|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
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 http://www.CoachBass.com.
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