VIDEO: Boxer tackles to build better tackle technique

Use this four stage exercise to build better tackle technique. By emulating a boxer, the tackler develops balanced footwork, staying square to the target, punching the hands forward and then, at the end engaging the shoulder. It help players become more confident in contact.


  1. At the two corners of a 5m box, put a line of “tacklers” and line of ruck-pad holders.
  2. A pad holder jogs into the box, and a tackler comes forward.
  3. In the first part of the exercise, the tackler pushes against the front of the pad with two hands.
  4. If they can’t, they haven’t positioned themselves in front of the pad, and aren’t balanced enough to make the tackle.
  5. Repeat a number of times before swapping on the pads and then, swapping sides of the box.
  6. In the second part, the tackler pushes their hands to either side of the pad. The head will naturally arrive at the side of the pad.
  7. Finally, take the pad away. First, the tackler puts their hands beyond, before you concentrate on the shoulder contact, with the head in tight.
  8. Develop this further my moving onto full tackling.

Note, if you want to add more pressure, the ball carriers can increase their pace, and use more footwork to beat the tackler.


  • Keep coming forward, light on the feet, like a boxer in the ring.
  • Bend the elbows, keep the hands in front of the body.
  • Punch the hands beyond the target, which means stepping into the target.
  • When making a shoulder contact, keep the eyes open, focused on the head getting tight into the side of the target.

For more developments, try out:

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