Here is a 15-minute mini contact session based on reintroducing players to the contact area. What’s important in this early stage is to revisit the basics of contact. Not only as players’ techniques may have slipped during lockdown, but also in an effort to make everyone’s contact area safer and better. The session focuses on technique in a safe but competitive environment, enabling the players to have fun with first getting the contact positions right and then working on their tackling. MORE
Noddy and Big Ears
Focus tacklers on getting their ears tight to the shorts of the ball carrier. This helps them engage their shoulder, keep their eyes open and use the right footwork.
- Hold a tackle tube (or post protector), with a player less than one pace away
- Drop the tube away to the left or right. The player steps forward to get his head tight into the tube. His ear presses hard against the tube.
- Develop by having a defender (Big Ears) in the middle. Ball carriers (Noddy) walk down the line
- Big Ears comes across to put his head tight into the shorts of Noddy – no need to put him on the ground
- Develop by scoring points for effective tackles
- Give Big Ears two points for a full tackle
- Give Big Ears one point for driving Noddy out of the narrow corridor, with his head tight to the shorts (no pushing with the arms)
Where the head goes, shoulders follow. If the player keeps his eyes open in contact, he is likely to keep his head in the right place and impact with the shoulder first. This can be done by making him focus on putting his ear on the shorts of the ball carrier.
A tackle tube (or post protector), balls, cones.
HOW TO DO IT
- Hold a tackle tube or post protector. Put a tackler in front of it. Pull it left or right and then let go so it falls that way. The tackler has to step forward and put his ear tight into the tube. In doing so, he must engage with the shoulder and grab the tube (see picture 1).
- Develop by putting attackers (“Noddys”) in two lines at one end of a 5x3m box and a tackler (“Big Ears”) in the middle. The first Noddy comes forward staying on the line and the tackler puts his ear tight into the shorts. He can grab but does not need to make a full tackle (see picture 2). Then another Noddy comes forward.
- Develop further by scoring points if “Big Ears” can drive the “Noddy” into a 1m channel around the box or tackle him to ground (see picture 3).
- Eyes open
- Foot close to ball carrier.
- Tight grip
- Head tight to the shorts.