Have you been listening to football announcers and friends use the term pump fake and just nodded along like you knew what it meant? If so you are in the right place because this article is going to break down exactly what is a pump fake in football.
A pump fake in football refers to a manoeuvre in which a quarterback pretends to throw the ball but stop his throwing motion at the last second. A pump fake is done in order to trick the opposing team into thinking the quarterback is going to throw the ball.
Three Main Reasons For Pump Faking
So we know that a pump fake is a fake throw by the quarterback to trick the defense. But how exactly does a pump fake help the offense get the ball down the field?
Below we are going to cover the three main ways pump fakes can be used to benefit your football team.
Utilizing The Double Move
One of the most effective ways to use a pump fake in football is when a receiver is running a double move.
A double move is a route run by the wide receiver that includes a fake short route that ultimately ends as a deep route. For example, a receiver could fake a short hook only to turn around and sprint downfield for a deep pass.
The pump fake is one of the best ways to ensure that a double move will work.
When the receiver fakes his short route the quarterback should pump fake at the moment he would typically throw the ball on that route. This should trick the defender into committing to covering the short route.
At this point, the receiver will turn upfield leaving the defender behind him. The quarterback should then throw the deep pass to the now open receiver.
Escaping The Defense
Another common reason that quarterbacks are going to pump fake in football is in order to get away from defenders.
It is no secret that the majority of NFL quarterbacks are not as athletic as most defenders. If a defensive player has a quarterback dead to rights it is usually the defensive player who is going to win that battle.
But the one thing the quarterback has that other players do not is the ability to throw the ball. If a quarterback finds himself under pressure from a defender he may use a pump fake in order to trick the defender.
If a defender believes that the quarterback is about the throw the ball then his best move is to jump into the air in order to break up the pass.
When a quarterback can get a defender to leave his feet with a fake throw he will easily be able to run past him now that the defender is airborne.
This sort of use of the pump fake is often used by quarterbacks in order to get the first down. Most quarterbacks who tend to be pocket passers will utilize pump fakes in order to make up for their lack of athleticism.
Moving The Safety
One more reason that quarterbacks use pump fakes is in order to move the safety. Sometimes when a quarterback has an intended receiver on one side of the field he may intentionally trick the safety into thinking he is throwing to the opposite side.
The idea behind this is that if the safety believes the QB is throwing to one side of the field he will move there and neglect the other side.
In most cases, quarterbacks are going to do this with their eyes as opposed to a pump fake. This means they will stare towards the right side of the field if they want to throw a deep shot left.
This in theory moves the safety to the right side of the field as that is where he believes the ball is going.
If the quarterback really wants to sell this fake he will add in a pump fake. The pump fake will be to the opposite side of the field of the intended receiver. This should cause the safety to move away from the real intended receiver.
At this point, the quarterback will look at the other side of the field and throw his deep pass to his receiver in the open space he has created.