Although homecoming won’t happen until a few more months, you might want to take the summer vacation off and learn how to become better at football, using the right gear and tips, as you can see from our recent post.
However, you cannot become an MVP without knowing more about the most popular sport in the country and some of its most impressive statistics.
Common football facts
Simply referred to as football in the United States and Canada, the sport derives from rugby. The first game ever played was in 1869 between the prestigious teams of Rutgers and Princeton but it wasn’t until 1920 that the National Football League (NFL) was established.
32 teams are playing in the NFL, each fighting for a spot in the SuperBowl final of the season, the second most popular sports event in the world, with over 100 million live viewers each year.
And, speaking of the SuperBowl, the event has turned into one of the most spectacular and anticipated games in the history of television, with the biggest companies in the world spending millions of dollars for 30 seconds of advertising during the final.
The 2021 Super Bowl event was held on February 2nd, 2021, between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, with the first team managing to win the second Super Bowl championship in its history, since 1969.
Another interesting fact is that the NFL is tax-exempt as it is considered to be non-profit, even though it has annual revenues from TV rights of millions of dollars. As for the footballs, the rules are rather strict since there is only one manufacturing company located in the village Ada, in Ohio.
So, if you’re interested in polishing your football skills for the next big game once everything goes back to normal, perhaps these easy steps and tricks will help you learn how to properly hold and throw the football.
Step 1: Grip the football
You won’t be able to throw the football too far unless you learn how to first hold it. Place one of your hands on the ball using the index finger closest to the tip of the ball, right above the laces. Use your middle finger off the top of the white laces, and place the ring finger between the third and second laces. Your pinky should be right between the fourth and the fifth laces from the back. Finally, use your thumb to hold the ball by wrapping it around the football.
Congratulations! Now you know how to perfectly hold the football and you’re on your way to a successful NFL career.
Step 2: Hold the football with two hands
Getting the proper hold will help you better channel all your hand force and throw the football as far as possible. Start by placing your dominant hand on the laces of the ball, then use the other hand to help hold the ball.
Once your hands are properly gripping the ball, raise it to the chest level and prepare your legs for the next step, which is the stance.
Step 3: Stance
The position of your feet is extremely important for your balance and hand-eye coordination, just like in any other contact sport. Therefore, you should pay close attention to how your feet stand and try to correct their position before throwing the ball.
The best position is to have both your feet about a shoulder-width apart before throwing the football. Make sure you face the target with the shoulder from your non-throwing hand and firmly raise the ball to the level of your neck. At this point, the laces of the football should face away from your body. Don’t forget to tightly keep the ball in your hands and not let it slide or slip.
Step 4: Starting to throw
After both your feet and your arms are in the right positions, you can focus on how you throw the ball to reach the other part of the field. Begin by raising the ball to your ear level and slightly bending your knees at the same time. Hunch your back just a little bit while continuing to hold the football using both your hands.
From this position, you want to take about two steps back, maintaining your current sideways stance.
Step 5: The actual throw
You might think that’s a lot of work involved before you get to actually throw the ball but most of these steps will become part of your routine after a while. When practicing for becoming a football player or simply learning how to play better, you’ll find out that you’ll do most of the steps we previously described automatically, without even realizing it.
Moving back to the throw, the first step is to take your non-throwing hand off the ball, then lift the ball behind your head. From this position, drop the non-throwing hand from the ball to your chest level.
Step 6: Footwork
Did you think your feet were only good for taking two steps back and bending your knees? Why do you think it’s called football, after all? Feet play an important role in this sport because they help you coordinate your moves better and maintain the proper balance of your body.
After backing up the two steps, plant your dominant foot firmly on the ground. Take one step forward with the dominant foot, making sure your feet remain parallel. Put your left foot upon the release and lift the dominant foot.
Step 7: The big release
All these small steps have prepared you for the moment of maximum glory – releasing the ball and hoping for the best. If you followed the aforementioned instructions, you should be able to throw the ball from a decent distance, depending on your body build, weight, height, and strength in your arms and shoulders.
At this point, your throwing arm should be in forwarding motion and raising the ball above your head. Once you achieve that, release the throwing arm into the same forward motion. Although your palms will do most of the work, you need to properly position the fingers too for the best outcome. Use the laces from the football to roll your fingers off and make a spin on the ball.
Put it all together and repeat until you perform these steps easily and naturally. Remember that it may take thousands of hours of practice to master the art of throwing a football.
Tips to have a better impact
Depending on whom you’re asking, there are several ways of throwing the ball but with small modifications.
According to a professional NFL player, when you bend your knees, you should slightly do so and not put more than 70% of your body weight on your back foot. This will load the spring and can result in a less powerful throw.
Another trick is to transfer all your weight to your foot after releasing the ball, to remain perfectly balanced.
Also, remember that it is important to throw your ball with spirals to prevent them from turning or spinning with the wind, changing their direction, and, therefore, making you miss your target. Your receivers need to be able to predict the trajectory of the ball so they could run and try to catch it as soon as possible.
Have the right gear
And, while most coaches and professional players talk about technique, rules, and practice, few people acknowledge the importance of the gear, starting with the football.
Footballs don’t come in different shapes but they are available in various sizes, depending on your level of expertise and your age.
High school, college, and professional football teams use a size 9 football but this may be too big for children or those who have little experience with the sport. In this case, a size 6 football would be more appropriate, at least until you master your hand-eye coordination and enhance your speed.
Your sports equipment and shoes should fit perfectly to allow you to perform as well as you can on the field. A helmet that is too big won’t provide maximum protection for your head, which may lead to injuries or having to constantly adjust it, while tight shoes will become uncomfortable after only a few minutes.