how to be a good wide receiver

The Complete Guide to How To Be A Good Wide Receiver

Being an outstanding wide receiver makes an excellent football player.

Wide receivers are fast and catch the ball so well. In fact, some of the greatest players to ever play football are wide receivers. The list is endless, from Michael Irvin to Jerry Rice.

It’s understandable why wide receivers are highly regarded in the game of football. They get all the glory!

From catching deep throws and scoring amazing touchdowns, it’s a thrilling experience to be a wide receiver. But the big question is how to be a good wide receiver.

To be a good wide receiver requires certain traits, understanding of the routes, position, and much more.

In the article, you’ll discover everything you need to know to become a wide receiver.

Let’s get started.

What Do Wide Receivers Do?

So what are the specific roles of wide receivers in a game? Here are some of the main responsibilities that wide receivers do:

Starting play

Before a snap, wide receivers line behind the line of scrimmage like other offensive players. Here, they need to master the initial stance where the upper body posture leans forward with the most weight on the foot. 

The hands should also be ready to receive the ball. Taking this position allows the players to be ready to explode into the running route.

Create separation

You need to have the wide receivers create separation from the opposing players. On the line of scrimmage, they are usually marked.

Using body feints and footwork, they need to create separation with defenders to receive the ball.

Run routes

A good wide receiver needs to run the right routes during passing plays. After separation, wide receivers stay open to receiving passes from quarterbacks.

They need to learn the nine basic routes of the route tree. Simply put, every wide receiver needs to learn and master all common routes. He must know how the routes are run and practice them.

young american football athlete running while holding the football

Making sudden stops and patterns is a must when running routes. But, to make such stops, wide receivers need excellent footwork. I’ll talk more about this when discussing the qualities of a good wide receiver.

Catching the ball

Knowing how to start, play and run routes is one part of a wide receiver. But most important is catching the ball. Wide receivers need to receive a pass from a quarterback.

You’ll lose possession as a team if a wide receiver cannot catch the ball. This requires proper body adjustment and strong hands to easily catch the ball.

Catching the ball is a big part of a wide receiver’s game. If a wide receiver loses the ball often, then that’s not the position for him. Sometimes, a throw isn’t going to be perfect. A wide receiver needs to jump, move sideways and do much more to catch the ball.

In the end, catching the ball is a crucial part of a wide receiver’s game.

Running after the catch

So what happens after the catch? A wide receiver needs to gain some yardage. You don’t want a wide receiver that gets tackled immediately after catching the ball.

An exceptional wide receiver must explode with pace after catching the ball and make great impacts. Additionally, wide receivers must know how to shed defenders, break tackles, elude and get to open spaces.

Be able to block

When wide receivers don’t have the ball on running plays, they must come in and help block ball carriers. A true dedicated wide receiver must commit to helping the team during running and passing plays.

This includes taking the right position and blocking off defenders.

6 Qualities of A Good Wide Receiver

As you can see, wide receivers do a lot in a football game. They do require certain skills to help achieve these roles. If you want to become a good wide receiver, you should have the following qualities:

Excellent Athleticism

Athleticism is a word you’ll often hear when commentators describe wide receivers.

Good athleticism means agility, speed, and excellent balance. They need to be fast. But, for wide receivers, speed on a straight line won’t cut it. They also need agility.

Here, a wide receiver needs to be neat and precise in making quick turns on top of the good speed. Change of direction pretty fast when running routes is a common trait with wide receivers.

Lastly, good balance is crucial when stopping suddenly and making quick turns. It also means standing steadily and fighting opposition as you catch the ball.

Strong Catching Hands

Secondly, wide receivers need good and strong catching hands. This is necessary because they do a lot of catching.

football player with hands raised and holding football in one hand

While a wide receiver can have all the traits, without the ability to catch the ball, they can’t play in that position.

Soft hands are needed if a wide receiver is to catch the ball with ease. Besides soft hands, wide receivers need good eye coordination and top-notch focus when catching the ball.

Great Strength

Wide receivers must be strong as they do a lot of running. This is a physically demanding position where players need to explode from the line of scrimmage.

In most cases, you’ll see them fighting off attempts from opposition players, something that requires strength. In addition, they are needed to block running plays.

Overall, wide receivers need a lot of strength to take on strong linemen. They require a good amount of lower and upper body strength.

Build Stamina

Apart from strength, wide receivers need to build stamina. Stamina is crucial for consistent running. 

