Players may need to react quickly to decide who and how to tackle. Get them switched on with this drill, which teaches them to put their head in the right place when making tackles – on both sides. MORE
This is a session with many varied tackles in a short space of time. It works on technique, recovery to tackle again and finally defence decision making.
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
This is a good session to reinforce the basics of tackling and put them into context in a game. Work the players in bursts, so they are tackling intensely for a short period, but have sufficient recovery time to work hard (and technically correct) in the next bout of tackles.
Also, be prepared to adjust the distances so there is more or less impact and different challenges for the players.
- Pick a target on the ball carrier, engage the shoulder and drive the player to the ground.
- Concentrate on “sticking” to the ball carrier until the tackle is complete and then moving on to the next tackle.
What you get your players to do
Put three ball carriers in an area marked out as in picture 1. Get a tackler to move forward to make a side-on tackle. The ball carrier runs from one gate to the other, without deviating.
Once that tackle is made, the tackler recovers, moves around to make a front-on tackle before making a rear tackle (see picture 2).
The ball carrier only moves towards the gate when the tackler is in place.
For the next round of tackles, get the first tackled player to become the new tackler and the other players fill in backwards.
Allow the ball carrier to hand off (if appropriate to that age).
Get another player to follow the tackle to assist and recover the ball.
Get another player to follow the ball carrier to assist in the tackle.
Put four defenders into a box between a 15m square and 15m x 7m box and five attackers at the other end (see picture 3).
When you shout “GO”, any number of attackers run into each box with a ball. The defenders have to prevent them getting to the other end. So it could be 4v3 and 1v1 or 3v2 and 2v2. Allow offloads but not rucks/mauls/kicking. The attack aims to score at least one try. Defenders can interchange at any time between the boxes but not attackers.
What to call out
- “Drive in low and keep the legs driving through the tackle area”
- “Keep your eyes open all the time… don’t dip your head in the tackle”