A slot is a narrow opening or groove, for example in a door or wall. A slot can also refer to a specific time period when an activity can take place, such as a flight or meeting. The term can also refer to an authorization or clearance given by an official, such as air traffic control.
In the context of aviation, a slot is an authorization to take off or land at a busy airport during a specified time period. This is used to manage air traffic at these very busy airports in order to prevent repeated delays due to too many planes trying to take off or land at the same time. The use of slots is increasing in popularity with airports around the world because it allows them to save fuel and reduce the number of flights that need to be delayed or canceled.
The Slot receiver is a specialist position on the football field that typically lines up in the backfield, a few steps behind the line of scrimmage. It is a role that has become more prominent in recent years as offenses have begun to utilize three wide receiver sets more frequently. Although they share some of the same traits as outside wide receivers, Slot receivers have a unique set of responsibilities and skills that sets them apart from other positions.
While most Slot receivers are speedy with top-notch route-running skills, they also need to be able to block. Depending on the running play, a Slot receiver may be called upon to block defensive ends, nickelbacks or safeties. He may even need to perform a crack back block on certain plays. In addition to blocking, Slot receivers are also expected to be able to carry the ball like a running back from time to time, particularly on pitch plays and reverses.
Because the Slot receiver is usually smaller and shorter than outside wide receivers, he is often called upon to run precise routes. This means that he needs to be very accurate with his route-running, as well as being able to break defenders down quickly and change directions on a dime. He is also likely to be a good target for the quarterback, as his size and speed allow him to create separation from underneath coverage.
A Slot receiver is usually very strong and powerful, as he is required to break down double teams often. However, he must also be able to catch the ball in traffic. For this reason, it is important for him to have great hands. A Slot receiver is also required to have very good footwork and quick feet, as he must be able to get open on short and deep routes. In addition, he is required to be able to perform a variety of run blocking techniques, including chipping and sealing. Finally, he must be able to run precise patterns, as he will be targeted by cornerbacks and safetys on most running plays.