The Art of: Passing a Football with Sean Patterson
Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 23:09
When I stepped onto Rooney Field for a football lesson with senior quarterback Sean Patterson, my main goal was to not be terrible. While I may not be a Heisman candidate or a powder-puff football star, I wasn't the worst quarterback in history. Mission accomplished.
The goal of the lesson was to learn how to throw a football at a set target like a quarterback would and hope the ball ends up where it needs to go.
The lesson, and my inevitable embarrassment, started off badly. Sean throws with his left hand, I with my right, so each step would have to be the opposite of what I watched him do.
I listened intently to the basics: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, point your body towards the intended target, step forward with your front foot and quickly release the ball bringing your hand down to your opposite thigh.
I nodded - it seemed easy enough. I stood, placed my feet as Sean had told me then followed his steps and released the ball. It hit the Keller Fieldhouse with a loud thud, about four feet to the left of my intended target: the goal post.
I shrugged it off, happy that I managed to get some spin on the ball. As a kid, I was never able to master the ability to add spin to a football, no matter how many afternoons I spent playing catch with my dad. I chalked that throw up as a victory.
Sean nodded and told me I was close before demonstrating again. He hit the goal post perfectly.
He handed me the ball for a second try and it was even worse than the first. It had no spin and hit the ground before even making it to the goal post. Even if it hadn’t been short, there was no way it would have hit my intended target, as the throw was off by six feet to the left of the goal post.
Sean encouraged me to try one last time, try being the key word.
I positioned my body and knew as soon as I released it that this was the worst throw yet. It hit the Fieldhouse and was roughly eight feet away from the goal post.
While this may seem “terrible” to most, for me and my lack of hand-eye coordination, I considered these throws to be satisfactory. There’s a reason I was a swimmer through high school, a sport required no hand-eye coordination at all. That is my type of sport.
Unlike my free-throw lesson with basketball star Orsi Szecsi, I wasn’t so bad that I would have injured innocent bystanders. I consider that an improvement.
I know playing football, even in a pick-up or intramural game, is not in my future. Since my lack of hand-eye coordination made it impossible for me to hit my mark standing still, I can only imagine the damage I would do if I tried running and passing like a quarterback would. It’s safe to say that my football career will be limited to a fantasy league or Madden NFL 2013.
If you’re more coordinated than I am, Sean’s tips may help you improve your football throwing. If you are planning on quarterbacking an intramural team or the powder-puff team, just remember these basic steps: Keep your feet shoulder width apart, take one quick step forward while releasing the ball and let your hand fall down to your opposite thigh and your passes will be closer to their mark than ever.
Good luck with your future football endeavors, you won’t see me on the field with you.