The Trick To Looking For The Football

1/31/21 - Eric Colonna

If you ever feel as if you’re right with the receiver in 1on1s but then he ends up catching the ball at the end, this one is for you. Maybe it was a perfectly timed throw, but maybe, and more likely, there’s something you can do about it.

When you’re running with a receiver and it's time to turn back for the ball, follow this rule or you may be in danger. When you flip your head back to locate the ball, look up in the air first, and then your eyes may drop if there’s no ball.

There are a couple main reasons why this is important. First off, when you’re right with the receiver and have decided it’s time to look back, it’s probably already been a few seconds and the ball is already in the air. Expect it to be right above your head and then react by bringing your eyes down if it’s not. If you’ve ever seen the ball bounce off of someone’s helmet, there’s a good chance it’s because they could not locate where the ball was exactly.

Now more on locating the ball. If you already beat your receiver in one way or another and are in a great position to make a play, you better make the most out of this opportunity. Once again, look up in the air to find the ball before lowering your eye level. Imagine you flip your head and look low first and then the ball goes right over your head and you don’t even notice it. Not a good look.

Especially at night or in conditions where it’s harder to see the ball, this will help you keep your eyes on it and never lose track of it. And remember, the whole game is about that ball. Take it seriously.

If you’re thinking about why not look low first and then raise your eye level, it all goes back to timing and ball placement. The QB is not going to throw it right at you and with most plays, he’ll want to get the ball out quick. The ball is meant to drop right into the receivers’ hands, and in most cases, he will probably be just outside of you, close to the sideline and the ball will need to go over you.

See the ball before it gets to the receiver. Pick it off or deflect it. Make a play and be a Pick 6 Athlete.

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