Sunday, April 6, 2014

Tackling Progression Part I

Me in 2011: "You can't teach tackling. Either the players want to do it or they don't"

Me in 2014: "2011 me was an idiot."

When I first started coordinating I didn't have a progressive system to teach tackling to players. I had drills, a ton of them, but their was only a semblance of some type of purpose to them.

I didn't teach fundamentals well enough, I didn't keep my vocabulary consistent and when we were bad at tackling (and in 2011, we were terrible),  I didn't have a system in place to correct my players.

Following the 2011 season, I knew we had to improve, so I started looking into ways I could create a progressive system to teach tackling. By the start of our practices for the 2012 season, I had bits and pieces, but had yet to create the system I wanted.

Last spring I began chronicling the progression through the use of a PowerPoint presentation and started to take video of our drills.

My goal was to create a progression we could use program wide and refer to consistently from the freshman level on up to the varsity level.

None of this is original in thought... I "borrowed" most of it from a PowerPoint that steelhawk put up on Coach Huey first. Then, I listened to Coach Tim Murphy speak at a Glazier Presentation, watched some USA Football "Heads Up Tackling" videos, watched Bobby Hosea videos, reviewed tape of how Chris Ash teaches tackling, and continued to get other resources on Coach Huey. I just rearranged and changed some things to fit my liking and my situation.

We start by introducing the 3 phases of a tackle going from the position a player finishes a tackle in to how he starts a tackle.

1. Finish Phase
2. Strike Phase
3. Pursuit Phase

The Finish Phase includes the fundamentals of Clamp and Drive. Clamp is the act of holding onto a ball carrier with one's arms. Drive is the act of pumping one's legs and driving their hips through the ball carrier.

The Strike Phase includes the fundamentals of the hit position, the violent double uppercut action of the arms and the popping of the hips and chest through the ball carrier.


The Pursuit Phase includes the two types of tackles a player sees during the course of the game: Profile and Buzz.

A Profile tackle occurs when a ball carrier is moving horizontally away from the defender and you can only see his "profile".

A Buzz tackles occurs when a ball carrier is coming head on with a tackler and has a two-way go.

Part II of this series will include video of some of the drills we use to practice these fundamentals as well as the progression it's completed in.

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