Tackling Tips


The BFG of better tackling

By Paul Tyler

All players need to return to tackling basics every now and then to improve their technique and confidence.

Footwork in the tackle zone is one of those key areas. Here are two ways to work on this.

The basics

The tackler needs to close down the space between him and the ball carrier as quickly as possible to limit his opponent’s options.

In a 2m “tackle zone” the tackler shortens his stride to get his feet beneath him so he is balanced and able to react to the ball carrier’s movements.

He must keep moving towards the target, stay upright and keep his eyes on the target. He needs to get his feet as close as possible to the ball carrier before making the tackle.

He plants a foot in front of the ball carrier and makes contact with the shoulder (and not the arms). As soon as contact is made he wraps his arms tightly round the ball carrier and drives his legs through the tackle.

After making the tackle he must get up as quickly as possible and either target the ball or get back in the game.

Chopping the feet

Practise player footwork by making them run at pace, one by one, without a ball, into a 2m square.

Inside the square, players must run in short, quick steps before exiting in the direction indicated by the coach, returning to a normal stride pattern.

This teaches players to change direction at pace as they would in a game.


The tackler enters the “tackle zone” where he gets as close to the ball carrier as possible, plants a foot and drives into the tackle.


The tackler’s feet are under his body which means he is balanced and in a position to react to the ball carrier. His elbows are tucked in and his hands are up – this helps him focus on contact with his shoulder, not his arms


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