Professional football players, particularly quarterbacks like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and rising star Josh Allen, make it look easy to lob the ball 60 yards. As much as people like to think they’re a natural athlete deep inside, most of us can’t hold a candle to this distance, even on our best day.
The average person can feasibly throw a football anywhere between 15-30 yards (45-90 feet) with minimal to moderate accuracy, depending on various factors, such as age, athleticism, etc. If accuracy is eliminated and they rely solely on sheer strength, this distance might increase to 20-45 yards.
In this article, we will discuss how far the average person can throw a football throughout their life, how this distance compares to professional athletes, and how you can improve your throw for an increased distance.
Football Throwing Ranges: From Pee Wee to Pro
If you think the 15 to 30-yard range sounds a bit low for the average person when throwing a football, there’s a reason. Numerous online sources proclaim that the typical range is closer to 40 to as high as 65 yards.
Sadly, we’re here to tell you that this is entirely inaccurate and generates a misconception that people’s baseline abilities are closer to the pros than they are.
The best way to prove that most people would be lucky to throw half the distance of a professional football player is to look at the statistics.
Below is a chart depicting the average distance that football quarterbacks can throw a football with moderate to high accuracy from the Pee Wee level (10 to 11 years old) up to the highest professional level.
|Average Football Distance Thrown by Quarterbacks
|11U/Pee Wee (5th grade)
|12U – 13U (6th and 7th grade)
|14U (8th grade)
|Junior Varsity (9th and 10th grade)
|Varsity (9th to 12th grade)
|Division 2 and 3 (college)
|Division 1 (college)
According to these figures, online sources stating the average person can throw a football 40 to 65 yards are implying that most people can throw as well as an 8th-grade quarterback up to rivaling a member of the NFL. Of course, there are a few issues with this statement.
Breaking Down the Statistics
The first distinction we must make here is that these statistics are compiled of the average distance for football quarterbacks. This means the individuals contributing to the statistic have above-average training in form, hand placement, technique, and other aspects that allow them to throw the football accurately.
One could argue that the average person can match the average throwing distance of an 8th-grade quarterback, but we guarantee the throw won’t be nearly as accurate. If this feat is achieved, the thrower is, more likely than not, putting all their power into one Hail Mary throw, hoping for the best.
Anything above the 14U statistic just isn’t realistic for the average person (and no, newly retired athletes and individuals who perform fitness activities regularly do not count as “average”).
So, next time you watch a professional NFL player botch a throw and claim that you could do better, remember that these individuals can throw a football 60-65 yards, on average, with deadly accuracy and that the longest recorded throws range from 70 to 80 yards. Throwing even half those distances would be impressive.
How to Increase Your Football Throwing Range
When it comes to throwing a football, the average person may not be able to match the distances achieved by professional athletes.
However, with the right technique and practice, it’s possible to improve your throwing accuracy and distance significantly.
Everyone will start in a different place for this process due to various factors, including physical fitness, experience, age, etc.
While these can give you a head start, they won’t replace the core principles and skills everyone must gain to succeed. These center on:
- Hand placement/grip
Once you’ve mastered these aspects and can throw a football accurately at short distances, you can add power incrementally to increase your range without sacrificing precision.
Hand Placement/ Grip
While one could theoretically increase their throwing range by focusing purely on boosting their upper-body strength, this will only get you so far.
Without the proper hand placement/grip and technique, you won’t be able to throw that perfect spiral that slices through the air and allows you to reach the furthest distance possible.
Your hand placement and grip will provide the foundation for an accurate and powerful throw. Start by holding the football in your dominant hand with four fingers slightly spread out and placed on the back half of the ball (the end closest to your body).
One or two fingers (pinky and optional ring finger) should rest on the laces according to your comfort level and hand size. Refrain from placing your palm flat against the football; you want to keep a pocket of air in the palm and rely on your fingertips for grip.
Now that you’re holding the football properly pull the football back towards your throwing shoulder and pull the opposite arm tight against your body. This will help ensure you maintain your balance and form for a high release and proper follow-through.
From here, alter your stance so your feet are shoulder-width apart and your knees are slightly bent. Before you throw, relax your upper body, and then practice the throwing motion by pulling the football backward, up above your head, and then forward.
As the ball travels through this motion, your weight should shift from your back leg to your front leg. This transition will ideally occur when the football is perpendicular to your body (directly above your head), just as you’re about to release it.
Your follow-through is key in maintaining the football’s momentum for as long as possible, ensuring maximum velocity upon release.
As your throwing arm travels over the top of your head and you reach the point of release, be sure to snap your wrist with your thumb pointing downward and your index finger toward your opposite thigh. This will generate the spin you need for the perfect spiral.
Whether you’re trying out for your high school football team or just looking to impress your friends at the park, remember that most people can’t throw further than 30 yards when you’re gauging your next throw or placing bets. Of course, your odds of exceeding this range with accuracy will increase if you learn and regularly practice the basics of this skill.
For more, check out How Fast Can the Average Person Throw a Baseball?
Hey, I’m Jim, and I’m the author of this website. I have been teaching people a wide variety of survivalism topics for over five years and have a lifetime of experience fishing, camping, general survivalism, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up, I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!