The steps to making an effective tackle are simple and when mastered will result in a higher percentage of completed first time tackle attempts and turnover opportunities.
1. Track The Attack
When approaching the attacker don’t focus on the ball or the legs moving around, rather zone in on an area of the body that doesn’t move and will always be where the player is – the core. The core is the abdominals and hips.
2. Arms & Hands
Bring your arms in and elbows tucked to your side with your hands up above hip height. When your arms are out at the side you are exposing your shoulder joint and this in turn exposes you to injury. When your arms are in you will have more muscle covering your shoulder joint protecting you during impact. The hands up and shoulders tucked make you more compact and solid.
3. Leading Leg
Your first reaction should be to plant your foot close into the contact point getting into the attackers space shutting down their movements. Right foot with right shoulder and left foot with left shoulder.
4. Pre Tackle Stance
Bend the knees slightly, arms in, hands up and eyes up looking at the target. You should be dancing on your toes ready for any change of direction not flatfooted. The eyes up will create a straight solid spine and with this posture you will be able to safely exert maximal force in the tackle. If your eyes look down to the ground you will curve your spine and could injure yourself as you can’t see any sudden movements from the attacker and could get your head and neck on the wrong side of the tackle.
5. Arm Wrap & Squeeze
Punch your arms quickly and explosively around your opponent and squeeze trapping them in your grasp limiting their movements. If you don’t grasp around the attacker they can wriggle free and break the tackle, you must trap them.
6. Power Drive
Once the hit has been made you must drive the legs trying to push back the attacker and in doing so you will create forward momentum which will assist in turning the attacker onto their back exposing the ball.
7. Recycle yourself
Work quickly to ‘recycle’ yourself back onto your feet and try to steal or drive over the ball.