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Stick to Sports: The football route tree

By Dillon Anderson, KSL.com  |  Posted Oct 12th, 2017 @ 8:59pm


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Editor’s note: The following is just one part of an ongoing series to describe the ins and outs of football. The series begins with the basics and then delves into the advanced aspects of the sport.

SALT LAKE CITY — A receiver has several different types of routes he can run in order to get open from the defender. Offenses will mix up the different types of routes a receiver will run several times throughout a game to keep defenses guessing. Although the various routes can become more complicated, here are the basics you need to know.

Flat route

The flat route begins the short route series. It can be run to either side of the field, and requires the receiver to run toward the sideline. The flat route can be run to varying depths, which are behind, at or above the line of scrimmage, depending on what a given play calls for. They are often run by running backs and fullbacks.

Slant route

Otherwise known as a “quick slant,” the slant route asks the receiver to run several steps downfield before cutting at a 45-degree angle to the center of the field. It can be run from either side of the field and is generally run by traditional and slot receivers, as well as tight ends. It is a popular route in short yardage situations and near the goalline.

Quick out route

The quick out route asks the receiver to run 5 yards downfield in a straight line before pivoting at a 90-degree angle toward the nearest sideline. It can be run from either side of the field and is generally run by wide receivers and tight ends.

Curl route

The curl route begins the intermediate route series. Also referred to as a “button hook” route, the curl requires the receiver to run to varying depths (generally 7-12 yards) downfield before turning all the way around to face the quarterback. It can be run from either side of the field and is generally run by wide receivers. Much like the slant, the curl is a popular play in short-yardage situations and near the goal line.

Out route

The natural extension of the quick out, the out route requires the receiver to run anywhere from 10-15 yards downfield before breaking at a 90-degree angle toward the nearest sideline. It can be run from either side of the field and is generally run by wide receivers and tight ends.

Dig route

Also referred to as the “in” route, the dig route is the inverse of the out route. It requires the receiver to run anywhere from 10-15 yards downfield before breaking toward the center of the field. It can be run from either side of the field and is generally run by wide receivers and tight ends.

Post route

The post route begins the deep route series. In what amounts to one of the biggest ranges for any route, the post requires the receiver to run 10-20 yards downfield before cutting at a 45-degree angle toward the center of the field. It can be run from either side of the field and is generally run by wide receivers and tight ends.

Corner route

Not dissimilar to the post route, the corner route requires the receiver to run 10-20 yards downfield before cutting at a 45-degree angle toward the nearest sideline. It can be run from either side of the field and is generally run by wide receivers and tight ends.

Streak route

Perhaps the simplest of all the routes, the streak route requires the receiver to run in a straight line downfield. It also known as a “fly” or “go” route in football parlance. It can be run from either side of the field and is generally run by wide receivers and tight ends.

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