A movement on offense in which play is initiated by having the center snap the ball between his legs to the player located behind him, usually the quarterback. The hike can either be directly into the hands of a player, or can be thrown a short distance to a player lined up further back. Once the hike has occurred, all of the players on the field may begin play until the ball is called dead. A hike can only be attempted, a fake hike is considered a false start.
The hike is the first moment in any given play during a football game. The defense cannot cross the line of scrimmage until the hike occurs. A good hike arrives directly in the hands of the player it is intended, whether that is the quarterback, holder, punter, or other player. Once the hike has been delivered, players can begin their play. The hike must be delivered in a single motion; a pump fake is illegal.