Tackling Drills (Part 1)

We have four drills that we use in our tackling circuit.  This is used at Spring Football to teach fundamental tackling in game like situations, and every practice during the first two weeks of full pads.

Tackling Drills.

Great tackling wins games. Period.

We get a ton of tackling in Team and Individual periods once games start. We stop doing our circuits during “week 1″ to focus on game preparation.

However, we will bust out our Tackling Circuit on any given Monday if our tackling was poor on Friday night. (If it was really bad, we come in Sunday after Church!)

Our Four Drills for our Tackling Circuit are:

    • Angle Tackling Drills
    • Head On Football Tackling Drills
    • Open Field Tackling Drills
    • 2-on-1 Tackling Drills

*The drills in this article are our base drills.  We believe these four drills generally cover almost every situation a defensive player may find himself in (Head up, angle tackle, alone in space, 2-on-1).  However, we do have other drills we insert into this circuit from time to time to address specific situations (Example: Running a player out of bounds).

*We spend one day each season form tackling and teaching safe “heads up” techniques before we start our tackling circuit work.

*Each station is four minutes with one minute to rotate.  We space them out pretty good to get a nice jog between and have plenty of time to set up the next group.

*Total time to run the entire circuit is 20 minutes.

Station 1: Angle Tackling Drills

The vast majority of all tackles will happen on an angle moving left or right.  It is critical your kids know how to make a an angle tackle.

Angle Tackle

Station 1: The Angle Tackle Drill


    • Place two cones ten yards apart.
    • Place two bags/dummies/cones five yards apart in the middle of the cones.
    • Place two other bags/dummies/cones ONE YARD from the two inside bags.

* Keeping the bags close forces the ball carrier through a confined space.  This makes the tackle easier for the defense.  We are working angles, not open field tackling drills.  This puts the ball carrier where we want him!

    • A coach (C) will stand behind the defender (X) and will tell the ball carrier (O) which way to go. 
    • He will drop his hand to signal the ball carrier to move.  Do not train defenders to go on a snap count.  You can call a cadence, but teach your guys to go on movement, not on sound.
    • The players that just went switch lines and the next two go.
    • Keep it rolling until it’s time to rotate.
    • This drill should be a full bore, to the ground drill.  Make the tackle.

Angle Tackle Coaching Points:

1.  Defenders – Beat the ball carrier to the bags or you lose; “Attack His Grass!”

2.  Attack his INSIDE hip (Near Hip, whatever you want to call it).  If you don’t, you will over pursue and likely miss the tackle.

3.  Drive your head in FRONT of the ball carrier.  (If your head is behind the ball carrier, you will likely arm tackle…this is a weak tackle which the back will likely easily break through).

4.  Drive your inside shoulder into the ball carriers ribs/free arm and your facemask THROUGH THE BALL.  A great way to teach this is to tell your kids to “Bite the Football.”

*Make sure your ball carriers are holding the ball in their outside arm.

Click Here to See Station #2 – Head On Tackling Drills



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