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Tight End - Characteristics
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Wide Receiver - Characteristics

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Intro to Football Strategy



Characteristics of a Wide Receiver

There are many athletes who have the ability to run fast in a straight line, but to be a top wide receiver, the athlete must have the one quality that cannot be coached: quickness. He also must be able to change direction without losing any speed, run at full speed the minute he comes off the line of scrimmage, and continue to run flat-out throughout his entire pass pattern. You can almost always pick out a receiver who has great speed by his average yards-per-catch figure for the season.

However, if a player has a desire to be a wide receiver and he does not have tremendous speed, he should not automatically give up on his dream. With a great deal of hard work and dedication, there can be an opportunity for him to make the team at the receiver position. Even though all coaches would like to have receivers with great speed and quickness, there is a place for the receiver who, lacking speed, makes up for it with precise pattern execution, complete focus on the ball when it is thrown his way, and the ability to get away from defensive players or to find the hole between zone coverages.

Along with a thorough grasp of offenses and defenses, another important trait found in any successful wide receiver is concentration. First, he must concentrate on getting off the ball on the snap count. As he releases off the line of scrimmage, the receiver must concentrate to recognize the defense that is being used. While still running at full speed, he must concentrate on running the pattern called in the offensive huddle, running it in the exact manner that will allow him to be in the best position to defeat the coverage being executed by the defense. Finally, as he moves into the final phase of his pass pattern, the wide receiver must be able to shut everything out of his mind, focusing his eyes and all of his attention on the ball as it moves toward him. He must be consumed with total and complete concentration on making the catch.

This ability to focus on the catch and the understanding of the importance of the catch are demonstrated by great wide receivers every time they walk on the field to practice or play football. They know that if they practice with intensity and dedication, attempting to catch any pass that they can touch, their performance in a game will become automatic.

Conditioning, the ability to run on play after play without slowing down, is also a vital characteristic of any great receiver. All football players should be ready to run when practice begins, but the very nature of the job of a wide receiver requires that they come to the practice field in the very best physical condition. Fatigue and a lack of conditioning will turn a good receiver into an average pass catcher faster than anything else that might happen to him during practice or a game.

Playing as a wide receiver on a football team can be exciting for any young player, but he must understand that it is not an easy position to play. He will be required to run continuously during the entire practice session or game when he is on the field. Prospective wide receivers also must realize that while they may not be required to block like an offensive lineman or even a tight end, they will be involved in contact. They should be prepared for this, and especially to "take a hit" after a catch, accepting this inevitable collision as a part of playing the game as a wide receiver.

Play Football The NFL Way is the ultimate football manual for coaches and beginning players who want to learn the basics of football correctly. Author Tom Bass is a former NFL coach with more than 20 years of experience with the Cincinnati Bengals, San Diego Chargers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

For a personalized autographed copy of Play Football the NFL Way, plus information on the new Coach Bass Sport Maps - football guides that aid in watching and enjoying college and professional football, please visit

For information on Coach Bass' In-Depth Coaching Clinics go to






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