A slot is a narrow opening or gap, for example the one that you put coins in to make a machine work. The term also means a place in a schedule or program where an activity can take place, for example you might book a slot at a museum a week in advance. It can also mean the space in a car where you slot in the child seat belt.
A good slot player will have excellent route running skills, and he or she will need to be very aware of what the defense is doing at all times. Slot receivers also need to be able to block well, more so than outside receivers. This is why they are often seen as being important cogs in the offensive blocking wheel for teams.
In addition to their routes and blocking abilities, Slot receivers need to be able to run very fast. This allows them to get open against coverage and catch the ball with ease. They are not typically used as a deep threat, but they are great for the underneath routes and catching passes over the middle of the field.
Because of where they line up, and their pre-snap motion, Slot receivers may also need to carry the ball like a running back from time to time. This is most common on pitch plays, reverses and end-arounds. In these cases, they will be called into the pre-snap motion and then asked to get a step or two ahead of the defensive back on their side of the field.
While some slot receivers are very productive in this role, it is not uncommon to see No. 1 wide receivers spending a lot of their time in the slot position. Players like Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins and Stefon Diggs are just a few examples of this trend. The more versatile a Slot receiver is, the more valuable he or she can be to an offense.
If you’ve ever been on a long airplane flight, you might have heard the Captain say something along the lines of “We’re waiting for our slot”. This is because air traffic control in Europe is centralized and controlled by Eurocontrol. This process is meant to reduce delays and save on fuel. However, sometimes delays occur due to traffic congestion or even staff shortages. During these times, the air traffic controllers have to delay or even cancel flights until things clear up. This is when a slot is needed. The good news is that these slots are relatively short in duration, so the delay is usually not too bad for passengers. In fact, many passengers appreciate the extra time on the ground as opposed to being stuck in the air and burning up excess fuel.