Introduction: How to Catch a Football (NFL Regulation Size)

Picture of How to Catch a Football (NFL Regulation Size)

This presentation will teach you how to properly catch a football.  I view this as a viable skill because, as Men of Morehouse, we need to be well versed in things both inside and outside the classroom in order to be true Renaissance Men.  Being one of the most popular sports in North America, American football is played frequently, and knowing how to properly catch the ball can further enjoyment of the great sport.  

Step 1: The Area

Picture of The Area

First, have enough space to throw, preferably a field where nothing can be broken, as well as enough room to move around.  

Step 2: The Ball

Picture of The Ball

Next, have a regulation size ball to catch (this matters because different sizes are present in pee-wee, college, and NFL).  The ball size can affect the exact way the ball is caught.

Step 3: The Receiver (Catcher)

Picture of The Receiver (Catcher)

Have someone capable of catching the football, preferably an athlete or someone with large hands.  The correct hand position is holding your hands together at the index finger and thumb, with your fingers spread wide, with enough room to grab the ball out of the arm.  The fingers are wide in order to grip the entire ball, and they grab it and hold it in your hands.  This is the standard catch.  

Step 4: The QB (Thrower)

Picture of The QB (Thrower)

The one to throw the ball must have some kind of accuracy.  The QB (pass thrower) holds the ball and throws it to the receiver (Catcher).  They should be able to throw the ball in different directions, including straight at the receivers eyes, over their shoulder, and below the knees.  

Step 5: The Catch

Picture of The Catch

When the ball is thrown, the receiver (catcher) must try and catch the ball in the "diamond" (center) of their hands.  This ensures the ball isn't dropped and can be carried easily.  Constant eye contact with the point of the ball is recommended, as this increases focus and prevents easy drops.  

Step 6: Catching Below the Knee (low Passes)

Picture of Catching Below the Knee (low Passes)

Sometimes, passes will wobble and go lower than intended.  If this happens, the hands must be placed pinky to pinky, forming a net below the knees and allowing an easier catch.  Running backs are most likely to make these catches, and they are also ones that require more concentration.  

Step 7: Catching Downfield (Over the Shoulder)

Picture of Catching Downfield (Over the Shoulder)

The next level of a catch is the over the shoulder catch.  The QB throws further and higher, and the receiver must place their hands in a different spot to catch the football.  The ball typically will go over their shoulder, with the hands being placed outstretched away from the body, pinkies joined in order to form a net. This catch typically is needed when the receiver is further downfield. This catch usually requires the most concentration.  

Step 8: Tucking After the Catch

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After the ball is caught, tuck it under your arm to prevent a fumble (loss of the ball) or prevent a drop.  Typically, the ball is placed near the sideline (out of bounds line) in order to prevent people from tearing it away.  Tucking is essential in ball security, as just carrying it can make the ball easily dropped.  

Step 9: YAC (yards After Catch)

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The purpose of throwing the ball is to gain yards.  In the NFL, after the ball is caught, receivers will sprint upfield.  Gaining yards is the fastest way to score touchdowns (TDs), winning the game.  

Step 10: Mechanics of a Catch.

Picture of Mechanics of a Catch.

The ideal catch is using your fingertips; allowing the ball to get close to your body increases the chance of a drop.  To improve the chance of catching with your fingertips, different drills are utilized.  An example is a device that attaches tennis balls halves to your palms, forcing you to catch with your fingers.

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