EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Sock it to them in tackling

Improve tackling by teaching players to make more shoulder contacts. Rolled up socks reduce the players’ inclination to grab in the tackle.

Impact with the shoulder helps players make a stronger contact, but also be in safe position to complete the tackle. Rolled up socks are easier for players of all sizes. Rolled up bibs work equally well.

SET UP

Set out 4m squares with four players, two rugby balls and four rolled up socks in each square.

ACTIVITY

  1. Each pair works along a side of the square. One player has the ball and jogs toward the tackler who is holding a sock in each hand. This stops him grabbing the ball carrier. 
  2. The tackler runs out to meet the ball carrier. He plants a foot in the “tackle zone” (as close to the ball carrier as possible) and makes contact with his shoulder. 
  3. Increase the speed so the tackle becomes more intense.
  4. Then, remove the socks and get the tackler to work with his arms behind his back. The idea is the same, the tackler gets in close to the ball carrier, plants a foot and hits with the same shoulder.
  5. Get ball carriers to introduce lateral movement to make tacklers move sideways before contact.

GAME SITUATION

  1. Move on to an exercise where all four players work in pairs diagonally across the square.

One player (1) runs across and receives a pass from player 2.

  1. Each runs to their corner cone, turn and run back, with the current ball carrier (1), aiming to score their starting cone.
  2. The ball is then passed to the next pair.
  3. Work in sets of 10 tackles.

TECHNIQUE

  • Plant a foot and make the impact with the same shoulder.
  • Get close to the ball carrier before committing to the tackle.
  • Make all tackles with the shoulder, not arms or grabbing with hands.
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