Wide Receiver Tips: Creating Distance Between Your Defender

Combat your opponent’s man-to-man coverage with these techniques to get open and ready for those big-time receptions.

As a receiving threat, defenses may play man-to-man coverage to try and stop you from getting a clean release off the line. There are a few different techniques that can help you get out of that jam.


Start by getting into a proper athletic position with your weight over your front knee and your hands up. When playing man-to-man coverage, the defender will be in an aggressive position. Take a powerful step up the field while swatting the shoulder of the defender with your opposite arm. The goal of this swat is to put the defender off balance. Use the other arm to rip underneath with aggressive force, pushing the defender away. Use this separation to get up field and into your route.


Again, you should start in an athletic position with your hands up. Take a powerful outside step, while punching with your inside arm to the defender’s shoulder. With the defender thrown off balance, bring your other arm over the defender’s shoulder in a “swim” motion to create separation. Make sure not to “swim” too high. This move can also help you to break coverage and get up field.

Once you have these techniques down, practice makes perfect. Match up with other receivers or with defenders and vary your techniques to build confidence in both moves.

The key to having an aggressive take off against man-to-man coverage is being able to use your hands to create separation. This will help make you successful against any jam.