A slot is a narrow aperture or groove, especially one adapted for receiving something, such as a coin or letter. It can also refer to a position within a group, series, or sequence. The term is most commonly used in football to refer to the position of wide receiver. A wide receiver who lines up inside the 20-yard line is called a “slot” receiver.
A player in the slot is required to be both fast and skilled at running precise routes. They must master every type of route in the passing game, including deep and short, as well as being able to beat defenders with their speed. Typically, slot receivers are shorter and smaller than outside wide receivers. This allows them to more easily run tight and precision passes. However, they can be any size and still be a great receiver, as long as they are tough enough to absorb contact in the middle of the field and fast enough to blow past defenders.
Slot receivers are also important for running plays because they often act as the ball carrier on pitch plays, reverses, and end-arounds. They are often called into a pre-snap motion by the quarterback and then must quickly get open and accelerate down the field. In addition, they are required to block on running plays that go to the outside of the field. Slot receivers must be able to effectively block nickelbacks, outside linebackers, and safeties.
Another important aspect of slot is that it requires an advanced ability to read defenses. Because they are usually lined up a few steps off the line of scrimmage, slot receivers must be able to see what defenders are around them and make adjustments based on what the defense is doing. This is especially critical on route combinations where they must know what defenders are closing in and adjust their route accordingly.
Another meaning of slot is an area in a computer that contains connection pinholes (usually in the form of 16 to 64 closely-spaced holes) and a place for expansion cards to plug in. These cards add specialized capability to the computer, such as video acceleration or disk drive control. The expansion slots are typically accessed through the side panel of the computer. A slot may be referred to as a “named slot” when it has a specific name attribute set.