Route Running with Riley Ridley

The professional football receiver breaks down how to improve running your routes and how this skill can affect an offense.

The ability to get open is essential for a wide receiver to achieve success during a football game. Being able to break away from a defensive back and give your quarterback a clear target can lead to a big gain or even a touchdown.

One of the ways receivers can do this is by working on their route running. The art of route running can help receivers – not to mention running backs and tight ends – create separation to make a play.

There are numerous types of routes in the world of football – curl routes, drag routes, out routes, slant routes. Each one can help your team pick up a first down or more when used at the right time.

Professional wide receiver Riley Ridley spoke with Pro Tips about running routes. He outlined how improving your route running can have an effect on the entire offense.


One of the ways Ridley finds success is by driving off the line. By coming out fast, you can cause a defensive back to play on their heels. That can give you the opportunity to use your route running to get open.

“Every single time I want the defender to believe that I’m going deep. [Whether] that’s a slant, a go ball or a comeback, I got to drive off the line,” Ridley says.

Additionally, Ridley notes that route running isn’t just about using your legs. It takes your entire body to run a route and come up with a catch. You’ll need to have the right body position along with hand, head and eye coordination.

“Just be physical,” Ridley says. “Use my body, use my arms.”

Finally, it’s vital to know your playbook. Knowing which route to run for a particular play can help you become an open target for your quarterback.


Being a strong route runner can help your game improve. It can also affect your entire team, especially your quarterback. Being a consistent target can help build a solid relationship on the gridiron.

“My game is route running,” Ridley says. “So, if I can show my quarterback that I can run these good routes and gain separation, I feel that is a way that they can gain trust.”

Being on the same page in the passing attack takes more than showing up on game day or during practice. You need to watch film with your coaches to learn how you and your teammates can break down a defense and see what routes may be successful. For example, if a defense relies on zone coverage, planning for certain routes can help exploit holes in their formation.

“Sitting down in film and just learning the defense and the things that we’re going up against, it goes a long way with quarterbacks,” Ridley says.

Route running is a fundamental skill that receivers at any level should work on. By working on your routes, you can get in position to make the big catch.

Looking for more Pro Tips with Ridley? Then check out the professional football star as he discusses reaching your potential as an athlete.