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What Is The Route Tree?

american football football 101 football terminology football training route tree Mar 08, 2024

The route tree is a numbering system used by receivers, quarterbacks, defensive players, and coaches to identify which direction, pattern, or break the offensive players are using.

There are NINE routes that are part of the route tree. Below, I will give you a breakdown of what they are, how they work, and what they look like: 

1) Flat: Quick route where the receiver will run straight to the sideline and occupy the space right off of the line of scrimmage.

This route is typically run by slot receivers, TE's and RB's because they have more room to run to the sideline.

2) Slant: Short route where a receiver will run two-three hard steps down the field and then cut at a 45-degree angle.

Similar to a post route except much shorter and intended as a short pass rather than the 10-20 yards you'd look to get with a post route.

3) Comeback: A route where a receiver will run 10-15 yards downfield and then cut backward and towards the sideline.

This route is similar to the curl route. The difference is you will break toward the sideline instead of toward the field.

4) Curl Route: A variation of the streak route, but at ten yards you stop and turn inside towards the quarterback.

5) Out Route: A receiver will run 5-15 yards downfield and then make a sharp 90-degree turn toward the sideline.

This is similar to a corner route, but the cut that you make on this route will be much sharper towards the sideline vs the 45-degree angle you would take on a corner route.

6) In Route: The opposite of an out route. The receiver will run 5-15 yards downfield and then take a sharp 90-degree cut toward the middle of the field.

This route is also known as a dig route.

7) Corner: Similar to the post route, a receiver will run straight and turn at a 45-degree angle and run toward to sideline.

This is different from a post route because you will be running at 45-degrees toward the sideline rather than toward the middle of the field.

8) Post: Another variation of the streak route, but at 10-20 yards of depth the receiver will run at a 45-degree angle towards the middle of the field.

It is called a "post" route because receivers are taught to run straight and than turn at a 45 degree angle and run towards the field goal post.

9) Streak: A route where the receiver runs right down the field

Other terms for this route include fly and go route.

Fade: Similar to a streak route except instead of running straight the offensive player will run straight and drift towards the sideline at the same time.

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