Winning Youth Football

Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Football Keys: Open Field Tackling and Special Teams

When looking for special team players one of the main skills you are looking for from your players is their ability to make open field tackles. One thing that I have learned over the years as a specialty teams coach is that you cannot hide players on these teams that do not have the ability to make open field tackles otherwise you are setting yourself and the player up for failure.

Usually failure on a special team results in giving up a touchdown.

When you consider that the opposing punt/kick-off returner is probably their best and fastest athlete you need to counter on your special team with your very best athletes and tacklers. Not only are they solid tacklers but they are also smart football players that know how to contain and tackle the opposing returners. One of the things that good special team players do when pursuing the returner in the open field is to take away one of his running options. They will do this by breaking down on the returners inside shoulder as they meet in open field and only giving the returner one option and that is to go outside.

A lot of times you'll hear the term in special teams to" use the sideline as your friend". In other words you take away the inside cutback of the returner by shading inside and push the returner hard to the sideline where you either run him out of bounds or force him to turn North /South as he approaches the sideline, right back towards your player where he has the advantage of making the tackle. Simply by being smart and using the sideline boundary to his advantage the player is able to effectively tackle a more agile athlete by taking away the inside cutback and forcing him to the sideline where he has to turn up field and either runs out of room or is tackled.