In a single game, there can be 30-40 running plays. You can imagine wide receivers getting involved in over 40 running plays. Plus, wide receivers will need to chase blocking on passing plays, something that requires stamina.

Overall, wide receivers can only last a full game when they have a good build and strength.

High IQ to Learn Defenses

Besides learning and studying the playbook and running routes, wide receivers need to learn defenses. They need to study and understand defense formations.

Common defense formations include the two covers, 4-3 defense, and 4-2-5 defense.

Learning the different defense formations enables them to recognize spots. These are areas where they can create open spaces and run without being tackled.

Some of the best wide receivers are true geniuses and can make split-second decisions. They need to make the decision of when they can run and the specific routes they need to take.

Excellent Quarterback Relationship

It goes without saying; that every wide receiver needs to have an excellent relationship with the quarterback. After all, he’s going to get a throw from a wide receiver.

This simply means spending more time practicing with quarterbacks one-on-one. A wide receiver and quarterback need to develop a relationship where they understand each other well.

This helps them know how they’ll react in varying situations. A wide receiver can know where to receive the ball without them talking to each other.

What are The Different Types of Wide Receiver

In the NFL, there are five types of wide receivers. These are the:

football player in white jersey catching footbal
  • Run
  • The hands
  • Blocking receivers.
  • Running crisp patterns
  • Acceleration out of a cut

However, we can also have elite receivers that fall into more than one category. These receivers are called possession receivers, slot receivers, jump-ball receivers, and speed receivers.

Wide Receiver Drills & Tips

Now that you know the skills and traits of a wide receiver, how do you go about becoming one? In this section, I’ll discuss some of the best wide receiver drills and tips.

Keep reading!

Improve Your Strength

Wide receivers need to be strong, and this goes without a doubt. Hit the gym and start strength training drills.

You need to build both lower body and upper body strength. Upper body strength is crucial when shedding defenders. Lower body strength is needed to explode when making runs.

Work on Having Strong yet Soft Hands

As a wide receiver, you’re going to catch the ball a lot. This requires strong yet soft hands. Soft hands are crucial for a good cradle without the ball bouncing off.

You can wrap a towel around your arms and have someone throw the ball at you. Try catching the ball with the towel around your arms. The resistance from the towel will help build strong hands.

Keep On Reading and Understanding the Game

A good wide receiver needs a proper understanding of the game. You need to practice this by knowing the different defense formations and how they line up.

What does it mean when defenders line up or react in a certain way? Understanding all these will enable you to make wise decisions as a wide receiver on the field.

Down old football films and watch a lot of games. A good understanding of football is important for a wide receiver.

Train a Lot Together With the Quarterback

If there’s one thing a wide receiver needs, then it’s a good relationship with a quarterback. These two are going to work a lot together. They need to practice together and know how to anticipate each other’s moves without talking.

football drills practice

Who is The Best Wide Receiver in NFL 2022

The list of the best wide receivers in the NFL is long. However, Cooper Kupp of the Rams tops as the best wide receiver in 2022. He’s a technically gifted wide receiver, route runner, and excellent red zone mentality.

Who Is The Best Wide Receiver Of All Time

Jerry Rice is the undisputed best wide receiver of all time. Playing for the San Francisco 49ers, Jerry is a legend in the position. He has amazing numbers that no other wide receiver can match.

If you move down the list, then you can have an argument on the second best or third. But for the all-time best, he stands undisputed.

Wide Receivers FAQ

Who is The Fastest Wide Receiver in the NFL

Tyreek Hill of the Kansas City Chiefs is regarded as the best wide receiver in the NFL.

What Skills Do Football Wide Receivers Need?

Wide receivers need speed, strength, agility, body balance, soft hands, focus, physical stamina, eye-hand coordination, and the ability to read and understand the game.

Who Is the Best Rookie Wide Receiver

The best rookie wide receiver is Drake Londons of the Falcons. Randy Moss also had one of the best seasons as a rookie playing for the Green Bay Packers.


Well, that marks the end of what I had on how to be a good wide receiver. The wide receiver position is crucial in football and is one of the best.

In fact, some of the top players in the NFL are wide receivers. It’s a crucial position that runs routes, catches the ball, creates yardage, and scores touchdowns.

However, players must have certain attributes to be exceptional wide receivers. They need speed, agility, strength, stamina, soft hands, eye-hand coordination, and much more. 

If you want to try out this position or you want your team to learn about it, we’ve shared most of the strengths of wide receivers. Our team is available to answer your most pressing questions. Leave a comment!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *