I’ve been talking tackling to plenty of coaches in the last few weeks. That’s not unusual. Therefore, I wanted to share with you one of my favourite tackling “drills”: High pressure tackling reactions. I say drill because it’s a 1 v 1 exercise. MORE
Always score – tackle the core
Better tacklers anticipate where a ball carrier is going. You can improve anticipation skills by using this session to help focus on the core of the ball carrier. The hips don’t dummy, so if the tackler can keep his eyes on this area, he should make more tackles.
Warm up time: 5-7
Session time: 5-7
Development time: 10-15
Game time: 10-15
Warm down time: 5-7
What to think about
Keep checking the body shape just before contact.
An unbalanced player just before contact will tackle poorly. The tackler should stay upright and dynamic (on the balls of his feet) until he is close enough to step in and drive up. He should do this by dropping his hips down, bending at the knees and ankles.
Though the tackler must be balanced, he must also tackle on his terms – that means getting close to the ball carrier quickly.
- Look at the hips of the ball carrier.
- Keep balanced and follow the ball carrier until you are close enough to make contact.
- Step in, dip and drive up, with a firm arm grip.
- Finish the tackle and target the ball.
What you get your players to do
In pairs, one player is the defender, the other the attacker. Get the pairs to move around slowly and then shout “TACKLE”. The tackler moves into the ball carrier and lifts him up using a “bear hug”. He takes two steps then puts the player down (see picture 1).
Reiterate the coaching points, swap round and repeat until all the players are comfortable with the techniques. Develop the exercise by getting the ball carrier to move around faster.
Put a ball carrier at one end of the 7m x 4m channel and a tackler at the other end. Make the ball carrier try to beat the tackler (see picture 2).
Place two attackers and a scrum half by a tackle tube. Stand two defenders on the other side, ready to defend the side of the tube. The scrum half feeds the attackers then let play develop (see picture 3).
Increase the width the attack is allowed to go, and add in additional players only when the defenders are using the right techniques.
What to call out
- “Stay upright and focused on the core of the ball carrier”
- “Step in and dip down and up quickly”
- “Lock the arms in the contact”