Football

Now, let’s look at some common mistakes people make when trying to release a spiral.


Before throwing a football, it’s important to have a proper grip on it. Properness could mean different things to different people. Hence, you should make adjustments to your grip based on what feels comfortable.

People have different-sized hands. This is why someone with small hands is going to grip the football differently than someone with a bigger hand.

However, what’s most important when you grip the football on the laces is to place your index finger near the tip of the ball. The more comfortable your grip is the better you’ll be able to release the ball.


The lower part of your body is as important as the position of your upper body when throwing a football. Your legs should be at shoulder’s length as this allows you to maintain balance and get the most power and accuracy behind the throw.


The right throwing motion makes you feel as though you’ve made a complete circle with your arm. Your arm should go straight back, up, forward, and back again.

You must follow through on every single throw if you want to make a perfect spiral. Not following through will result in you pushing the ball forwards instead of throwing in a full circular motion. The football will be released with insufficient power to make its way through the air, causing the ball to wobble out of hand.

Master these steps on how to throw a football farther and start your journey on your way to throwing a football wherever you want with the predictability that enables the wide receiver to catch it successfully.

Is It Possible to Throw a Football for 100 Yards?

Neither the NFL nor the NCAA has ever recorded a player throwing a football 100 yards.

According to the history books, Aaron Rodger owns the record for the farthest throw of any quarterback in NFL history. His Hail Mary against the lions in December 2013 covered 68 yards in the air.

In the NCAA, Nick Marshall threw a 73-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Louis Ricardo in 2013.

Many a quarterback throw goes beyond 70 to 80 yards in practice situations. Also, there are lots of videos where over the internet like when Pat Mahomes effortlessly threw a football 100 yards.

After learning the above, you also need to get your hands on football and other American football gear.

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