In the game of football, passing plays are a crucial component of offensive strategy. To execute successful passes, teams rely not only on the arm strength and accuracy of the quarterback but also on the precise routes run by the receivers. This is where football passing patterns come into play.
Football passing patterns refer to the predetermined routes that receivers run to create separation from defenders and provide options for the quarterback. These patterns are carefully designed to exploit defensive weaknesses and maximize the chances of completing a pass.
In this guide, we will delve into the intricacies of football passing patterns, exploring the various types of routes commonly used, such as slants, curls, posts, and go routes.
We will examine the importance of timing, footwork, and communication between the quarterback and receivers to execute these patterns effectively. Additionally, we will discuss how defenses counter these patterns with different coverage schemes.
What Do the Football Passing Patterns Mean?
Football passing patterns refer to predetermined routes that receivers run during a passing play. These patterns are designed to create opportunities for the quarterback to complete a pass to a receiver.
Each passing pattern has a specific purpose and is intended to exploit weaknesses in the defense or create favorable matchups for the offense. Some common football passing patterns include the go route, slant route, out route, cover route, and in route.
These are just a few examples of passing patterns, and there are many variations and combinations that teams use to confuse defenses and create opportunities for successful passing plays.
The specific passing patterns used in a game depend on the offensive system, the defensive alignment, and the game plan of the team.
What Are the Football Passing Patterns?
Football passing patterns, also known as route concepts, are predetermined routes that receivers run during a passing play. These patterns are designed to create opportunities for the quarterback to complete a pass to a receiver.
Understanding these patterns is crucial for both quarterbacks and receivers to execute successful passing plays.
One of the most common passing patterns is the Go Route. In this pattern, the receiver sprints straight down the field, aiming to outrun the defenders and catch a deep pass. This route is often used to stretch the defense vertically and create opportunities for big plays.
Another vertical route is the Post Route. The receiver initially runs straight down the field, then makes a sharp cut towards the middle of the field, looking to catch a pass deep downfield.
This route is effective against defenses that have a single high safety, as it creates a one-on-one matchup between the receiver and the safety.
The Corner Route is another vertical pattern where the receiver runs diagonally toward the corner of the end zone, aiming to catch a pass near the sideline in the end zone. This route is commonly used in the red zone to create scoring opportunities.
Horizontal routes are designed to attack the defense horizontally, stretching them from sideline to sideline. One popular horizontal route is the Slant Route.
The receiver runs diagonally towards the middle of the field, typically at a 45-degree angle, looking to catch a pass between the linebackers and safeties. This route is effective against zone coverage and can create separation for the receiver.
The Out Route is another horizontal pattern where the receiver runs towards the sideline, making a sharp cut towards the boundary, aiming to catch a pass near the sideline. This route is commonly used to attack the soft spots in zone coverage and create opportunities for short to intermediate gains.
Conversely, the In Route involves the receiver running towards the middle of the field, making a sharp cut towards the inside, looking to catch a pass between the linebackers and safeties. This route is effective against man coverage and can exploit the space between defenders.
Combination routes involve multiple receivers running different routes to create confusion for the defense. One common combination route is the Curl Route.
The receiver runs straight down the field for a few yards, then quickly turns back towards the quarterback, aiming to catch a pass in front of the defenders. This route is effective against zone coverage, as it allows the receiver to find the open space in the intermediate area.
The Comeback Route is similar to the Curl Route, but the receiver initially runs straight down the field, then quickly turns back towards the quarterback, looking to catch a pass near the sideline.
This route is often used when the defense is playing off coverage, allowing the receiver to come back to the ball and make a catch.
The Dig Route is another combination route where the receiver runs straight down the field, then makes a sharp cut towards the middle of the field at a depth of 10-15 yards, aiming to catch a pass between the linebackers and safeties.
This route is effective against both man and zone coverage, as it creates separation in the intermediate area.
Option routes give the receiver the flexibility to adjust their route based on the coverage they face. One example is the Choice Route. The receiver reads the defense and adjusts the route based on the coverage, making a decision to break in, out, or continue running based on the defender’s positioning.
The Wheel Route is another option route where the receiver initially runs towards the sideline, then turns upfield and runs along the sideline, looking to catch a pass deep downfield.
