Tackling DrillsI want to take this opportunity to impress upon you the importance of making a commitment to non-contact and low impact drills for tackling and teaching pursuit. By incorporating non-contact tackling drills, you are going to save yourself and your players a lot of injury. Plus, it creates muscle memory for your players to know exactly what to do in a situation. It’s more about technique than it is about toughness.   And we’ve all got guys we wish were a little bigger, a little stronger, maybe a little tougher – you can’t coach that.

But you can coach technique! Use the non-contact tackling drills all season long. That way, they’ve been learning tackling since spring ball, and they don’t have to learn tackling on the first day of pads and get all beat up. They’re probably going to be sore enough as it is with all the conditioning they’ve had to do.   So use non-contact drills. This will reduce the amount of injuries you have on your team for the year, and we don’t need to hurt anybody trying to teach tackling. Tackling is more about technique than it is about toughness.

Now, I know there are a lot of drills to choose from. You may not have the coaches to run that many drills. It may seem like it’s going to take a long time to put them in. And there’s a solution for that. What you need to do is teach a couple of drills a day and take maybe five minutes per station, and really teach it. Keep the tempo slow. Demonstrate for them. And then as the season goes on, you shorten the time of the drills until you get them down to 60 seconds. If your players have done them enough times, they know when they get there – because you set them up the same every time, you have the same coaches or two running the same drills every time, you do them at the same time of practice – so when they get there, they know exactly what to do. There’s no more teaching time.     So you go from having them in five-minute increments to two-minute increments, then down to 60 seconds. Get them in, get them out, blow the whistle. Get them in, get them out, blow the whistle. Okay? You can then do a tackle circuit with five or six guys.

  • Get your team captains or team leaders to keep up the tempo and enthusiasm. But again, you’re not going to teach your whole team these drills in one day. As the season goes on, you need to shorten the time of each drill. That goes for the tackle circuit and leverage circuit as well.
  • Get all your tempos correct. Walk through it with them. Make sure your drills are relevant. Make sure they’re about real football situations. Explain the football situation that the drill is about while the players are out there. Get them excited about the project.
  • Have all the coaches use consistent language and consistent coaching points. That way, those become part of their own thought processes when they’re tackling.   Have all the coaches using the same coaching points. Use them in the drills. Use them during the game.

And once again, I cannot stress this enough.   Don’t mistake a technique drill for a toughness drill, otherwise kids get hurt. Tackling saves you the big play. And if you’re giving up the big play, you’re probably not playing very good defense. Get them tackling, don’t get them hurt, and watch the results.

Do you agree with these points regarding contact vs. non-contact drills?   Share your thoughts below!   And don’t forget to Follow Me on Twitter, where I will share more tackling drills and tips!