Youth Fundamentals: Form Tackling

| April 18, 2012 | 0 Comments

While tackling is crucial to both individual and team success, it is the skill that gets the least attention. The reasons for this are endless, ranging from fear of injury to lack of training aids. Many youth camps avoid this topic altogether for these reasons, but choosing to do so only contributes to poor form and increased head injuries.

Proper tackling form can be safely taught to youth without the need of helmets or shoulder pads but rather by using training aids that are common items within any high school program. With repetition, players will become more comfortable with the aggressive nature of playing defense.
There are many different ways to teach form tackling. This manual teaches the chest to chest model because it stresses keeping the head out of the tackle without losing aggressiveness.

The purpose of this technique is to teach and practice safe and effective tackling techniques using a simple progression. Proper tackling form is essential to playing safe, aggressive, and winning football.

Note: Coaches must take time their time and address every part of a perfect tackle from head to toe. Stress safety at all times.

Teaching Progression:

Step 1. Teach the “Hit” and “Hands” portions of the tackling progression.
Step 2. Teach the “Hips” part of the tackling progression.
Step 3. Teach the “Heart” part of the tackling progression.


The Four H’s of a Perfect Tackle

  • Hit – Stresses the proper fit of the head and chest with the body of the ball carrier
    • Head
      • Eyes up
      • Neck bowed
      • See what they are hitting
      • Off to the upfield side of the ball carrier
    • Chest & Shoulder
      • Make contact with the ball carriers lower chest
      • Drive through the ball carrier
  • Hands – Stress the importance of using the hands and arms to attack the ball and gain control of the ball carrier
    • Both arms aggressively fly under the ball carriers arms in an upward motion
    • Biceps will make contact with the armpit of the ball carrier
    • The ball will come loose if this is done perfectly
    • Hands grab onto the jersey or “grab cloth”
  • Hips – Good tacklers use their arms and chest to deliver the power that they have transferred from their hips and legs
    • Start with “Z’s” in the knees
    • Wound up, ready to explode
    • Drive hips forward with power from the legs
    • Extend onto the toes
  • Heart – Once the ball carrier is wrapped up, it is a matter of will for the tackler to finish by driving him backwards using his feet
    • Eyes to the sky
    • Fast feet
    • Drive your legs

Tackling Progression

Our tackling progression was covered in an earlier post.  Click here to view.

More Info…

This information is foundational to what is taught in the Sports Camp in a Box: Football Edition product that we released onto the market roughly a year ago and is being used across the US and Europe.

If you would like to learn more about that product, check out the product details here.

Related posts:

  1. Youth Fundamentals: Base Block
  2. Youth Fundamentals: Carrying the Football
  3. Youth Fundamentals: Catching the Ball
  4. Youth Fundamentals: Stance & Start
  5. 3 on 3 Tackling Drill

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Category: Camps and Combines, Full Throttle Football, Player Development, Youth Football

About the Author ()

Coach Nichols has coached football at nearly every level from middle school to the college ranks (currently WR Coach at Hope College). Over his career, he has developed a reputation as a innovator and teacher of the game. He runs his companies, Full Throttle Coaching Solutions and Full Throttle Football, and Full Throttle Publications, to share his experiences with coaches around the world.

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