The kid is only 12! or maybe he’s 8. He can’t throw a 7-step comeback at 15, or 20-yard dig across the middle. Heck, in all reality, you may know your kid struggles throwing a curl to your TE. The obvious lack of physical or mechanical development in youth quarterbacks leaves many youth coaches abandoning solid passing schemes all together or, even worse, just chucking and ducking and hoping something good will come out of that 2 seconds of suspense while everyone waits in anticipation to see which team will come up with the ball. It’s like glorified “500”. However, this is a disservice to your quarterbacks, receivers, team, and everyone involved. If you’re not already using a slant-out, flat defender read combination in your youth  league, then now’s the time to start.

I believe any age kids can learn to read this combination; (in fact, the younger the players, the more inexperienced the defense) and I believe they can learn it (ready drum snare) in just three quick steps. (ba-da ta)

Drop as fast as possible

Teach your young quarterbacks proper footwork. It’s your job (you may not have the coaching resources during practice, so put in that extra time before and/or after to get these fundamentals, or have a volunteer work with your quarterbacks). Big kick to separate from the line. Very small cross over to decelerate. Third step planted perpendicular to target and to begin forward throwing transition. Put your QB on the clock. Get him to drop as fast as possible. Give him the rhythmic cadence in the real-time speed you expect. (Bang…bang. bang) All ages should get the ball off in two seconds or less. At the varsity level, we expect 1.4 seconds.

Read the key defender. Make him wrong.

You must teach your young quarterback to get his eyes on the flat defender, or more specifically, the defender aligning near or over the inside receiver. Teach him to identify this player every time. Make the decision simple for your young QB. Don’t get into reading a shoulder, or hips, or eyes etc. Just tell your kid to throw it to the Out unless the keydefender covers it. That way the defender is always wrong.
You’ll give your player a quicker read and shorter throw by aligning your #2 receiver tightly, even at a wing or slot, which also should give you a LB matched up. Also, the out route lined up tight like this should be a straight arrow down the line of scrimmage. The video clip above has the RB in the backfield running a swing route to function as the out. This pressures the key read to make an immediate decision that your QB can read in his first step of the drop.

 

Set feet and eyes and throw.

Once the read has declared, stress the importance of getting the foot perpendicular to the established target. This is easy for the slant, but requires a more deliberate movement to throw the arrow. The quarterback should also transfer his eyes to his target now so that he can make an accurate throw. Put that foot in the ground, slide the weight forward, and deliver a powerful ball. The slower the footwork, the longer the throw the QB has to make on that arrow route, and the more time the defense has to recover. Get the ball out as fast as humanly possible; if your quarterback has a plan, knows what to look for, and pushes his drops quickly, he’ll shred teams with this combo and be ready for more complex reads. After all, the kid is already 12, or 8.

 

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