Shape up before you tackle

By adopting the right body shape and footwork, defenders can close down ball carriers and make stronger impacts. This exercise will help your players adjust so they can produce effective tackles.

By using the ball in the first two drills, the defender gets used to converting his body shape quickly – as he would have to do in a game.

  1. Put a defender carrying a ball at one end of the first box and an attacker at the other end.
  2. They jog towards each other and, as they cross, the defender passes the ball.
  3. When they reach the ends, they turn and the defender now makes a tackle.
  4. He aims to get his shoulder into the thigh or below the ribs of the ball carrier, using the correct approach technique.

  1. To develop, use a wider box.
  2. Again, the defender starts by passing the ball, but this time when returning he initially runs to the corner of the box, so he comes from an angle to make the tackle.

  1. Finally, put the defender at the wide end of the funnel and the attacker with a ball at the narrow end.
  2. The defender rushes off the line to make a shoulder impact on the carrier.
  3. The quicker he is, the less width the carrier has to get past him.


  • Weight forward on toes.
  • Elbows in and hands high.
  • Short steps to help adjust to the carrier’s movements.
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