Use this four stage exercise to build better tackle technique. By emulating a boxer, the tackler develops balanced footwork, staying square to the target, punching the hands forward and then, at the end engaging the shoulder. It help players become more confident in contact. MORE
Some tackles are tougher than others but players must not miss the “sitting duck” tackles, where a ball carrier is stationary or running sideways. Without much forward momentum, your players can gain an advantage and complete an effective tackle with a chance for a turnover. This session gives weaker tacklers some confidence.
Warm up time: 5-7
Session time: 8-10
Development time: 10-15
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 5-8
What to think about
Good defensive pressure can mean the ball carrier is forced to take a pass standing still or has to run sideways to gain some momentum before going forward. This means your tackler has to come forward to make the tackle rather than soak up the momentum of the ball carrier.
The defender will need to use his feet to give himself the extra momentum to drive the ball carrier off his feet. He can then control the tackle to win the ball back.
- Nail the standing ball carrier.
- Work as a team to create pressure on the attacking line so there is no space to move.
What you get your players to do
Put two players inside a 5m square. Throw a ball to one of them who stands still while the other has five seconds to put him on the ground and steal the ball (see picture 1).
Adjust the timings to suit players (perhaps longer with less experienced players). The ball carrier should fight to stay on his feet. Once he is on the ground, he should aim to place the ball back towards a designated try line. Develop this by having the ball carrier run from cone to cone at the corners of the box.
Put two pairs in 5m square. Playing full contact rugby, throw a ball to one of the pairs. The other pair has five seconds to put the ball carrier on the ground and win the ball. The ball carrier can run but not pass (see picture 2).
The supporting attacker can help the ball carrier to stay up or drive out the threat to the ball. Develop by allowing one pass.
Put four attackers in the 10m x 2m channel (see picture 3). Make them pass the ball up and down the line. Put three defenders opposite them, at least 2m away (adjust according to your players’ skills).
When you shout: “GO!”, play full contact rugby. Score three points for a try, three points for a turnover, one point for the attack getting over the try line but not scoring a try and one point for the defence forcing the ball into touch or behind the attack’s try line.
What to call out
“Tackle low and drive – ring of steel and squeeze the knees to bring him to ground”
“Keep the feet active through the contact area”
“Complete the tackle by: Release, on your feet and on the ball”