- American Football
- Football How To Tackle
Tackling is when a player on the defense stops the forward progress of the ball carrier by forcing them to the ground. When the ball carrier touches the ground, the down is over. A tackle in football is the action of running into an opposing player to knock them to the ground. When a ball-carrier is tackled, the play is called dead. This write-up will cover all the basics with regards to proper tackling technique.
While there are a number of ways to successfully complete a tackle, there are several techniques to keep in mind in order to execute a safe and effective take down of the opposing player. Each step is outlined below:
- Slow down just before making the tackle, keeping the feet active (shuffling) prior to making contact with the opposing player. This helps prevent the defender from eluding the tackler with a juke or spin move.
- Watch the ball carrier's hips in order to get a sense of which direction the player is headed. Once it is clear where the ball carrier wants to go, it becomes much easier to cut off the running space and make a tackle
- Establish a low center of graving by bending the knees and getting low to the ground, as tackles made below the waist are much harder for the ball carrier to slip than tackle attempts at shoulder level.
- Keep your head up in order to recognize and react to any moves the ball carrier might make in an effort to avoid being tackled
- Wrap your arms around the ball carrier's legs as the ball carrier is being brought to the ground. Wrapping and squeezing the opposing player's leagues makes it nearly impossible for the player to get out of a tackle.
- Lead with your shoulder, not your head, as contacting the opposing player head-first will result not only in a penalty, but potentially a severe upper body injury as well
- "Bite the ball" by placing your face mask on the ball when making a tackle to increase the chances of the ball popping out and being recovered by a teammate.
Benefits of a Proper Tackle
Using proper tackling technique helps to ensure the safety of both the ball carrier and the defender, while also preventing any penalties related to illegal contact or unnecessary roughness from being called. Keep in mind that the defender's goal is to bring the ball carrier or to the ground or force the ball to pop without causing severe injury. When executed properly, a tackle can be the difference between winning and losing by preventing the opponent from gaining crucial extra yards throughout the course of a game.
Down by contact is when the ball carrier touches the ground and play immediately ends. In the NFL, down by contact happens when both knees of the ball carrier touch the ground. In the NCAA, down by contact happens when one knee of the ball carrier touches the ground.
A sack is when the quarterback is tackled for a loss of yards behind the scrimmage line. Sacks are great for the defense because it increases the likelihood for a turnover on downs.