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How to Throw a Football Farther? [5 Techniques]

Have you ever seen a game-winning “Hail Mary” pass in a football game?

What about a baseball player throwing a ball from way out in the outfield to nail a base runner at home plate?

These remarkable feats are accomplished through carefully applied techniques with a thorough understanding of the physics involved.

In this article, I explain five tried-and-true practices for increasing the distance on your football throws.

Key Takeaways

  • Throwing a football greater distances can be accomplished through four techniques: throwing a tight spiral, launching the football at a 45-degree angle, employing proper mechanics, and stepping into your throws.
  • In addition, there are time-tested reasons why athletes in all sports need to be strong.
  • Therefore, it is not surprising an increase in your size and strength is the fifth technique to augment the distance and velocity of your deep balls.

#1 Throw Football with Tight Spiral

I am uniquely qualified to explain this aerodynamic concept because I possess a degree in Applied Physics.

A football thrown with a tightly rotating spiral will travel farther (all other things being equal) than a wobbly spiral or a football rotating end-over-end.

The reason is “Air drag.”

Air Drag:

Any object traveling through air is subject to a retarding force (that will tend to slow the moving object down) known as “air resistance” or “drag.”

You experience this force more frequently than you probably realize.

For example, while driving in your car with the windows down, position your hand outside the window.

You will feel a force on your hand that is opposite in direction to your car’s velocity.

And the faster you drive, the more force is exerted on your hand.

This is the same force that a football traveling through the air experiences, and said force reduces the distance that a thrown football, or any object for that matter, will travel.

While air drag cannot be eliminated, it can be minimized.

To minimize air drag on a moving projectile, you want to reduce the surface area of the forward-most surface in contact with the air. [1]

Reducing Air Drag on a Thrown Football:

The football has two sharp points and one broad central section. When throwing the football, you will need to consider all these.

Common sense dictates that the pointed end should fly through the air first to get maximum distance. 

If you were to throw the football with the pointed ends perpendicular to the direction of the throw, then the football wouldn’t travel very far.

But another factor is also crucial to gaining distance in a throw. It’s called the spin. The more the football spins, the more it can penetrate the air and thus travel faster and further. 

Your throw should therefore incorporate spin. [2]

#2 Launch Football at 45-Degree Angle:

A football launched at a 45-degree angle travels the greatest distance. 

When you throw the ball at a very shallow angle (15 degrees), gravity pulls it down to the ground very quickly, so it does not have as much time to travel far forward. 

When you throw the ball at a very steep angle (75 degrees), most of its velocity is directed upward instead of forward, so it does not progress much in the forward direction. [3]

#3 Use Bigger Leg Muscles, Rotate Hips, and Transfer Weight:

The below training video highlights the Dos and Don’ts of proper quarterback mechanics:

Notice that this youngster above cannot generate any power, as the throwing motion employs only the throwing arm with little hip rotation or weight transfer.

You need to use more legs and hips to transfer the weight and strength of your big muscles – legs, quads, thighs, and hips – into your throw.

Otherwise, you’re only using your much weaker arm muscles that lack the ability to generate significant forces.

The mechanics are no different than hitting a baseball or golf ball for power.

Hitting a baseball or golf ball with power is not accomplished by an arms-only swing. Hip rotation and the weight and energy transfer from the lower extremities is a must.

Just throwing with your arm will not only strain the arm, setting yourself up for an injury while limiting the velocity and distance you can throw the ball.

Pictured above is Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen. 

He generates power by maintaining his weight on his back leg and shifting that weight forward during the throw. Power is generated through an efficient weight shift. [4]

#4 Step into Your Throws

Even more, it helps to have the laws of physics on your side. 

Practice moving—both stepping and running—into a pass. 

When you build momentum, more kinetic energy flows into the ball, resulting in a farther throw. 

And even though you might be limited in your movements during an actual game, you should always try to step into a pass. [5]

#5 Increase Size and Strength:

The distance that a football is thrown depends upon the amount of power generated by the muscles involved in the movement. 

Weightlifting can increase the maximum distance a football can be thrown by strengthening the muscles involved in the throwing motion. 

Furthermore, weightlifting can increase your size and weight, enabling the transfer of more power and momentum into your throws, resulting in a greater throwing distance. [6]

Final Thoughts:

Throwing a football farther is accomplished through any of the five practices mentioned above; however, by implementing all five techniques, it would not be unusual to see a gain of fifteen yards on your deep ball. [7

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