What are the common traits you look for in a Quarterback? Typical traits that you’ll want in a good QB are: a strong arm, quick feet, high football IQ, leadership, poise, and good under pressure. Chances are if your QB has the majority of those qualities, he’ll be successful. But what is a skill that can take your QB to the next level? Vision. Physical skills and studying film are necessities for QBs. Vision Training needs to become a necessity for all QBs. Improving your vision will improve your on-field play and will help you start to recognize trends and tendencies in real-time.
When I speak on the visual skills needed for a QB to excel at the next level, I think about the following:
Anticipation & Timing
Every play is affected by a QB’s anticipation & timing. Whether it’s a run, pass, draw, or play-action, a QB must set up that play with their timing. From the timing of the snap count to the drop-back or meeting the RB at the mesh point, a QB must have the visual skills to understand the timing of the play based on how the defense reacts. Trusting your timing allows you to make that throw before your receiver makes that cut and gets open.
Anticipation allows a QB to throw to an intended spot rather than at a stationary target. Trusting your visual skills will allow you to correctly anticipate where & when to throw the ball to maximize a receiver's ability to make the catch and gain additional yardage. A QB must also anticipate how a defender will react to a certain play concept and route tree. Trusting your visual skills will allow you to make that tight throw because you are confident the defender cannot get to the ball
Aaron Rodgers gives an excellent example of anticipation & timing. When Rodgers releases the ball, the defender is step for step with Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Rodgers anticipates and times exactly when MVS will come open and delivers the ball right on the money.
Awareness & Depth Perception
Being able to drop back in the pocket and be aware of your surroundings is crucial for a QB’s success. Some QB’s often bail in the pocket and cause disruptions in the blocking scheme due to poor pocket awareness. Successful QB’s can remain aware of their surroundings using their peripheral vision to stay in the pocket long enough to make the play.
Depth Perception is a key visual skill to understand your spatial relations to the others on the field. Having superior spatial awareness allows you to operate within the pocket and understand where your receivers are in relation to one another.
Here is an example of Ben Roethlisberger having great spatial awareness and understanding that he can move up in the pocket to the right as pressure was washed away to the left. Roethlisberger gets depth in the pocket, lets the defense wash away to the left as he shows awareness to run-up to the right long enough to deliver a great ball to Diontae Johnson.
Recognition & Reaction
How quickly can you recognize a defender’s responsibilities and how quickly can you exploit it? Recognition is a visual processing skill that directly translates from the film room to the field. Without recognition skills, your film studies will lack the action needed for success on the field. Recognition skills allow you to retain the information you see and then react and respond accordingly.
Every post-game a successful QB will make comments about how they were able to recognize and react to the defensive scheme. They often will “pick on” a defensive player and put their offensive weapons in position to capitalize on the defender.
Some of the best examples of recognition and reaction skills for QB’s are the use of run-pass options (RPOs.) Here we see Joe Burrow carry through the mesh point until the final moment where he recognizes and reacts to the defense to deliver a TD pass.
Vizual Edge & QB’s
Vizual Edge has a deep connection to Major League Baseball and the scouting process over the past 15 years. With this connection, we have been fortunate enough to collect quite a few notable NFL and Collegiate QB’s Edge Scores, due to the fact these QB’s at some point were legitimate MLB draft prospects.
We have collected the visual data on multiple #1 overall picks, Heisman-winning QB’s, Super Bowl MVPs, and league MVPs, and the one thing all of these QB’s have in common: great Divergence scores. Divergence is the ability to use both of your eyes to follow objects moving further away from you. QB’s with excellent divergence skills will enable them to see the whole field and judge the trajectory and speed of defenders as they locate open receivers within coverage.
QB’s & Vision Training
Vision Training has been used by NFL QB’s to take their on-field play to the next level. Atlanta Falcons QB, Matt Ryan, took advantage of vision training during his 2016 MVP campaign where he led the Atlanta Falcons to a Super Bowl appearance.
If you’re interested in seeing if you have the visual skills to excel as a QB, sign up with Vizual Edge to take advantage of in-home evaluation and customized training plans to see where you stack up against these NFL great QB’s.