Wide Receiver Tips: Using the Four-Cone Drill for Proper Route Running

Train your body to make the sharp cuts and agile moves necessary for big gains with this simple and effective drill.

Running a good route as a wide receiver can be the difference between getting open or being covered. To run a good route, the focus should be on quickness, body control and a sharp change of direction.

One of the best ways to strengthen your route running is through a four-cone drill. In the four-cone drill, you will execute both a 45-degree and a 90-degree cut. Set it up by arranging four cones in a box, approximately five yards apart.


Begin in a proper stance standing at one cone, facing an adjacent cone. On a cue or snap, move quickly toward the other cone. As you approach that cone, keep good body control by quickly chopping your feet, sinking your hips and planting your outside foot to cut back inside the cone at a 45-degree angle toward the center of the box. Shoot your hands up in front of your face, waiting for the football to be thrown.


From a comfortable, athletic stance, explode from one cone to an adjacent cone, similar to the 45-degree cut drill. As you approach the cone, sink your hips, plant your outside foot and turn at a 90-degree angle toward the next cone in the box. As you turn, shoot your hands out in front of your body, creating extension, ready to catch the football.

When executed at full speed, multiple receivers can participate to maximize time and repetitions. A coach or quarterback can work in the drill to throw passes for the receivers.  Once the play is made, go back to the line and get ready to run another route.

Make sure to switch your starting cone so you are cutting both left and right. From youth players to more advanced players, these drills can help wide receivers become more efficient route runners.