Topping the tackle

A defender who finishes on top of the tackle is a valuable asset, because he’ll be quicker to join the next phase of the game. Help players learn the skill and understand the benefits with this activity.

If the tackler lands on the ball carrier, he’s often in a good position to challenge for the ball straight away or get back quickly into the defensive line.

  1. Put a ball carrier next to a ruck pad.
  2. He should have his feet together.
  3. A defender tackles the carrier onto the pad, landing on top of him.
  4. He then gets up quickly to gather the ball.

  1. Develop by putting the defender in the middle of a box with a ball carrier on each corner.
  2. The first carrier jogs towards the centre cone.
  3. The tackler aims to bring the carrier down, regain his feet and put his hands on the ball.
  4. Once he has done this, the next carrier comes forward.
  5. Repeat for each carrier.

  1. Time how quickly the defender completes the task.
  2. Make sure the ball carriers only jog out and that they aim for the centre cone.
  3. Hand-offs aren’t allowed.


  • Shoulder and head tight to the ball carrier’s body.
  • Use the legs to drive the ball carrier over and twist as he lands.
  • Bounce off the carrier to get back on the feet quickly.
Share this
Follow us