Slot Receiver Basics


A slot is a narrow notch, groove, or opening, such as a keyway in machinery, a slit for a coin in a vending machine, or an expansion slot on a computer motherboard. The term may also refer to a unit of account in banking or a position on a card game deck.

A Slot receiver is a football player who lines up between and slightly behind wide receivers and tight ends on an offensive formation, typically in a passing offense. These players are usually a bit shorter and smaller than outside wide receivers, but they need to have excellent route-running skills because they receive the majority of their targets.

Most slot receivers have great speed and agility, although teams tend to focus more on their ability to run precise routes. They also need to be able to block effectively on running plays in which they aren’t the ball carrier. Because of their positions on the field, slot receivers are at higher risk for injury than other wide receivers.

On a running play, the Slot receiver acts as an extra blocker for the team’s other wide receivers and tight ends. In addition, he runs a variety of short and intermediate running routes, such as the slant and the fade. These plays often require the Slot receiver to break free from defenders, so good route-running and excellent hands are vital for this position.

When a Slot receiver receives the ball, he’ll usually look to the sideline before making his decision on whether to run the ball downfield or throw it. He’ll then make his pre-snap motion and set himself up to receive the ball. This will allow him to run routes that match up with other receivers on the field, which can confuse the defense and open up bigger holes for running backs to operate in.

On a passing play, the Slot receiver will line up to the inside or outside of the formation and run a precise route that matches up with the other wide receivers on the team. He’ll also be a vital part of the team’s double-move and triple-move concepts.

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