Tackling is one of the most important elements of the game. While a bone crunching tackle makes a great video on You Tube the reality is missed tackles get you far more noticed in a rugby match and obviously not for the right reasons!
As a player you will instantly lose marks for a missed tackle that results in a big gain. Do this a few games in a row and you may get a rep as a poor tackler and harm your progress going forwards. As a coach you can have all the tactics, moves and fitness you want for your players but the moment missed tackles begin to happen you are staring defeat in the face. It can often prove to be helpful to sepearate your players into the different types of tackler. The four categories are –
When you have separated out your players into their general types you now must create a plan of action. As a player or rugby coach your goal should be to get yourself or all of your players into type 4 – Someone who holds no fear of tackling and is technically good at it too. The various tackler types need to be handled differently.
A way to improve everyone’s tackling is to have tackling practice in sessions. I am shocked at how little contact there is in rugby sessions. It is probably more under used than a good fitness programme and that is saying a lot. If you never do tackling in training you are sending out a message to players to be scared of tackling or that it is not that important.
Saying that though having type 1 and 2 go into full tackling practice against your strongest and best runners is probably not the way to go. It will demotivate them further. For those scared of tackling they need to do it regularly and be coached on technique. You should also test the drills you are using. Tackling one on one with 3 metres from each other is not the same as one on one against a winger in open space. A good progression for types 1 and 2 is to start non contact practice tackling (Getting into position on live drills but without the contact/wrestle to the ground).
Types 3 need coaching on their technique. While fear is not their issue selecting which tackling technique and type to use (I counted 11 types of tackle last time I checked and that was without really analysing it – see future articles). Type 4 tacklers should be helping out the rest of the team giving guidance alongside the coaches. If you are a player then spend time with type 4 tacklers or if that is you, help the worst tacklers on your team as they will be the ones who cost you victory.
Agree? Disagree? Have a thought to share? Comment below, it is always good to hear from you.