Football Running Lanes

What are Running Lanes in Football?

Running lanes in football are the spaces in the defense that the offensive line creates for the running back to run through on rushing plays. Also called a hole, running lanes are open spaces where offensive players can create routes for themselves to score a touchdown.

Creating a Lane

Many offensive plays focus on creating lanes for their teammates. Coaches work with players on different plays that open up the center of the field and even the sidelines for lanes. Drawing out defenders is key for creating spaces for a player to make a drive down the lane. Think of a lane as an open, no-traffic route that a player takes the ball down in an attempt to make a touchdown. The space between two defenders is a lane.


The running back is in complete control after a lane is created. It is up to him to make the break down the lane to gain as many yards as possible. However, it is the team's effort to keep defenders away from the open lane that they created by tackling defenders or drawing them out wide or to the center, depending on where the lane is being formed.