During the broadcast of the Broncos/Steelers game, Troy Aikman commented about Tim Tebow's throwing motion. He adamantly stated that Tim in no way shape or form should change his delivery. Coming from a Hall of Fame and Super Bowl-winning quarterback, surely he is more than qualified to take a stand on the issue.
This position was supported by another Hall of Famer, John Elway, who said on the Dan Patrick Show, "when throwing the ball down the field, a quarterback should stick to his natural delivery."
So why have so many scouts and coaches made such a fuss about Tim Tebow's throwing motion and why do they want to change it?
People said the same thing when Philip Rivers came into the league and the last time I checked, he's doing just fine in the National Football League.
For someone who just watches the game on television like a lot of people, I have no idea what the specific disadvantages are for someone with Tim Tebow's delivery. Stop the press for this newsflash, but I am not a scout or a coach.
Having said that, what I do know a little bit about is sports psychology.
Any elite athlete will tell you that focus is essential to their success. When you begin to disrupt their focus, performance suffers.
As an NFL quarterback, there are already enough attentional demands that need to be dealt with.
Understanding defensive coverages and identifying blitzes, knowing the time and situation you are in, battling injury or fatigue, getting the ball out on time, going through progression, performance pressure, living up to a big contract, fearing the strength and size of rushing defenders, and so on.
A quarterback must allocate the proper attentional resources to all of these factors in order to perform at an elite level. Pay too much attention to any one of them and you will often see a sack, fumble, interception, or incompletion.
Most of these actions are well-practiced and automatic processes. Thinking gets kept to a minimum. With enough repitition, errors are kept to a minimum in times of panic and physical movement becomes automatic. This provides more opportunity to pay attention to what's going on around you.
If Tim Tebow is being taught to change his throwing motion, he is giving a lot of thought to an otherwise unconscious process. When you combine this with everything else that an NFL quarterback must be mindful of, you are going to see a performance drop. His mechanics will suffer and it will have a trickle effect to every other part of his game.
If you want to see this disruption in action, try this tip. The next time you go golfing with a friend, make a casual comment about his swing. Say something like, "It's amazing that at the top of your swing your grip opens up a bit, does that help?" The next few holes he will be asking himself, "do I really open my grip?" or "I didn't realize that either." Pretty soon he will be more concerned about the mechanics of his swing rather than what club to use.
Professional athletes have been using these tactics for years.
For Broncos fans, be patient if the organization does intend to change Tebow's delivery. It will be a while before he's practiced enough that it becomes natural for him. He's been throwing his own way for many, many years. To unlearn that and do something different is not only risky, but could derail his development.
John Elway and Troy Aikman might not be coaching experts, but they are very familiar with the saying, "paralysis by over-analysis".
I say leave the kid's throwing motion alone and let the chips fall where they may.
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