What is a Slant Route in Football? (Full Explanation)

By Coach Martin | Football Routes


The Slant route is one of the most common passing routes in football.

It's a quick-hitting route that is designed to create separation for the receiver from the defender soon after the ball is snapped.

The hope of the Slant route is that a quick completion is made to guarantee at least a few yards gained.

However, slants work so well because they complete passes as the receiver is running in stride, giving them the opportunity to gain plenty of yards after the catch, too.

There are three main reasons why the Slant route is so popular.

1. It's extremely easy to teach - Receivers at all levels of the game can easily understand how to run a Slant route, and begin mastering it right away.

2. It can be run by any receiver who is lined up at any position on the field - Some passing routes are really limited to inside receivers or outside receivers, but not the Slant.

3. It can be run at different depths - It can be a quick Slant, where the receiver breaks not far off the line of scrimmage. It can also be a deeper Slant, where the receiver will get more depth on the route for a longer passing play.

That's the true beauty of the Slant.

It's simple, but is so versatile at the same time.

Let's take an in-depth look at what the Slant route is and how to run it.

The Design of a Slant Route


There are a few elements to a Slant route that make it so special.

It's a great combination of a quick-hitting route that often results in a high-percentage completion, and a route that allows a receiver the ability to run after the catch.

If all that comes of a Slant route is a short completion, that's OK.

But unlike a lot of other similar quick-hitting routes, the Slant also provides the possibility for a much longer completion if the receiver is able to break free and gain yards after the catch.

There are three key elements to the design of the Slant route.

1. Deception

The receiver will run for a short period of time straight downfield before breaking the route off and angling toward the middle of the field.

The idea here is to not give away that the receiver is going to break toward the middle.

2. Body Position

The reason the Slant is so effective is that it uses the receiver's body as a way for him to get open.

When the receiver slants toward the middle of the field, he'll be using his body as an obstacle between the football and the defender.

This makes it easier for the receiver to make the catch, and harder for the defender to cover the route.

3. Timing

It's extremely important that the quarterback and receiver are on the same page with a Slant route.

The quarterback will be getting the ball out of his hands quickly to a receiver running a Slant route.

This prevents defenders from being able to gobble up the route, and gives the receiver optimal time to make things happen after making the catch.

football quarterback slant route

How to Run the Slant Route

When the play is called in the huddle, the receiver running the Slant will know at what depth he'll be running it.

The play call will determine whether it's a quick-hitting Slant or a deeper one.

For the purposes of this article, we'll have our receiver run a quick Slant.

At the snap of the ball, the receiver should sprint straight ahead about two to three yards. Once he gets to that point, he'll be breaking the route off and slanting toward the middle of the field.

To do this, he'll plant with his outside foot, pivoting his body toward the middle and pushing off that same foot.

Right before he makes the move, he can juke as if he's going to go to the outside to get the defender moving in the wrong direction.

When the receiver cuts, he should be taking a pretty sharp angle, slightly more than 45 degrees. This will put him on a diagonal path across the middle of the field and in the direction of the opposite sideline.

The key to a successful Slant pattern is getting immediate separation from the defender once the receiver makes his break.

To do this, he should make sure not to give away the fact that he's running a Slant too early.

He needs to push off his break quickly and with power so that he can be sprinting full speed as he's angling across the field.

This will help gain quick separation from the defender.

Then, when he's angling over the middle, he needs to give his quarterback a good target. He needs to block off the defender from getting inside of him.

In other words, he needs to ensure there is space between him and the quarterback, with the defender behind him.

This will give the quarterback a good target to throw to.

Receivers should expect that the quarterback will be throwing them the ball early on in the Slant route.

Once they make their cut and angle toward the middle, they should be looking in the backfield expecting to be thrown the ball.

When they make the catch, they should turn on the jets and try to gain as many yards as they can after the catch.

football running back slant route


The Slant route may be one of the simplest passing routes to teach receivers.

However, even though it's simple, it's extremely effective. And it can be run by receivers who line up at any position on the field.

It can also be run at various depths to create separation and confusion, while also making it a good route to run in a number of game situations.

All of these reasons are why the Slant route is one of the most common passing routes run in football.

In most cases, it's designed to guarantee a quick completion, with a few yards gained. But it's also designed to let a receiver run after the catch and try to turn a short completion into a big play.

The Slant is an essential route for coaches to teach their receivers, and to use over and over again in multiple game situations.

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