EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

How to tackle the big kid

In younger age groups, getting players to tackle the “big kid” who runs through everyone can be a major stumbling block. The front-on tackle requires a little more coaching effort in these early years…

Confidence is vital in young players. Providing a smaller child with the confidence to tackle a larger, running ball carrier is probably the biggest hurdle for a coach to overcome.

For the player, it involves the right mindset, skill execution and courage. The following points might make your tackling sessions more effective…

REMEMBER THE BASICS

Your governing body has guidelines on how to teach the front-on tackle.

Even an experienced coach can forget the key factors of a basic skill, so check your union’s website to keep up to date. There may also be new ideas on tackling.

MIX UP THE SIZES OF YOUR PLAYERS

Having players of similar size tackling all of the time is not game-relevant. So make sure small players run at big players and vice versa.

Different-sized players handle contact in many ways and so experiencing this in training is essential.

DON’T RUN BEFORE YOU CAN WALK

Don’t start the process by making players run into the tackler. Begin by having the carrier simply “fall” over the shoulder of the tackler. This gives the tackler a sense of what a good tackle feels like. Then get them to walk in, jog in and, finally, run in.

Rugby is a contact “avoidance” game. Don’t believe the hype that it’s a collision sport. You don’t score by getting children to “collide” with anything – avoiding opponents is the best way to go forward. However, many believe that running straight is the way to success and as long as that’s the general view, the front-on tackle will remain one of rugby’s most important skills.

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