QB Eyes, And Why They'll Make You Better Tomorrow

Eye Placement Tricks to Improve Accuracy, Completion Rate, Progressions, and More

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Eye placement is one of the most under-coached and undervalued traits a Quarterback must work on to play at an Elite level.

A high-level understanding of where to put your eyes can be the difference between a 64 percent passer and a 55 percent passer, and the difference between a defensive back batting down the ball and a big third down completion. Eye placement plays a key role in everything a Quarterback does throughout a game.

Below we will break down the big three controllable situations a Quarterback faces with eye placement.

Become Better Tomorrow

I am giving away one of our trade secrets here, something I believe that we coach better than anyone else in the industry. It is simple, it is effective, it makes any Quarterback better tomorrow. Let me start with the very basics and work from there.

Where do you put your eyes or tell your quarterback to put their eyes when they throw? We all learn the same, lock your eyes onto your target, however, what happens after that? For most of us nothing, we lock our eyes on our target, start our delivery, and don’t remember much after. To be an elite level passer you must go deeper, be better, love the process, be ELITE!

You need to train yourself to lock your eyes on a spot and hold them there until the ball is caught. If a Quarterback can tell you whether or not they threw a spiral they are doing it wrong. A Quarterback should not be able to tell a coach if they threw a spiral or not, their eyes should be so intently locked on their target that all they know is if the ball “showed up” where their eyes were placed.

This one simple tip will make you more accurate tomorrow, locking your eyes on your target, and maintaining that spot through completion.

Work Towards Next Month

Working towards next month is a little deeper, takes more practice, and not just reps, but rather purposeful and intentful practice. It is about what you do with your eyes during your drop. There is nothing more frustrating as a coach than to watch your quarterback place their eyes on the backside corner to “look off” before he throws a frontside hitch. It makes no sense, that corner has nothing to do with the play, concept, or what you are trying to do on that play. However, it happens over and over again throughout the course of a football season. You will see average Quarterbacks “looking off” defenders and throwing picks to other guys.

I put “looking off” in between quotes because this notion of looking people off has gotten so blown out of proportion in the game of football. On maybe 20 percent of dropbacks does a quarterback actually need to look someone off, a majority of plays are pure progression or reactionary based on the defender. Looking off is actually an old-school concept that still has some bearing in football but not nearly as much as your next door neighbor will have you think.

We teach a very simple and fast rule to help our quarterbacks with eye placement. First I need to preface that if your coach has you looking somewhere on a certain play for a certain reason then you absolutely 100% of the time must execute that progression, however this rule is for those that do not have a specific place to put their eyes or those that are working routes on air with their receivers.

In any drop, we teach our Quarterbacks to lock onto their target on their last two steps, and all other steps they need to have forehead frontal. First, let’s define that forehead frontal is putting your eyes (forehead) and pointing them directly central of the defense. We do this for two reasons, one it doesn’t tip your hand, but the more important reason is it holds the integrity of the defense. What I mean by integrity is it keeps the defense in its shell, they hold their landmarks because your eyes haven’t told them anything different, they go where they should go which makes playing Quarterback a heck of a lot easier. From there we teach our Quarterbacks to acquire their target on their last two steps and deliver a dime. The last two steps are critical to not only accuracy but also determining if your first progression is there or if you need to climb up in the pocket and find progression number two, three, and so on.

Below is a quick chart to break down some common routes:

  • Slant – 1 Step Forehead Frontal Then Lock On Slant For Last Two
  • 12 Yard Curl – 3 Steps Forehead Frontal Then Lock On Curl For Last Two
  • 12 Yard Corner – 3 Steps Forehead Frontal Then Lock On Corner For Last Two
  • 18 Yard Comeback – 5 Steps Forehead Frontal Then Lock On Comeback For Last Two

Long Term Effects

The Long-Term Effects of playing with your eyes are clear but there is one more trick to the trade that will help a Quarterback at any level. Once you have mastered holding your eyes through delivery and forehead frontal until target acquisition it is time to move on to the final advanced trait.

Moving safeties is one of the most critical aspects of throwing the ball down the field effectively as you move up in football. Some guys have a natural knack for moving safeties and opening up the post or pushing them off the hash just enough to bang the seam, but it is not something that comes easily to everyone.

First, have a plan and think through your playbook: which plays do we have where the safety needs to move, and where do I need to move him too? Once you establish this, you will know exactly on which plays and in what situations you need to move the safety.

Practice, practice, and practice some more. Moving safeties is one of the hardest things to build into your repertoire as a Quarterback, so work at it constantly. Take three to four plays in every 7 on 7 period to focus on moving them. Test out different ways and figure out what works for you. Below I have listed some top ways Elite Quarterbacks move safeties:

  • The Hard Look Off – This is when the Quarterback puts his eyes way off to the side where they want the safety to move too, looking at a Z go when you are trying to hit the Y on a bender.
  • The Soft Look Off – This is when the Quarterback barely puts his eyes outside of the safety to move him just enough to hit the desired route.
  • The Backside Look Off – This is when the Quarterback puts his eyes on the backside route hoping to influence the safety to either fall off and get wide or shade toward the backside.
  • The Stare Down – This is when the Quarterback looks directly at the safety, trying to stare him down into making a decision or freezing, this is one of the best techniques to use on an inexperienced safety.

The most important thing when focusing on your eyes is to pick one thing to work at a time. Purposeful practice will make you better at any of the above traits, so pick something, work at it, measure if it was effective, then work at it again.


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