With the growing popularity of back shoulder throws and match up zone - I notice that very few teams actually throw good looking vertical shots anymore. But taking a good opportunity to go deep can be a great way to take the top off of a defense!
I call it a ‘fade’ myself- but if you understand how to run a deep vertical, you understand that to 'fade' is a weak and worthless description. But it may be better to say a 'GO' route or a 9 route or a vertical.
Understanding the Need and Use of a Deep Throw
I personally don't think teams throw outside vertical routes enough. The worst thing that can happen on a deep throw is an interception. If the tackle is made quickly, that failure is as good as a punt.
Amazing Paradox: An off corner is easier to beat on a deep throw than an up corner. It used to bother me to see our Qb or rec's get discouraged if we called a vertical throw and the corner was way off. It wouldn't work because their lack of belief did not allow for full speed and excellent execution.
If the receiver will attack the technique of the corner, he can run up on and by a corner who flips his hips too late. Also, we should come down with the ball more often because of having more experience in those reps.
Release at line of scrimmage (Diagram on the top): It is so important to get full speed in a hurry. If pressed, take the outside release as the preferred release, but no need to run through a wall. If the corner is hard outside, take the easiest route. The key is to get by and stacked on top of a press corner. Be strong on top of him and DO NOT GET FUNNELED.
Releasing Downfield (Diagram at the bottom): The WR needs to slip the off corner with the easiest release with as little friction as possible. But he wants to quickly STACK the corner and not weakly fade to the sideline. TELL THEM TO BE POWERFUL AGAINST THE CORNER.
The Importance of the POWER STACK- Teach your wideouts to run with a strong body that wants to leave the corner late. Corners are taught to rub, slap, and tug to slow the WR down. Keep the rec. working with hard pumping arms and driving knees
IMPORTANT COACHING POINTS:
QB’S- “DO NOT THROW IT OUT OF BOUNDS!”- I know our Qb’s must think we are crazy because we act like no big deal if a deep ball is intercepted...but we yell at them when they throw it out of bounds.
RECEIVER’S “NO FRANKENSTEIN ARMS”- HUGE MISTAKE is to have a WR run downfield with his arms stuck out stiff. Teach them to keep pumping their arms while the ball is in the air and stretch late for the catch.
FIGHTING FOR THE BALL- I try to stress to our wide rec's that this is THEIR ball and they need to aggressively fight for it with both hands and laser eyes. Out hustle and out jump. Most interference calls go against the defense.
SAFETY FIRST- I do not let our rec's dive for long balls in practice. Use jumping pits or mats to safely practice.But to not lay out in a game is a loaf.
Protecting the Throwing Lane: This is huge. I do NOT want to rec to 'fade' wide. I want him STACKED vertical. I also want him to leave the QB room to throw it a little wide. Some coaches say that the receiver owns the numbers and the Qb owns the sideline. But I caution all coaches to not over coach the outside throw. Of course we do not want it inside- but I like the idea over the top of his head- downtown with air. Throwing the ball out of bounds is worse than throwing it inside. Make sure rec's provide a minimum of 4 yds, even after double moves.
Throwing the DEEP BALL with air. A high throw allows more room for error and adjustment.The only time I allow a ‘5 iron’ shot over a ‘9 iron’ shot is when the cover is blown. Cover 2 hole throws need to be a ‘2 iron stinger’. I like using trash cans in the summer to work on throwing the deep ball with good air.