Alleyne Athletics Blog

4 Pillars of WR

4 Pillars of WR

4 Pillars of WR

            WR or wide receiver is becoming one of the most popular positions in football. There are several popular receivers out there on NFL and college rosters. You, as a high school athlete, watch these athletes compete on the weekend during big primetime games, and you have probably wondered—what makes these guys so good? Were they born with it, is it luck, or did they have to earn this skill? As a WR trainer, it is my job to equip you with the knowledge and skill to put you in a similar position to these young men. Their ability is partially God-given, but most of it is earned. These WR’s work tirelessly to sharpen and refine these 4 pillars of this extremely intricate position. These pillars include catchability, route running, speed, and physicality. All of these can be matured and mastered with time.

            What is catchability? Simply put, it is the ability to catch. The majority of the job of most wide receivers is to block and catch. If you lack the ability to do both, coaches will find someone who will. How do I get better at catching the ball? I would break this down into three things; anticipation, body and hand position, and hand-eye coordination. The ability to anticipate the path of the ball and place your body and hands in a position to receive the ball will equally lead to a successful catch with proper hand-eye coordination. The only way to practice and refine this skill is reps. Give yourself hundreds and thousands of reps catching the ball over and over. This will create neural pathways within your brain to assist your ability to anticipate the path of the ball and lead to catching it. Stefon Diggs, Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, and many others have spent tons of hours repeatedly catching the ball. They properly understand the distance each hand is apart from each other at the time the ball reaches their hands. They understand the amount of bend they should have in their knees and elbows, to help cushion and absorb the shock from the ball. They understand every intricacy there is to catching the ball, because they have repped it millions of times. The reason I popped up when you searched for a ‘wr trainer near me’ or ‘wr training’ is because I also understand what it takes to become a great WR.

            Route running is the 2nd pillar in the temple Jerry built. Jerry Rice is accredited to being the Greatest WR of all time. He played in the NFL from the ’80s to the early 2000s. He leads the league in receptions, touchdown receptions, and more. This guy got to the ball, but how? Jerry ran routes in the same way Picasso handled his paintbrush. Each stroke was deliberate and delicate. Every time he stepped on that field, he would gracefully, and seemingly effortlessly get open. This is because of how much time he dedicated to running routes. Route running is an art. I hardly think anyone would refute this statement. The timing, patience, precision, violence, deception, and grace that goes into each route is nothing less than art. There’s an old adage that says, ‘everything is a go, ‘til it's not’. This speaks on how everything should have the same appearance, but different intent and outcomes. The ability to change direction is a pivotal key to route running. Stopping and starting again will dictate your ability to create separation. Another way to create separation is speed.

            Speed, in a physics sense, is denoted by distance divided by time. The less amount of time it takes for you to get from point A to point B will determine how much speed you possess or how fast you are. On May 9th 2021, Seahawks WR DK Metcalf is competing for a chance to go to the Olympics. You may remember his 2020 chase down of Budda Baker during a regular-season game against the Cardinals. During that chase down, he reached speeds over 22 mph! During that same season, he led the league in yards vs single coverage. This means when it was one on one, he would use his speed and blow by his defender! Speed is a valuable asset and can be your greatest ally when it comes to one-on-one matchups. A slow receiver is not a threat. A fast and physical one is dangerous in more ways than one.

            Finally, physicality is the last pillar of the four. As mentioned earlier, receivers are meant to block and catch. Your ability to move someone against their will, will assist in your team’s perimeter run game. A good jet sweep can bust a game wide open and gives your team several options to run the ball all over the field. However, a receiver that cannot block is an instant liability to the team’s run game. Your physicality also includes your mentality as well. This encompasses the swagger and confidence that every receiver needs to be able to do their job at the highest level. All receivers should believe they are undefendable and impregnable at all times. You should carry yourself in a manner that clearly radiates confidence. Receivers are the spark that can get an offense on fire. One big catch can open up the field for all of your teammates. You can be the reason DB’s can’t sleep at night; because of your reliable catchability, crispy route running, blazing speed, and dominant physicality!