Youth Football Tackling Drills

/ / Youth Football Tackling Drills

Here a are two youth football tackling drills we use with our pee wee football players to learn tackling fundamentals. 

  1. Tackling Fit & Form Drill
  2. Hug and Hold Drill

On the first day of practice we teach proper tackling with the Fit & Form Drill.  This drill is part of our dynamic warm-ups.  Our two warm-up lines face each other and one line is the a stationary ball carrier and the other line is the tackler.  The tackler performs a proper form tackle on the stationary ball carrier; Bent knees shoulder width apart, bulled neck back (we tell the players their head should be up looking at the player’s numbers not at his feet or his head and never spear with top of helmet), slide helmet to one side of ball carrier with shoulder pads still in numbers while wrapping arms like a bear hug  around thighs, legs or buttocks while driving through the player.   The tackler picks up the ball carrier but does not take him to ground in this warm-up drill.  Each player does this twice; helmet left then right. 

Then we have we do the hug and hold tackling drill.  While the tackler is in a tackling ready position the ball carrier steps toward him slowly and jumps. The tackler then bear hugs the ball carrier in the air and holds the ball carrier up.  We learned this helps teach the kids to wrap up because they need both hands to hold the ball carrier in the air. 

We do these two drills everyday and emphasize head up no spearing.  While doing these tackling drills, our coaches walk the warm-up lines adjusting the players to insure proper tackling technique.  One thing I heard in a coaching clinic about keeping your head up was the tackler should be able to bite the running backs jersey through his face mask.  We do not condone biting but this is an easy way kids can remember to keep their heads up.  Just tell them they can’t really bite the player’s jersey.  If you have a problem using the word bite, try lick their jersey. 

You can find most of there in the Complete Book of Drills for Winning Football. 

Good luck this season.  Play for fun and winning is funner!


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  1. for form tackling we have a motto it goes “hit,wrap and suck him up.”it’s a word phrase that the boys understand and grasp the thought of contact then tackling

  2. I have been reading many different things about teaching tackling. There are so many that teach to tackle higher and lift the player off the ground. Myself, I can’t teach that way as I don’t believe that is most effective or does it happen in game situatoins. I am glad that I have found another coach that teaches to wrap up the legs. I have always told my players that a man can’t run without legs. If you take their legs out they are done for.

    1. The problem with primarily going for the legs is lack of tackling stabilty and reluctance to keep head up. I teach to hit higher, face at the numbers, wrap and if need be slide to the feet.

  3. wrapping legs can still lead to a missed tackle apposed to taking the # and driving through an opponent very dangerous and usually head is down targeting the legs leads to many injuries and a lot to clean up as a coaching standpoint to the players when they progress and get faster stronger and can break tackles with there legs!!

  4. Screws to the ball referring to screws holding face mask is effective head is up and body is at a good height

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