Progression for Teaching Tackling

This past season I was introduced to a new way of teaching tackling. The most significant difference is that we really never taught the finish until the end of the progression. The rip, wrap, drive part of the tackle came last because the fact is, if your approach is right, most players can get the ball carrier down. The emphasis is still, of course, always on proper form and safety.

Shimmy Down

Start off by partnering your players up and having them stand side by side on a line. One partner will step off 3 steps from the other, turn and face. Now we get good body position.

    1. Butt down, good hitting position. Head is up, neck bowed. Show the numbers to the ball carrier. Keep hands in the ‘holsters’ by your hips.
    2. Lead with one foot first, then the other. If we’re starting with the right foot up, it will always stay up within this 3 step area.
    3. This is called the shimmy down – when we’re within this range of the ball carrier, we’ll take short choppy steps with the lead foot always staying in front until your lead foot splits the crotch of the ball carrier.


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