How To Throw A Football With Small Hands?

Table of Contents

If you have small hands, does that mean that you cannot excel at throwing a football?

Not necessarily. Although quarterbacks generally are really tall and big-handed, you could become really good at football – at least recreationally.

In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to throw a football with small hands. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you will have figured out ways to make your football throwing game better!

How To Throw A Football With Small Hands?

No matter the hand size, there are 3 key components to a successful football throw – grip, stance, and the throw itself. Let’s now take a look at each of these components more in-depth.


If you have small hands, gripping the ball is what you are going to struggle with the most.

The textbook football grip is as follows:

  1. Place your ring finger on the second lace of the ball. The finger should be placed on the lace at the second knuckle.
  2. Your index finger should be placed just over the stitch line. 
  3. Place your pinky underneath the lace.
  4. Position your thumb on the other side of the ball just below the index finger.
  5. Make sure that there is space between your palm and the football.

DICK’s Sporting Goods has a wonderful video guide showing how to correctly hold a football. Check it out if you want a more visual explanation.

This is how football players are taught to hold the ball. But needless to say, small-handed people are going to struggle to achieve a textbook-perfect grip.

Does your inability to perfectly grip the ball mean that you can’t excel at throwing?

Well, not exactly – there are some things that you may try to alleviate the issue:

  • Pick a smaller ball. If you are playing recreationally, then you should just switch to a smaller ball. This will make it way easier for you to grip and throw it. If you are playing professionally though, this won’t be an option for you (though if you have small hands, you probably aren’t playing in a professional team).
  • Play around with your grip. Although there is a “proper” way to grip a football, you may play around with your grip to find what’s comfortable for you. People have differently sized palms and fingers, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone.
  • Grip the ball closer to the top. Among other things, you should also try to grip the football closer to the top where it is narrower. This might be just what you need to obtain a good grip on the ball.

But no matter what, make sure that you have at least one finger on the laces to improve grip and control.

You should probably perform a good number of throws with different grips to determine what works best for you.

Don’t worry too much if you don’t seem to be able to find the right ball grip for quite some time. Even players with large hands struggle to find something 100% perfect for them. Though needless to say, you are most likely going to struggle a bit more to find a good grip with small hands.

I suggest that you additionally have a look at this video showing how NFL quarterbacks such as Tom Brady and Russell Wilson hold the football.

There are some individual differences between quarterbacks, and it’s interesting to see how people’s grips differ based on their preference and physical characteristics.


Once you do find a good grip for your hand size, you are essentially done – there are no special stances or throwing techniques small-handed people need to employ. You should just use classical techniques to make a good throw.

After grip, you have to learn proper throwing stance.

Generally, here’s how you should set up for a throw:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Stand sideways, with your non-throwing shoulder forward.
  3. Bend your knees slightly.
  4. Distribute your weight a little toward your back leg.
  5. Make sure that the foot opposite to your throwing hand is aimed in the direction of your throw.
  6. Don’t stand flat-footed – keep your feet moving and stay on your toes.


Finally, we have the throw, which is a fairly sophisticated motion. As a general rule, you should use the force of your legs to amplify your throw, but there are too many things to cover with words.

Rather than resort to words, I suggest that you have a look at this video guide from Science Insider on how you should grip and throw a football correctly.

There are plenty of aspects to throwing a football, like arm positioning, proper release, and force transfer. Science Insider provides a wonderful insight into how a throw should be performed correctly.

It doesn’t really matter here that your hands are small – the tips given by Science Insider are going to apply to you regardless of hand size.

Is Hand Size Important In Football?

If you are wondering whether hand size is important in football, then yes, it is indeed crucial for quarterbacks. It’s so important, in fact, that even if you are perfect at everything else, you might not be able to make it into a professional team just because of small hands.

Small hands can be an especially huge problem in bad weather conditions when maintaining a grip with the ball becomes very challenging. 

With all that in mind, it’s perhaps no surprise that quarterbacks are typically really tall. 6’3” to 6’4” heights are a common occurrence among quarterbacks. And although hand size is individual and not necessarily connected with height, a taller baseball player likely has bigger hands.

Still, the NFL has seen a fair number of super-successful short quarterbacks, though their number is very small. Among the most famous quarterbacks who are 6 feet or shorter are:

  • Drew Brees, 6’0”.
  • Russell Wilson, 5’11”.
  • Doug Flutie, 5’10”.
  • Sonny Jurgensen, 5’11”.
  • Fran Tarkenton, 6’0”.

By the way, taller quarterbacks are also better at judging distance, meaning that they have an edge not only in gripping but also throwing. With that, taller people are generally preferred as quarterbacks.

Still, from time to time, we see exceptions to this rule, like the 5 players from above.

4th & 10

In the end, small-handed people should, first of all, find a suitable football grip. Play around with your hand positioning on the ball, and keep your hand closer to the tip.

Once you do find the right grip, you should start working on your throwing technique. The throwing technique is the same for everybody regardless of finger length, so you should follow general throwing tips. 

Hopefully, the video tutorials I’ve provided you with earlier will give you a good insight into how a football should be gripped and thrown!

Brad Smith
Brad Smith
Brad Smith has been coaching high school Football for 6 years in Florida. He and his wife have 3 beautiful children who he hopes will become the first Jaguars to win a Superbowl. Other than Football, Brad loves American litterature, parenting, gardening, and home remodeling.