Utilizing the Hitch Passing Concept Effectively | Implementing the Close Tag

One of the things we discovered was one of the simplest route adjustments I’ve ever seen. We simply used our Close tag on our all hitches route. The result, one of our most efficient plays and several touchdowns that resulted from the route and DBs trying to jump it.

We have several tags that we use with our passing game. The result is that we are able to take a small number of plays and adjust them to open up our playbook while really having the kids only learn a few basic plays. One of our passing concepts, and probably one of our favorites, is our Hitches concept. On this all receivers run a simple hitch. It’s a really easy throw and catch for the receivers and can force the defense to cover the whole width of the field.

One of the main tags we use is our Close tag. This tag will tell two receivers that they want to run as close to each other as possible. We originally put this tag in for the Red Zone as a way to combat man coverage, but as time went on we started using it throughout the whole field.

Utilizing the Hitch Passing Concept Effectively | Implementing the Close Tag

Utilizing the Hitch Passing Concept Effectively | Implementing the Close Tag

One route that we tagged with our close tag was the all hitches route. When we ran out Hitch Close concept we would run it out of our Doubles formation. This would mean that the #1 receiver would break in and run his hitch directly in front of where the #2 receiver was lined up while the #2 receiver would break out and run his hitch directly in front of where the #1 receiver was lined up. This took one 5-minute session to install and rep and the returns from it were huge.

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One of the reasons why this route is so effective is that it combines a quick pass with crossing receivers. Whenever receivers cross in their paths DBs have to adjust and determine who is defending who. This inevitably slows the defenders down a step. When you combine this with a quick pass, the result is that the ball gets there before the defense is able to know who is covering the receiver and be able to make a break on it. In addition, this route takes a step longer than the traditional hitch route. We found that this helped us because our Quarterback was able to get the ball to the receiver right out of his break instead of a step late.

A major benefit of this concept is that it creates a tendency that is easy to break. When we run this play multiple times DBs start to get frustrated and want to jump the route. This plays into what we do because it allows us to run our 4 Vertical Switch play. On this route the receivers will run crossing routes at the stem but instead of settling and turning around to the Quarterback they will continue to get downfield.

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Hitch Twist is one of those things that happens frequently in football. It started as a simple idea that we didn’t expect to get much traction. In reality, it was a great scheme that was our most efficient passing concept.

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