Get players using footwork to track and get close to the ball carrier to make the right tackle
Start by getting a defender to slowly approach a ball carrier using small, shuffling “boxing” steps then crouch to get under the ball, lift the attacker shoulder high and place him down safely after carrying him 2m.
Once players have mastered this shuffling approach and crouch, begin the activity in the different boxes.
Set out three boxes – 7m x 3m, 7m x 5m and 7m x 10m – and put a ruck pad holder at the end of each. Put at the start of the first box, opposite the ruck pad holder.
When you say “go”, the tackler runs into the box and the ruck pad holder moves forward. The tackler drives in low to the ruck pad holder who drops the pad. The tackler goes to ground, holding the pad, then releases it, gets to his feet and runs into the next box where he repeats the tackle. In the widest box, he is joined by another tackler and they both take out the ruck pad holder – one tackling high, the other low.
You will need
Three boxes alongside each other: 7m x 3m, 7m x 5m and 7m x 10m
3 ruck pads
Got more players?
Get players practising shuffling steps and lifting. Line up tacklers to run through the boxes.
What to tell your players
“Use shuffling steps like a boxer”
“Crouch low and hit with the shoulder
“Drive through the ruck pad”
Lots of defence drills get the players in position to tackle, but not enough spend time on setting and then, crucially tackling, especially under fatigue conditions. Play heads up, real-life situations in training.
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If I were coaching tackling to kids for the first time, I wouldn't focus on low tackles. I think it's better to work on the choke tackle. It's safer and more effective.
As a professional rugby coach, people often say to me, “oh, but you've never coached an eleven-year-old before.” Well, a year and a half ago, before COVID, I not only coached my son’s U10s and U11s, but I coached the rest of the school’s A, B, and C teams, from U9s up to U12s. During this period, I taught them to choke tackle. MORE