Quarterback Target Practice: The Fade Pass

Quarterbacks can practice the fade pass by throwing to a target in the corner of the end zone with this drill.

The fade pass can be challenging for quarterbacks at any level to complete. You need to have just enough touch under your throw to find a receiver open in the corner of the end zone.

But by working on it regularly in practice, teams can turn the fade pass into points on the scoreboard when it matters most.

To help sharpen your trajectory, incorporate this simple quarterback drill into your training plan or practice. All you need is a couple of footballs and a target, like a plastic trashcan, set up in a corner of the end zone.

“I personally like to use a garbage can because it teaches the right trajectory that we want the ball thrown in order to strike the target,” says Chris Merritt, a high school football coaching veteran with more than 25 years of experience and a founder of Heads Up Football.


To set up the fade pass drill, spot the ball between the hashes at several different locations on the field. As the quarterback, your goal is to make accurate throws to the target in the corner of the end zone.

“We want to teach the quarterback to take a step back from the line of scrimmage, loft the ball with air and drop the ball into our target area,” Merritt says.

This drill can add some fun to practice by having all the quarterbacks on the team’s roster participate. You can compete with the other quarterbacks to see who can make the most fade passes to the target.

“So, coaches, if you use the fade pass in your offense, this is a great drill to teach your quarterbacks the ability to drop the ball in with the right trajectory on target,” Merritt says.

There is nothing wrong with a little bit of friendly competition during practice. Made popular on the basketball court, quarterbacks can also play H-O-R-S-E to work on and help improve finesse, touch and accuracy.