Quarterback Tips: How to Take the Snap

The snap starts off almost every play in football, so it’s important to know the basics and the role you play for this vital part of the game.

August 11, 2017

The exchange between the center and the quarterback needs to be perfect.

To execute a proper snap, place your hands under the rear of the center. Your wrists should be touching with your palms and fingers spread wide. The hand on top should be your throwing hand, either left or right whichever one you throw with, and the palm of that hand should be pointing toward the ground.

Extend your arms away from your body so that you’re far away from the center. This is important so that as soon as you take the ball, you can clear your feet and not get tangled in the action at the line.

You should be in a balanced, athletic stance with your knees bent. Your feet should be staggered, shoulder width apart. Your front foot should be on the foot on the same side as your throwing arm. So, if you are right handed, your right foot should be forward. This will be opposite if you’re a lefty. When staggering your feet, the toes of your back foot should be even with the instep of your front foot, so only a slight stagger.

To make sure you are in an athletic position, have a coach or teammate nudge you a couple of times, pushing you in various directions to make sure you are in the right position and maintain balance. This is a simple drill to help check your position when taking a snap.

Repetition can help you improve this skill. Practice the snap without a center, having a coach take a knee while facing the quarterback. Your coach should put pressure on the top of your top hand, and on your command, snap the ball into your hands. This drill can be done with multiple snaps in quick progression to create a high level of repetition. Next, progress to work together with the center on the snap.

Now, you're ready to learn how to execute the handoff.