By executing these routes effectively, teams can create opportunities for successful passing plays and move the ball down the field.
How Do You Control a Football Pass?
Controlling a football pass involves several key elements, including proper technique, hand positioning, body positioning, and focus. Here is a detailed explanation of how to control a football pass:
When preparing to catch a pass, it is important to have your hands in the correct position. Form a diamond shape with your thumbs and index fingers, creating a target for the ball.
Your fingers should be spread apart, relaxed, and slightly bent at the knuckles. This hand position allows for better control and reduces the chances of the ball bouncing off your hands.
Focus and Tracking
As the ball is in the air, maintain focus on it by tracking it with your eyes. Keep your head still and your eyes locked on the ball’s trajectory. This will help you judge the speed, height, and direction of the pass, allowing you to position yourself correctly to make the catch.
Position your body in a way that maximizes your chances of making a successful catch. Square your shoulders to the quarterback or the direction the pass is coming from.
Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and maintain a balanced stance. This will provide stability and allow you to adjust your body position as needed to make the catch.
Timing and Anticipation
Anticipate the arrival of the ball by reading the quarterback’s release and the flight of the pass. Develop a sense of timing to ensure you are in the right position to catch the ball at its highest point. This will give you an advantage over defenders and increase your chances of making a clean catch.
Soft Hands and Absorbing the Impact
As the ball approaches, focus on having “soft hands.” This means allowing your hands and fingers to give slightly upon contact with the ball, absorbing the impact rather than trying to snatch or trap it. This technique helps to cushion the ball and maintain control upon contact.
Secure the Catch
Once you have made contact with the ball, secure the catch by firmly gripping it with your hands. Squeeze the ball against your body or tuck it away securely to prevent defenders from knocking it loose. Maintain control of the ball until you are down or out of bounds to complete the catch.
After securing the catch, maintain control of the ball throughout the entire process. Maintain a strong grip and keep the ball away from defenders. If necessary, tuck the ball securely against your body to protect it.
Practice and Repetition
Controlling a football pass requires practice and repetition. Work on your hand-eye coordination, hand positioning, and body control through drills and repetitions. Practice catching passes from different angles, speeds, and distances to simulate game-like situations.
How do football passing patterns vary based on offensive systems?
Football passing patterns can vary significantly based on the offensive system employed by a team. Some systems, like the West Coast offense, emphasize short, quick passes with routes designed to create separation and exploit mismatches.
Other systems, like the Air Raid offense, focus on spreading the field and attacking vertically with deep passing routes.
How do football passing patterns exploit weaknesses in the defense?
Football passing patterns are designed to exploit weaknesses in the defense by creating favorable matchups or stretching the defense in specific areas. For example, a Slant Route can exploit a soft spot in zone coverage between linebackers and safeties.
How do quarterbacks and receivers develop chemistry in executing passing patterns?
Developing chemistry between quarterbacks and receivers is crucial for the successful execution of passing patterns. This chemistry is built through practice, repetition, and communication.
Quarterbacks need to understand the timing and route-running abilities of their receivers, while receivers need to anticipate the quarterback’s throws and adjust their routes accordingly.
How do defenses defend against different football passing patterns?
Defenses employ various strategies to defend against different football passing patterns. They may use man-to-man coverage, where defenders are assigned to cover specific receivers, or zone coverage, where defenders are responsible for specific areas of the field.
How do football passing patterns evolve and adapt over time?
Football passing patterns continually evolve and adapt as teams innovate and find new ways to attack defenses. Coaches and offensive coordinators study film, analyze trends, and experiment with new concepts to stay ahead of the game.
Mastering football passing patterns is a continuous process that requires practice, precision, and a deep understanding of offensive and defensive strategies.
By studying and implementing these patterns, teams can elevate their passing game to new heights, creating opportunities for big plays and scoring drives.
As the game of football evolves, so do the passing patterns. Coaches and players must stay updated with the latest trends and innovations in order to stay one step ahead of the competition.
By mastering the art of football passing patterns, teams can exploit defensive weaknesses, keep the chains moving, and put points on the board.
So, whether you’re a quarterback looking to improve your timing and accuracy, a receiver aiming to perfect your route running, or a coach seeking to design effective passing plays, understanding and implementing football passing patterns is essential.