The importance of developing proper mechanics at an early age is critical. That goes for any position in any sport. In this case, in lieu of a game played between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots, I will compare the throwing motion of Tom Brady and Tim Tebow. As you can see from the pictures above, there is a drastic difference. Starting with Tom Brady’s lead arm you can see that it is tighter and more compact to his body whereas Tim Tebow’s lead arm is extended away from his body. With the lead arm extended like that it can cause an inaccurate throw due to the throwing motion not being compact and tight during the rotation phase. The throwing forearm of Tom Brady is parallel to his body which will allow him to rotate more compactly. Tebow’s throwing forearm, as well as his upper arm, are both parallel to the ground which can also create inaccuracy in the throw during the rotation phase for the same reasons.
For those who saw this particular game, there was a play where Tebow had the ball stripped from his grip just before he threw. Based on the angle of his throwing arm as indicated above, stripping the ball from him is easy to accomplish due to how low the ball is and how far it is extended from his body. Most likely, in the Patriots scouting report, defensive players were told to attempt stripping the ball from Tebow prior to his release whenever possible due to this flaw in his mechanics. If you look at the picture of Brady, you can see how much more difficult it would be to strip the ball from him since the ball is tighter to his body and level with his shoulder.
As the title of this article indicates, it is tough to teach an old dog new tricks! In other words, old habits are very difficult to break. Tebow has been throwing this way since he was very young and, since bio-mechanical movements such as throwing a football are considered motor movements, once those movements are etched into the brain, it is very, very difficult to change them. Motor movements are generated by the motor cortex of the brain. Any skill that requires the same movement over and over can only be perfected by executing that skill over, and over, and over throughout many years of practice. Basically, you are training your brain to perform these movements so that there is no thought process when performing the movements.
When playing quarterback there are so many uncontrolled variables that happen during a game that a player often does not have time to think and he has to rely on his training to perform mechanics properly. Those ingrained motor movements take over. So, when a player such as Tebow is under duress his brain is being overstimulated to the point where he won’t actually think about his mechanics. The motor movements, which have been developed from the time he was young, take over. This is why, even after two years of working on new mechanics, he will often revert back to his old mechanics during a game, particularly when he is under duress.
If you are a high school player or younger, or even the parent of a player, the point of this article is to help you understand that it is extremely important to learn the proper mechanics as early as possible. The older a player gets, the more difficult it is to break that player of improper mechanics. This is one of the reasons we have created My Football Mentor.
We want to provide the opportunity for young players to be coached up properly on the fundamental mechanics of football. The off-season is the best time to work on the fundamentals and mechanics due to the amount of time available to do so. It just can’t be done in-season because there isn’t enough time in practice to do so properly once the season starts. If you are a parent, contact us today so that we can get started helping your son become the best football player possible! We are available for that purpose only, whereas many high school coaches are not as available during this time of year due to academic responsibilities or involvement in other sports. If you are a player, tell your parents what we can do for you. And, if you are a coach and just don’t have the time you would like to spend with your players in the off-season, we can help your players! See a sample of our throwing mechanics video by clicking here.
Let’s get started!
Coach Van Tassel