Teaching High School Wide Receivers

Definition of Wide Receiver:See Jerry Rice


I wanted to take some time to talk about receiver play because that is where I made my mark as a football player in college.  As a Head Coach I was forced to learn about every position on the field which was great for my growth and development in the coaching profession.  With that being said, every coach has a go to position of comfort.  Jim Harbaugh talks QB's, Nick Saban talks DB's, Jim Mcnally talks Oline, everyone has their "baby" or comfort zone.  The talk today will be about stance, stemming defenders, defeating press coverage, and stalk blocking.

Stance is About Comfort
For me the Stance was always about comfort.  It was the one thing I knew I was going to do on every play regardless of assignment.  You need to be able to execute your assignment so you have to start right to end right.  I try to get myself as close to the stance of a sprinter in the starters block as possible.  My stance was lower than normal with great bend in the front leg allowing for proper flex of the ankle, knee, and hip also known as triple joint extension.  About 75% of my weight was on the front leg with the chest over the knee.  The back foot was a little bigger than a step behind and a little wider than shoulder width, which was comfortable for me.  The back foot had air under the heel allowing me to be on the balls of my feet.  I liked being lower to the ground and making myself a smaller target for press coverage.  My arms always hung comfortably at my side even when being pressed.  I felt like I had plenty of time to get my hands in position vs. press coverage and to be honest I never played defenders that pressed me with their hands up high.  I always focused on being as relaxed as possible.

Leverage is the term used to define where the DB is aligned on you.  We generally talk about inside or outside leverage.  The important thing to understand about leverage is that is the place on the field the DB does not want you to be.  Since the DB is concerned with that place on the field, it is the first place we attack.  By playing you with leverage the DB is essentially taking away half of your routes.  As a receiver your goal is to get the DB head up which gives you a two way go on your routes.  You must try and make a defender honor your inside and outside breaking routes.  The easiest way to achieve that is to get him head up or square. Although all routes are generally drawn in straight lines, in reality most of the routes you run will never be straight lines.

Press coverage is when a DB is very tight to the line of scrimmage and will physically try to get you off your routes by contacting you at the line of scrimmage.  He will try and get his hands on you and "reroute" or get you off your intended to path to negatively impact the timing of your routes or to "reroute" you closer to his help on defense.  You beat press coverage with your feet first by getting the defender to open his hips opposite the direction you would like to release.  You will use your hands to combat his hands when he tries to physically make contact with you.  Getting the defender to open his hips is the main goal so the feet will always start the process.  The only way his hips will turn is if you make your moves outside the framework of his body or outside his hips.  You generally want to make moves opposite the direction you want to release.

Stalk blocking is the term used to define how a receiver blocks a defensive back.  This involves trying to stay in between the defender and the ball carrier as long as possible.  The defender usually initiates the contact by aggressively moving towards the ball carrier.  This is a very reactionary technique in general because you have your back to the ball and never see the ball carrier.  You must react to the movements of the defensive back.  Generally you are trying to mirror or stay in front of the DB as long as possible.

Your Feel Safe Zone
It was nice to shoot a video on wide receiver play.  Every coach feels safe talking about their most knowledgeable subject and for me it is the Wide Receiver position.  I hope some of the things I talk about in the video help you and your program.


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