There may be no skill more important to a linebacker than his tackling ability. No matter how good they are at recognizing plays and beating blocks, it’s all for nought if they can’t bring the ball handler down.
That’s why you need to work on the fundamentals of tackling, making sure players focus on proper form and wrapping up, instead of trying to level the ball handler with their shoulder.
Here we focus on the last part of the tackle, with the tackler crouched low, with his hands behind the ballcarriers hamstrings, and their head up, almost with their helmet on the football. Ideally you would set up a mat, with a bag in front of it, which will not only keep your ball carrier safe, but also present a goal for the tackler to aim for.
On your command, the tackler will drive and accelerate with his feet, pushing the other player back onto the behind him.
By focusing in on the last part of the tackle, we give the player a chance to focus
completely on the fundamentals of the takedown, without having to worry about initiating good contact or missing the defender.
Don’t forget to get your players to lineup at both the left and right angles as well.
Lining Up The Ball Carrier
Here we take the same idea of the last drill, but have the ball carrier run from the bag out to meet the defender, forcing the defender to come in and line up the ball carrier, before using the same technique as in the previous drill to bring the offensive player down on to the mat.
If player’s are having trouble keeping the fundamentals intact, don’t be afraid to go back to the first drill and practice form tackling a little bit more.
Veer Bag Tackling
Now that they have the basics down, we can put them in a real game situation. Put a bag, or some other obstacle in between two players, one with a ball.
The player with the ball will choose a side and come sprinting around it, and the defender will have to react and meet him head on.
Once the players have gotten the hang of this, make it a competition, awarding points for successful tackles to really get them working!
If you have any questions, or suggestions for future posts, make sure to let me know below in the comments section!