Wide Receiver Techniques – Creating Space Off The Snap
Getting a good jump off the line is an absolutely imperative skill for receivers to learn and understand. Against weak competition it won’t make that big a difference, but in an even matchup between corner and receiver, the battle at the line will often decide who gets the upper hand on that specific play.
Think about Olympic sprinters. In a 9 second sprint, which is much longer than most football plays, the sprinter who gets the best jump on the gun will almost always finish top three, regardless of their top out sprint speed. And they spend hours upon hours practicing their stance and release from the start line.
Having a strong, athletic stance is crucial – if you’re standing straight up and then you try to get the jump on a corner in a low, strong, athletic stance, you have no chance.
In the ideal stance you’ll have your inside foot forward, on the line of scrimmage, with most of your weight on it. Your back foot is going to be slightly raised, much like a sprinter does. This is so that you can push off with the balls of your back foot and get your balance moving forward quickly.
Your upper body will be strong, but relaxed. Your hands should be up, underneath your chin, like a boxer ready to let his hands fly, and your abs should be slightly contracted.
You’ve got two basic options for your wide receiver’s release off of the line. The first, and the one that I prefer to use personally, is the rip release.
As you release from the line, you’ll use your inside arm to push the inside shoulder of the defender, getting him slightly off balance, and then bring the outside arm right up underneath the same arm, ripping up through to above shoulder level, and creating a moment of separation between you and the corner.
Here we’ll go to the outside shoulder, this time reaching put and grabbing it with our outside hand. As we do this we’ll start to bring up our inside arm for the swim over, when they’ll pull on the shoulder and bring the arm up and over the defender, getting that same moment of separation.
Remember, whichever technique you go with, the key is to attack half of the defenders body and focus on creating separation from it.