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Sports Psychology: How To Idenitfy A Great Quarterback

Posted by: Dr. Granat on August 20, 2014

I have been watching and loving professional football for many years.

I have also studied the quarterback position very carefully. This position is quite complicated and the outstanding quarter backs do a lot of mental and physical things very well:

They communicate effectively with their teammates, coordinators and coaches.
They have great vision.
They read defenses well.
They have great footwork, agility and balance.
They can throw a variety of passes-long balls, short balls, screen passes and medium length passes.
They have quick releases.
They are adept at faking with the ball.
They know how to manage the clock.
They avoid making costly errors and turnovers.
They can motivate and inspire their teammates.
They have a good sense of the talent on their team.
They develop a chemistry and special connection with their receivers.
They can scramble when necessary.
They can throw from the pocket and on the run.
They sell the running play effectively when they use play action.
They have good relationships with their teammates.
They take responsibility for their actions.
They can remain calm, focused and confident throughout the game.
They avoid getting too high or too low.
They can be resilient when they are down and after suffering a defeat.

Football fans love to talk about their top quarterbacks. My favorites are
Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady, John Elway, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Aikman, Aaron Rogers, Roger Staubach, Fran Tarkenton, Joe Namath and Johnny Unitas.

It is a little early to know for sure, but I think Johnny Manziel may turn out to be the next great athlete to play the quarterback position, particularly if he learns to manage his emotions and some of his off the field activities in a more mature manner.

One thing that the great quarterbacks do that younger and less talented players do not seem to be able to do is the faking out of defensive players with their eyes.

Many linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties like to “read the quarterbacks eyes.” Top quarterbacks seem to be able to convince defensive players that they are about to throw in one direction. And in a split section they change their target. This ability can give the quarterback and his offense a huge advantage in a game situation.

Conversely, quarterbacks who “lock in” one just one receiver tend to be predictable and are more vulnerable to interceptions.

The next time you are watching Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, notice how good they are at disguising the part of the field they will eventually throw the ball into.

Young quarterbacks who want to play at the collegiate level or at the professional level should begin to develop this kind of disguise and deception early in their careers.

Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a Psychotherapist in Rive Edge, New Jersey and The Founder of Visit to learn more about his many peak performance and mental toughness programs.
Dr. Granat can be reached at or at 888 580-ZONE.

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