Work on side-on tackles where the defenders are scrambling across to cover the attack. They will need to keep square so they don’t get sidestepped, and keep in the line with their team mates. Moving from a prone position means initially they will be disrupted and will have to find their positioning quickly. MORE
It’s hip to be square-on
The best tacklers read the movements of the ball carrier and anticipate where they are going. This session improves anticipation skills by focusing 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
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 does this by dropping his hips down then bending at the knees and ankles.
Though the tackler must be balanced, he must also tackle on his own terms – and 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
Split the team into pairs. One player is the tackler, the other the ball carrier (a ball is optional). Get the pairs to move around slowly and then shout “TACKLE”. The tackler moves into the ball carrier and lifts him up at the hips using a “bear hug”. They take two steps and then put the player down on his feet (see picture 1).
Reiterate the coaching points, swap round and repeat until all the players are comfortable with the techniques. Develop the exercise by having the ball carrier move around.
Put a ball carrier at one end of a 7m x 4m box and a tackler at the other end. Make the ball carrier try to beat the tackler while staying in the channel (see picture 2).
Place two attackers at one end of a 10m square with a scrum half by a tackle tube just outside the square. Two defenders are at the other end.
The scrum half feeds the attackers. Let play develop. Swap attack and defence after a try or infringement.
Increase the width of the box but bring 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 contact”