How Patrick Mahomes helped Trey Lance take a ‘substantial leap’ in training

To be the best, you have to learn from the best, and it looks like Trey Lance is well on his way to making an inspiring comeback for the 49ers, with a little help from one of the flashiest quarterbacks in the game. NFL.

Lance worked with the Kansas City Chiefs’ two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Patrick Mahomes in April, and his throwing motion has apparently improved dramatically.

QB coach Jeff Christensen worked closely with Lance at the start of the offseason and, following the 49ers star’s long recovery from a season-ending ankle injury, told The Athletic’s Matt Barrows that the “biggest breakthrough” had come while working alongside Mahomes last month.

“I said, ‘Look at this. Look what he’s doing here,” Christensen told Barrows, recalling the conversation with Lance. “It was something I was telling him to do and he wasn’t quite doing it. And then he saw Patrick apply it perfectly. And I think that visual bond, that mental bond, helped him get over that mental hump.

“And to his credit, he just got better and better,” added Christensen. “[Over] the past seven days, every day has been a substantial leap.

After the 49ers traded three first-round picks to select Lance No. 3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, his career didn’t go as planned. He broke his right index finger in the 2021 preseason finale in San Francisco and, according to 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, he hasn’t fully recovered in 2022. Lance had to “change completely” his grip on football, and it took him a while to adjust.

While trying to fully recover from the finger injury, Lance suffered the Week 2 ankle injury, which required two separate surgeries and a lengthy recovery. But entering his third season with the 49ers, Lance’s finger and ankle are no longer a problem.

“He’s been able to get such a better base in the last two months that I think Trey is the best we’ve got. [seen] him right now,” Shanahan said earlier this month at the Dwight Clark Legacy Series event. “Yeah, we have to get into the OTAs and practice, but when you look at his feet, his timing, how he throws the ball, he’s in a much better place now than he was last year at this era.”

In addition to Lance’s restructured throwing motion, Christensen also pointed to a significant improvement over what was previously seen as a growing concern.

Christensen told Barrows that when the two started working together in early March, Lance’s arm would become sore and tender after a few days. Lance would need the day off to rest and get treatment, and Christensen said that shouldn’t happen to quarterbacks who have the “right technique.”

But, after their time together, Christensen noticed significant progress. He told Barrows that after a high-intensity session in which Lance threw 150 passes, he returned home to the bay that night, expecting to be in pain the next day, as he usually would. .

“And I called him at ‘Frisco on Saturday at noon,” Christensen told Barrows. “And he thought for sure that his arm would kill him. And I said, ‘OK, how’s your arm?’ He said: “I can’t believe I woke up and it wasn’t painful at all.” ”

When asked if Lance had experienced any pain issues since the 49ers’ offseason program, Christensen replied, “Zero.”

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Lance’s recovery has been as much mental as it is physical, and Christensen is eager to see the quarterback’s full potential unlocked under Shanahan’s system.

“With his calling game and the advantages and abilities of this kid, I think he can be amazing,” he said.

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