The Beauty of the Pivot Route

Ok guys. I'll admit something right off the bat right now. I don't play much football besides backyard and Madden, but when I do play backyard, I'm fortunate enough to have a former four-year starting high school QB throwing to me and teaching me routes. And I get to play against current CBs in my high school. And we have a pretty big park to play on. That being said, I often play slot in pick-up games because of my height. I think I've mentioned this somewhere before: 5'4". I'm a small dude. BUT I do have excellent lower body strength, and, combined with the agility that comes with playing soccer for over 8 years, I would have had a decent shot at making my school's football team if it weren't for the fact I might get killed after the first time I touch the ball. But anyway, during these games, one of the favorite routes I run is the pivot route. Since I'm not the tallest of WRs, I often only run this route up to six or seven yards. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Here's a picture of what a pivot route is:



Ignore the Corner, seam, and comebacks. Look at the loopy routes. Now you might be thinking. "Dang, running in circles has got to take a lot of time." Well, not really. Here's how my QB taught me to run it.

  • If the corner is playing off coverage, run directly at him very quickly. Emphasis on quickly. If he's bumping up on you, foot-fire him, or, since you're so small, dip your shoulder and try to get underneath his arms to beat his jam.
  • Once you hit the top of the route, you have three options.
  1. Depending on the corner's orientation, you might want to run a simple in route. For example, if the corner is pressing you, but you beat him to the inside, it might be better to take it inside, where he has to reach across your body to get to the ball. If the LBs are covering the flat, do NOT run outside. If they are also underneath, settle down and find a spot in the zone.
  2. If the corner is playing off coverage and there are no LBs out in the flat....pivot time!!!!
  • OK. You've made the decision to pivot. This is how I usually run it. (Assuming I'm closer to the right sideline) Once I hit the top of the route, I make a small move inside with my left foot, trying to get the corner to bite inside. If he comes in too fast, I can also beat him deep. But in other cases, once I've faked outside with my left foot, I continue to move to the left, pushing off with my right foot. But once I've pushed off, I pivot on my left leg, swinging around and turning either slightly upfield or slightly back to the QB. Think of it as a spin move in a route. Kind of.

Anyway, I wanted to share this because offenses could easily run this against our Defense. The pivot route is not restricted to the slot receiver. The outside receivers can also pivot, although they can only go in one direction: in. However, with all the off coverage our corners are forced to play now (due to the loss of Barry Church), this route becomes an easy one for opposing offenses. There is simply so much space off the line the WRs are free to do anything they want in the first five yards: a free release, a dream for most WRs.
Thoughts? Comments? Stick'em below!!

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