Winning Youth Football

Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Football Tackling Fundamentals and Tackling Drills

One of the most frustrating things I see as a youth coach in football is poor tackling fundamentals. Watching a player come up and grab the jersey of the ball carrier and then turn and try and throw the player to the ground is definitely not good tackling. If any of your players do this in youth football its time to work on their tackling fundamentals.
The key to good tackling and football tackling drills is to teach them to have good body position. Good body position puts their body in the right position to make a proper football tackle. Now when we talk about having good body position we're talking about having a good football stance, with knees bent, butt down, flat back, neck bulled, and the head is always back with the arms slightly back, The body is now coiled and in position to make a proper tackle. By being in a coiled position the player is now in position to explode up and through the ball carrier, wrap him up with his arms, head back, neck bulled, and on contact we talk to our players about hip explosion and driving the arms up and around the torso, looking for chest to chest contact with head always back, never down.
One of the pre-season tackling drills we do to emphasize this in youth football is to get the players to partner up. We instruct them to get on their knees face to face with about ten inches between their knees. One of the players is instructed to sit up on their knees with arms extended out to their side. The other player, the tackler, is instructed to sit back with his butt on his legs; head back, neck bulled, and arms straight out behind the back. On command the player is to explode off his back legs with his hips with head back, drive the arms up under the armpits of the other player, get a good chest to chest contact, with head back, and wrap up and hold. Understand now that neither player ever leaves their knees. The coach will refer to hip explosion, head back, neck bulled, and chest to chest contact while driving the arms up and through the defender. The next step is to have the ball carrier stand straight up with arms extended out to the sides with the tackler kneeling this time on one knee with one leg up, sitting back once again, on his heel, with arms back, neck bulled and head back. On the coach's command, the kneeling player will explode up once again, drive his arms up and through the arm-pits of the player, wrap up, get a chest to chest contact, with head back, and neck bulled. Now we'll separate them about 5 yards apart, both standing, the ball carrier will once again have his arms extended out to the side. On the coaches command the ball carrier with arms extended will walk straight up toward the tackler, the tackler will step, drop to one knee, and then drive up through the ball carrier , chest to chest contact, with head back, neck bulled, wrap up and walk him back several steps.
We find that this is a good drill that emphasizes how we want our players to set up their bodies in order to make a proper tackle. We emphasize hip explosion, with head back, neck bulled, chest to chest contact, driving up through, and wrapping up. By starting them on the knees we are able to isolate and talk about their body position and specific things they need to work on to be a good tackler and progress to where they are both standing. This tackling drill slows things down to a controlled speed and emphasizes solid tackling fundamentals.