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Basics of a Quarter Back

There is no question that quarterback is the most glamorous position on a football team.

An offense must have a proficient player at the quarterback position. Lack of ability at the other offensive positions may be covered up, or compensated for, but if a team attempts to play with a quarterback who lacks the physical skills and mental abilities for the position, the weakness quickly will become evident to everyone.

Because of the importance of the quarterback to a team's success, the player at this position also will come under closer scrutiny and be forced to play under greater pressure than many of his teammates. The ability to play under pressure is a vital part of a great quarterback's makeup.

When the offense is successful, most of the praise will be directed toward the quarterback. Should the offense falter, the quarterback often will find much of the criticism directed at him. Young quarterbacks need to understand early in their careers that neither the praise nor the criticism really is justified, that both are magnified out of proportion, and that, though a quarterback, he is just one player on a team. Many young quarterbacks' careers often are ruined before they develop by undue pressure applied by parents, coaches, teammates, and the players' own perception of the importance of the position.

In order to survive, the young quarterback, even though he is the offensive leader, must realize that the pressure of winning or losing is not resting solely upon his shoulders, but that his teammates also must share the responsibility for the team's success or failure.

Many coaches, at all levels of football, believe that the quarterback position requires a player with exceptional athletic skill. This is especially true if the quarterback is asked to direct a team in which one of his primary responsibilities is to run with the ball.

For a passing team, pure athletic skill - speed and running ability is not nearly as important as the player's ability to set up correctly and throw the ball accurately with good velocity to the proper receiver.

Height and weight may vary considerably from one quarterback to another, but all successful quarterbacks have an inner strength and belief in themselves. Each time they lead their offense out onto the field, the great quarterbacks truly believe they will move the ball and guide their team to victory.

Great quarterbacks bring an air of confidence to the field and the huddle that is quickly transmitted to every player on the offensive, and sometimes defensive, unit. Their mere presence conveys the message that whatever it takes will be done to get the ball down the field and score the winning points.

Along with determination, mental toughness, and physical skill, a quarterback must be a leader. When he steps into the huddle, he must command the respect and attention of each offensive player. He must be able to take control and cause the other 10 men to execute whatever play he calls to the very best of their ability.

If a quarterback calls a play with any indecision, the other offensive players quickly will recognize his lack of conviction and often will not perform with the same intensity. It is especially important for young, beginning quarterbacks to understand this fact and never enter the huddle until they are absolutely certain of the play to be called.

A successful quarterback must enjoy taking charge of the offense, he must speak with conviction and dedication, and he must leave no doubt in anyone's mind that he is running the offense on the field.

For a personalized autographed copy of Play Football the NFL Way, plus information on the new Coach Bass Sport Maps, please visit http://www.CoachBass.com.

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