Help! We completely forgot how to tackle in our last match

Missed tackles, poor tackling, defensive gaps or just simply not ready to tackle? Why have your players forgotten how to tackle?

There’s no doubt you will have practised tackling in training, but here are some different ways to reinvigorate your team’s defensive capability. This will nudge their tackling memories and remind them how to defend more effectively next week.


  • Start tackling training with low impact exercises.
  • Low impact exercises should be technically accurate.
  • Don’t overload the players’ brains with too much technical information, though. Concentrate on one aspect of the technique, such as grip, footwork, leg drive or head position.
  • Test tackling out in more chaotic game-like scenarios. And finally, test it out when they are getting tired.
  • However, think carefully about your team’s developmental stage. Younger, less experienced players need plenty of success to give them confidence.

So, start the session with an exercise like High-low-high tackling, which improves the players’ body positions in the tackling area. Players will get some low impacts, helping to build their confidence.

Then, look at 1v1 tackling with Tackle good, recover well, tackle again. In this exercise, one player tackles from different angles four or five times, which gives them a feeling for working under fatigue conditions.

Put these techniques and skills into a defensive system. First work on coming forward as a group, in United we defend. The exercise uses ruck pads, which allows players to concentrate on their connections rather than making the final tackle. Of course, for more intense sessions, you can take them away.

And then work on a more active type of defence with Develop an aggressive defence. This is closer to a game situation, where players will have to pick their targets and close down the attacking options as a group.


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