QB Essentials, Part 1: Develop Rhythm and Timing With the Three-Step Drop

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Short passes and timing routes are can't-miss options when your team needs yards in a hurry. As a quarterback, connecting on these quick-strike plays depends on your ability to execute a three-step drop, find the open man and deliver an accurate pass to your playmaker.

Precise timing is paramount for shredding opposing defenses with these high-percentage passes, and it starts with the three-step drop.

"You have to develop a nice, easy rhythm with your drops," says elite quarterbacks coach Anton Clarkson. "Understand that you need to use your legs as you go into the drop and find a good rhythm."

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Short passes and timing routes are can't-miss options when your team needs yards in a hurry. As a quarterback, connecting on these quick-strike plays depends on your ability to execute a three-step drop, find the open man and deliver an accurate pass to your playmaker.

Precise timing is paramount for shredding opposing defenses with these high-percentage passes, and it starts with the three-step drop.

"You have to develop a nice, easy rhythm with your drops," says elite quarterbacks coach Anton Clarkson. "Understand that you need to use your legs as you go into the drop and find a good rhythm."

Brush up on your three-step drop with the following step-by-step instruction* from Clarkson:

Three-Step Drop

  • Assume ready position with feet shoulder-width apart and left foot staggered slightly back, with approximately 80 percent of weight distributed on back foot
  • Pivot off ball of left foot, turning heel toward left
  • Drive off left foot and launch first step with right foot, stepping outside of right shoulder, not directly back
  • Execute crossover step with left foot, landing with foot pointed toward line of scrimmage
  • Sweep right leg behind crossover leg
  • Plant right foot firmly on ball of foot
  • Transfer weight to front foot to deliver pass

*for a right-handed passer

Coaching Points: Keep head up and eyes downfield // Hold right elbow to side toward ribcage with hand at shoulder level // Over-exaggerate first step

Clarkson: "Take your first step outside your right shoulder, and in theory, it's going to finish more toward the middle because you're over-exaggerating that movement."

Anton Clarkson is an elite quarterbacks coach and head instructor for the QB Weekly. His roster of  professional clients includes Tampa Bay Bucs signal-caller Josh Freeman and Jake Locker, the eighth overall selection (by the Tennessee Titans) in the 2011 NFL Draft. Learn more about Clarkson and the many services offered by the QB Weekly.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: FOOTBALL | QUARTERBACK | COACH | FIRST STEP | CROSSOVER