QB development: 5 degrees of H.E.A.T – part 1
By Gino Arcaro on Jun 25, 2017


If Youtube had existed, it would have gone viral.

Tom Denison didn’t set out to get selected by Sports Illustrated for recognition in their Faces in the Crowd section. It was an outcome. Throwing for 836 yards didn’t just happen. Nothing just happens. Nothing happens randomly, accidentally, overnight, or by luck. Throwing for 836 yards in 1998 was considered outrageous. No one had heard of it before. 836 yards brought on a wide-range of emotional responses. Tom was congratulated by some, condemned but others. His 836 yards became a subject of debate. It was great for football, it was bad for football, depending on perspective. For us, it ushered in our post-modern era of football. Post-modernity has a wide-range of definitions. The definition we use is ‘unsettled.’ When things no longer seemed the same, sounded the same, or felt the same, we believed we had entered our version of the post-modern era of football.

Over 90% of our passes were thrown at different distances at five angles: 15 degrees, 45 degrees, and 90 degrees to the LOS. That wasn’t a coincidence.

Here’s Real-life Lesson #4,018 that I’ve taught to football players for 40 years and college law enforcement students for 2 decades: there is no such thing as coincidences. There are only connections. Nothing just happens. Everything happens on purpose with a purpose. We are the product of our REPS. What you REP the most is what you do the most and what you excel at the best.

This 5-degree pattern of pass distribution was the result of heavy investment in a 5 Degrees of H.E.A.T Pass Drill that is one of the pedagogical foundations of our SWAT no-huddle offense.  We teach our QBs to throw H.E.A.T.: High Energy Angular Throws. In addition to the 5 primary angles of passing direction, we throw exclusively fastballs. No changeups. We have never thrown a fade pass since I became head coach in 1984. The maximum trajectory of any pass in our system is 45-degrees. Less air time, less interceptions. You won’t choke if you throw smoke.

The 5 Degrees of Heat is our primary pass play design model. It sets the board and creates consistent QB vision. Five sight lines limit our lines of fire to five. This has been our key element in developing quarterbacks from scratch. I’ve never had a QB Coach in 40 years of coaching in Football Poverty. No offensive coordinator. Bare minimum of assistant coaches. Sometimes none. Solving the problem of QB development in order to average between 500-600 yards per game needed an academic plan that fit our football reality. One of the first learning outcomes we designed in the 1980’s was the 5 Degrees of H.E.A.T. Throwing Drill. The drill teaches QB to throw heat in the direction of the five angles that form the basis of our pass distribution. The drill corresponds to the 5 primary directions of passes we throw (see diagram above)

The key points of the drill are:

  1. The QB is anchored facing the goal-line. His feet are planted at a narrow stance of six inches.
  2. The QB throws without stepping into the throw.
  3. The emphasis is on torso rotation and follow-through.
  4. One set equals 5 passes at the same distance from right to left.
  5. There are 5 basic areas that we throw to – 15 degrees to the LOS (right and left), 45 degrees to the LOS (right and left), and 90 degrees to the LOS.
  6. Receivers are stationary at all 5 targets.
  7. The number of sets and reps equal a minimum 3X DRIVE: three times the number of passes we throw on an average 80-yard drive.
  8. Each time 3X DRIVE is accomplished, the distance between receivers and QB is increased.
  9. Repeat the 3X DRIVE principle until the distance exceeds the QB’s anchored throwing range
  10. Rest between reps is kept to a bare minimum.

The objective of the drill is to develop throwing speed and throwing endurance. This drill incorporates the stationary pass receiving development. Torso rotation and follow-through are the most important elements of throwing speed and endurance in our SWAT system. 3X Drive builds throwing endurance to complete any length and duration of drive without diminishing throwing strength and speed.

The post-modern football era has more challenges than at any time in the history of football. The key for career survival is continuing education. Never stop learning. Coaching football is a Sacred Profession. It’s a calling. My gym, X Fitness Welland Inc., is committed to helping coaches and players by sponsoring Blunt Talk Podcast. Blunt Talk Podcast has included a number of football coaches and ex-football players who have shared powerful insights that are guaranteed to provide optimal learning experience. Please visit Blunt Talk Podcast. All 160 episodes of Blunt Talk Podcast are free, permanently archived, compliments of my gym, X Fitness. Every guest is guaranteed to lift.  Here is the link: http://blunttalk.libsyn.com/


Blessings & all good things.


Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., Level 3 NCCP (National Coaching Certification Program)

Football Head Coach – Niagara X-Men Club Football

Gym Owner – X Fitness Welland Inc. (www.xfitness.ca)

Podcast Host – BLUNT TALK PODCAST (www.blunttalk.libsyn.com)

Gino Arcaro is a widely published author. Currently, he is finishing another book in his non-fiction series: Mystery of Murder: Hashtag Peace. All published books are available on www.Amazon.com and www.Chapters/Indigo.ca, in both soft cover and eBook format. Additionally, his website, www.ginoarcaro.com features his books including: