Rugby to the Rescue of American Football

Tackling in the USA

Very interesting story in the NYT about how American Football coaches look at rugby tackling to reduces injuries and make more effective tackles. Click on the image below to read the NYT article.

I am always working on tackle technique, defenders have to go through 10 steps to complete a proper tackle and we have to think about how to develop this important and complicated skill.

In rugby we now have the debate about the high tackle, personally I believe a strong tackle on the hips and legs is more effective and can even prevent a good off-load.

Progressing the tackling technique

This is how I have detailed the progression in my implementation of the LTAD model:

  • We start at young age: touch rugby makes us reach a hip level, but does not require us to square up. This is what I do not like about touch rugby. But I see the advantage of a “touch-must-keep-the-ball-alive” concept forming in the young players mind.
  • We can introduce contact, and work on footwork and shoulder placement. there is very little use of tackling bags because it does exactly what is shown in the NYT photo: “shoulder strike too sone”. I love the tackle donuts though.
  • When the children grow older and their young minds can understand concepts of tackling in a defensive concept, we can introduce tackle zones and inside/outside shoulder.
  • Next is to introduce concepts like “Legs, Ball, Space”. The priority list for the defenders around the ball carrier.
  • Impact and collision can become more important when we start building the body of the young adult player.

Of course tackle technique development is integral part of the SuperCoach Online program.