In sports, a slot is an area of the field that’s between the outside linebackers and the wide receivers. This position is an important cog in the offensive machine, and its players must be quick and precise to succeed. The slot is also responsible for blocking (or chipping) defensive backs and safeties. It’s not uncommon for slot receivers to be used in running plays to seal off the outside of the defense.
In aviation, a slot is an authorization to take off or land at a congested airport. It’s a tool that’s used around the world to prevent repeated delays due to too many flights trying to take off or land at the same time.
The best slot receivers have excellent route running skills, and they’re able to anticipate the snap and the defensive backs’ movements. They also have a good understanding of the field, which allows them to anticipate where defenders are on certain routes. The best slot receivers are able to block effectively, too. This is especially true when they’re running routes that require them to break tackles. For example, on a run play designed to the outside, the slot receiver must be able to block both nickelbacks and safeties in order for the running back to gain yards. They may even need to perform a crackback block on defensive ends. This is a very important skill for any receiver, but it’s particularly necessary for the slot.