List of Tackling Sports A-Z

List of Tackling Sports

Tackling sports can be traced back to at least the middle ages and perhaps farther as one of the earliest forms of team sport. Records of Gaelic football go back as far as 1670, and this early game eventually led to the creation of soccer and rugby. These sports helped create American football, one of the most popular tackling sports today. Numerous other tackling sports, including beach rugby, Australian football, and rugby sevens have been adapted as variations of the original games. While American football and rugby may be the most popular examples of tackling sports today, many others have notoriety in the sporting world as well. For example, water polo has been a longstanding part of the Summer Olympic program since 1900. These intense and action-packed sports can be fun to watch and play for people of all ages but admittedly come with certain risks due to their physical nature.

Tackling Sports List A to Z


What are tackling sports?

Tackling sports are most frequently team sports played with a ball. They involve a degree of violence as, like many sports in early history, tackling sports were used as a simulation of battle. Over time, this roughness has become less extreme in most cases. This is largely due to the increased focus on safety which has helped decrease some of the brutality within these sports. Tackling sports often involve throwing, catching, or kicking a ball to help the offensive team score. 

What tackling sports are in the Olympics?

Rugby and water polo are the two most popular tackling sports that are played in the Olympics. Rugby returned to the Olympics in 2016 for the Rio games and was played in the “sevens” format, a faster-paced style of rugby. Water polo has been in the Olympics since 1900 and remains a popular, action-packed sport in the Summer Olympics itinerary. Although American football is wildly popular in the United States, it is not an Olympic sport due to the lack of competition the American team would face.

Rugby in its many forms may be the most popular tackling sport in the world in terms of participation. Teams from Asia, Europe, Australia, and North America all compete at a high level in international competitions. American football is certainly one of the most popular tackling sports in terms of viewership, as the Super Bowl is one of the most-watched sporting events in the world. However, not as many people play the game outside of America.

Do you need protective pads to play tackling sports?

That depends on the sport and the player. American football requires padding when played as a tackling sport, though there are variations played without padding, such as flag and touch football. Those variations are not considered tackling sports, however. Rugby does not require padding, though some players choose to wear scrum caps to protect their heads. In water polo, players also wear caps to protect their ears and head but do not sport additional padding.