The center snap might be one of the most ignoredyouth football drills! Whatever your scheme of formations or play design your offense will not get rolling without a consistent ball exchange betweenyour center and your quarterback. Both players need to be carefully instructed in the art of the center snap.Even as some college and pro teams have now switched over to using theshotgun snapmost teams stillutilize the direct snap where the center snaps the ball from the ground directly into the hands of thequarterback. There have been traditionally two methods used to make this ball exchange. I call thesemethods the quarter turn and the half turn. Which one your team decides to use will likely depend uponhow well secured the ball exchange between the quarterback and center is as your offense cannot affordto mishandle snaps in a game.Over the years I have taught both the half turn and the quarter turn. Looking back, I think that I haveused one or the other method based on which one the center better controls the ball as well as to dowith the least restrictions on his movement towards his blocking assignments. Neither method reallychanges too much for the quarterback in the opinion.
The Half Turn
The half turn has been used mostly by the centers who have not been able to fully control the ball withone hand. It is a two handed movement (thumbs together on the top portion of the ball) which allowssolid ball control. This method begins with the center bringing both hands up and back to deliver the ball to the quarterback's hands with a 180 degree vertical turn of the ball. The quarterback must have both of his palms facing down toward the ground with the backs of his hands in contact with thecenter's butt.The quarterback must start with his elbows bent and relaxed (for either direct snap method) so that hecan both raise his hands slightly upward and then forward when the ball is snapped to make sure thatthe ball is not fumbled when the center moves toward his blocking assignment. I call this quarterback movement “riding the snap”.
The Quarter Turn
The quarter turn method is done by the centers who can control the ball completely with one hand. The ball is moved up from the ground with a ¼ horizontal turn and delivered to the quarterback who has aslightly different hand positioning than he did with the half turn method. The quarterback places the back of his throwing hand on middle of the center's butt while the other hand is used to secure the ballonce it hits the hand on the center's butt. The heels of both hands should be contact with each other until the ball is fully secured. The quarterback must again “ride the snap” to prevent fumbles.I believe that the quarter turn method allows the center to become faster at moving into his blockingassignment with more balance especially on plays where he needs to have more lateral positioning. Ialso feel that because he does not have to have as much of his body weight leaning forward that he canmore rapidly position himself as a pass protector.Laces properly positioned for the quarterback----With either method of the direct snap care should betaken to get the ball to the quarterback so that the ball is immediately in position for him to be able togrip the laces with his throwing hand. The center must learn to snap the ball so that it hits thequarterback's hand with the laces on his fingers. All the center has to do to make this happen on thedirect snaps is to adjust his grip until he finds the spot where when he makes the snap the ball does hitthe quarterback in the right place. Since I use the quarter turn with most of my centers this means thatthe ball should rest on the ground with the laces facing the sky and the center gripping the ball with his