Behind The Scenes: Quarterback Mechanics

The purpose of this article is to give a general look into some analysis and training during a throwing transformation at The Range. Every session and every throw has intent based on the the initial analysis. Its difficult to exactly describe exactly how the changes happen via this forum but I hope this will give a glimpse into how we approach a professional transformation. James Franklin was talented before he walked in the doors of The Range. Our job is to let him fully realize his abilities and skill through instruction in the most effective and subtle way possible. It is clear to me that many of the changes we make for Quarterback mechanics are to bring their release and movement back to a more natural action. More often than not, we are un-coaching exaggerated techniques installed at some point in their career.

There are many stages of Quarterback training and development. Generally speaking there is three types we focus on. Technical Training focusing on specific movement patterns in a controlled environment. Instinctual Training which is a simple response to a specific stimulus and Tactical Training which are actions carefully planned to gain a specific result. Franklin’s training was focused on the technical side for most of his visit.

James Franklin

James Franklin: Professional quarterback for the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League and former Missouri Tiger great.

Laying Down the Foundation

Our goal for James is to install new throwing mechanics for the 2016 season with a specific set of benchmarks crafted from an extensive workout evaluation. We want the athlete to really understand what his goals are for their time here and to give them a formula for future corrections. Essentially we’re installing a new upgraded operating system for the athlete.

During the process we interview the athlete to get a clear understanding of critiques and deficiencies that previous or current coaches have pointed out. This is important to make sure we set proper expectations going into the training. We take into account what other coaches have criticized about the player but do not always use the previous criticisms as gosple to help craft the workout goals. We have to make sure that we formulate our own evaluation based on what we see rather than assuming that what the athlete “needs to work on” is actually what the need to work on. An example would be, “He needs a quicker relate, the ball takes to long to get out of his hands”. Sometimes thats simply related to poor understanding of the offense therefor it slows the decision making process, thus making the athlete slow to release the ball. Its not actually a function of having a slow release.

Franklin will spend 14 days working on his mechanics at The Range with Coach Hewlett. In addition, Coach Ivie and Coach CJ Wellington handling the mental and performance training respectively. James is already armed with natural talents but more importantly, focus and work ethic. You can check out Coach Ivie’s website right here.


Lets Get Started

After the evaluation we determined that the left side of the body needed to stabilize better through the throwing action and a more efficient ball path was desired. The left side of the body for a right handed Quarterback becomes the axis of rotation during the throw. Its important to keep as much stability with the axis as possible during the throwing sequence. Ball path simply relates to the track that the ball takes after front hand separation.

One other issue that stood out was a over rotation of the lead shoulder prior to the separation of the front hand off the football. Specifically, the lead shoulder would close past the target midline. This was also linked to a combination move of early hip rotation and shoulder rotation in an opposite direction that was previously installed. The premise of the previous coaching method has validity in terms of the kinetic chain, but the common mistake made was to over exaggerate a concept to get a desired result. It created and serious timing issues during these throw. This miss timing in his kinetic chain was causing an inconsistent truck rotation, resulting in decreased synergy with the throwing arm. Despite this, James was still throwing the ball well, but we could definitely see the potential power and accuracy gains by correcting these issues.

DAY ONE - Evaluation and Installation 

  • Base Throw Analysis with 4 camera angles at 240fps
  • Three and Five step drop, Middle, Right and Left.
  • Throwing with movement. Escape vs designed
  • General work flow plan for duration of training


  • AM Throwing Focused workout
  • AM Performance and Recovery Session
  • PM Movement and Throwing focused workout


Day 4 - Before on the left, after on the right:
One of the primary goals was to eradicate unnecessary movement in the arm path and body.  We have reduced the overall loading path of the throwing arm through the horizontal L and vertical L phase (essentially loading phase) of the throw. These minor adjustments have allowed us to decrease stress levels on the arm and allow for a quicker and more effect path for the arm to move though the throw. With less effort expended during the load phase, Franklin now has a more consistent ball path resulting in a more accurate and velocity maintaining throw. This is a small part of the process but you can see the results with a subtle but important change in the throwing arm.


Day 5 - Before on the left, after on the right:
During a 60 minute session our focus was on reducing the exaggerated horizontal L position during the loading phase of the throw. You can see the nose of the football spike upward in the picture. We utilized very controlled throwing at 15 yards depth allowing James to zero in on the reduced elbow lift after hand separation.  We instituted a more continuous and fluid “scoop” into the vertical L position to achieve this effect. Fluidity and smoothness being the key coaching parameters in all phases on the release. Our next steps is to control the early hip rotation without interrupting his throwing sequence.

Please do not attempt these changes without proper consultation from one of our coaches. Each athlete is unique, therefor requires different training. There is no “on-size-fits-all” training technique for any athlete.

THE RANGE: Competitive Advantage

Many elite athletes and coaches use Coach Hewlett’s throwing programs to develop great quarterbacks. We use technical training, the latest in performance and recovery techniques to develop throwing velocity, accuracy and consistency from the arm down to the feet. When you train with Coach Hewlett at The Range, your program has been rigorously tested utilizing slow motion technology to ensure your training works to get you the results you desire.