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How To Throw A Spiral With A Football

Throwing a spiral is important for a quarterback. It helps the football fit into tight windows, but more importantly, it helps receivers catch the ball easier.

Throwing a spiral with a football requires proper hand placement on the football, preferably near the top of the football, and a release that requires the index finger to be the last finger to touch the football.

In this article, we’re going to show you how to throw a spiral with a football.

Throwing A Spiral With A Football

Weather plays a major factor in how the ball rotates through the air. If it’s a cold night, rain, wind, or just a normal sunny day, the atmosphere affects football.

The goal is to have an atmosphere to play no part in how you deliver the football. The spiral helps the ball spin at a higher rate of velocity but also helps to eliminate some of the atmospheric flaws.

It also helps the receiver catching the football. If it’s a friend or a teammate, it’s straightforward to catch a spiral and rather difficult to catch a wobbly football.

As a quarterback, you want to make the receiver’s catching course as easy as possible. Before we begin, if you’re a high school or college football player, we recommend throwing a high school or college-sized football.

This way, your hand can take the shape of the ball you’ll be delivering. Consistency and muscle memory are key.

How Do I Throw A Spiral With A Football?

To throw a spiral with a football, a few fundamental pieces need to be noted.

  1. Grip
  2. Mechanics

Quarterback mechanics and ball release are what ultimately make the ball spin in a spiral.

How To Hold A Football

Gripping football is the most important part of throwing a spiral. The hand should be more toward the top of the football. The index finger should be about 6 inches away from the top of the ball.

This is going to be the last finger that leaves the football when you throw it. Here is a great visual from wikiHow on holding the football.

throwing a spiral with a football

One coaching point, not shown in the picture above, is to make sure there’s air between the palm and the football. You don’t want to grip the football too hard, but you’ll need to have a good enough grip that it doesn’t slip out.

Once the index finger is settled to the top of the football, and the middle finger is on top of the top lace (shown above), settle your last two fingers on the laces. If you’re younger and using a bigger football, it will be harder to generate a spiral.

Try to find a football that you can hold with one hand no problem.

Proper Football Throwing Mechanics

If you’re looking to throw a spiral, we recommend working on one of these mechanics a day. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too much information in one day. These small critiques will help you, whether you’re casually throwing a football or strive to be the next Tom Brady.

Three points to pay attention to regarding your throwing mechanics:

  1. Arm Slot
  2. “C”
  3. Finish

Arm Slot When Throwing A Football

The big key with the arm slot is to make sure your elbow is at a neutral arm slot before it gets to the 90-degree arm slot. Coaches will often use the term “L to L.”

This means that you’ll need to put your arm in an “L” shape, then get to the second “L” to create a whip action with your arm. The first arm slot is known as the first “L.”

how to throw a spiral with a football

The second arm slot is known as the second “L.” As shown in the picture below from wikiHow, you’ll notice the player has his arm in an L position.

how to throw a spiral in football

Notice the bicep/forearm to create a 90-degree angle. This is important because it helps you stay on top of the football, which ultimately helps with the finish and release point.

The “C” is the grip of the football when your arm hits the most horizontal point in your delivery.

Here’s a zoomed-in image of a quarterback throwing to help you understand what we mean.

The index finger should be the “top part” of the C as the player cocks his arm back.

See Our Complete List Of Helpful Football Articles Here

Finish With Index Finger

All of these small mechanic pieces are great, but the finish is the biggest part. The last finger to leave the football is the index or pointer finger.

Like how a baseball pitcher throws a curveball (but spinning the wrist in), the thrower wants to spin the wrist outward, leading with the index finger.

quarterback throwing a spiral

Here’s a great visual of the quarterback finishing with his index finger and the ball spiraling off his hand.

Throwing a spiral isn’t easy to do at first, but it will become an easy routine once you get into a rhythm. Our best advice is to make sure you start with a smaller football to get the best grip possible and then work your way up with a bigger ball.

Here is a video reference if you’re looking to get more in-depth with throwing a spiral.


If you want, throw a spiral. It takes consistent practice. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t throw a spiral on the first try. It takes many reps to master throwing a spiral on every throw.

Stick with it, and soon you’ll be throwing the ball farther and harder downfield with a well-rounded spiral.

Related Q & A

How To Practice Throwing The Football Alone?

Set up multiple targets with multiple footballs. Practice throwing each football at each target. Move the targets between short, intermediate, and long to practice all 3 phases of throwing a football.

How Do I Throw A Football Farther?

Perfect the mechanics. Throwing a football is all mechanic-based. Like throwing a baseball, it uses a similar type of whip motion to project the ball downfield. Focus on footwork and arm mechanics to put more rotation and spin on the football.