A friend of mine called me last night. He said his 12U team is not tackling low. They are tackling pretty good but some are having trouble breaking down and staying low to make tackles. We talked about not all tackles will be low since they might be open field pursuit tackles when a player just needs to save a big yardage gain. He explained that his team is tackling good he just needs some more practice staying low to work on a few players fundamentals and keep everyone fundamentally sound.
I told him we use our tackling bags and with a red tape line around them representing a players belt and have our players break down and tackle below the red line on the tackling bag. We also do the close quarters SeaHawk angle tackling drill where players are just arms length apart already broken down and one step into a near thigh low shoulder roll tackle. Lastly we do a two line drill where we are close quarters again and one player jumps up and the tackler wraps and holds up the jumped player to make sure we have wrapped up and we also do a grab cloth drill from two lines. One players turns and acts like a running back and the tackler grabs his jersey “Cloth” and the runner takes off. This helps us make sure we know we can grab cloth and help will come soon. Heck grab anything to save the tackle.
I have written an article on form tackling before, you can find it here, Is From Tackling Overrated. Each and every season, I teach proper mechanics of form tackling, especially the Seakawk Tackling System, but I am big on making tackles not worried about what they look like. That does not mean I do not like the fundamentals, I just know in most game situations a “true” form tackle is not always able to be applied because the ball carrier has other intentions. We also teach the Seahawk Pec tackle for open field tackling situations. Sometimes a high tackle is required or last ditch must move on a “jitter bug” running back. But I will agree with my friend, staying low, both in tackling and blocking to gain leverage is a basic football fundamental and must be taught and perfected by every player to be successful.
Here are some more drills to stay low….
King Size Sheet Low Board
Coach Casey has a few more videos I like on blocking but this old sheet drill to stay low is perfect for all. Just use an old king sized sheet as a low pole board drill.
Basketball Break Down
I’ve used a similar drill to this drill but used a basketball with youth football players versus a yoga ball with these bigger players. You can also use a smaller tennis ball and scoop with two hands and then have them tackle a dummy bag.
SeaHawk Tackling and Drills
I love the Seahawk Tackling system. This is very similar to what I was taught in high school. Plus, I played Rugby a season. I am very big on the shoulder roll tackles.
Low Pad Hits @ 1:23
I have never used this drill but I will this week. I really like this to get across some muscle memory about hitting low.
Staying Low using a Tackle Wheel @:20 @:35
A friend of mine made me two tackle wheels and they are great. This open tackle drill at 20 and 35 seconds are awesome drills to get your players tackling low.
I hope these drills and suggestions help you coach your team to get low during tackling and blocking. Let me know if you have a few drills that you use to help your team stay low.
Remember to Play For fun and Winning is Funner!
Keller, TX / Fort Worth, Texas