Presented by Alex Corbisiero, Camp Director
Proper Tackling Form
One of the most important techniques defenders must learn is tracking while tackling an offensive player. There are several factors that you should focus on to make clean tackles. Alignment towards the player becomes vital, as with bad position you can miss vital tackles. Your approach towards the player can also prove to be the most important. While playing rugby, balance is very important. Finally, you want to focus on making solid contact and finishing through the player.
Correct alignment means that the defender runs offset to the ball carrier pre tackle. You want to focus on having your shoulder lined up with the runners outside shoulder. This becomes very important when offensive players make juke movements. Younger players will instinctively run towards the ball carrier but allowing yourself to track the defender will give you more success. Running directly towards the ball carrier can also increase the risk of injury. Finally, it gives the ball carrier more options to evade.
Approaching the offensive player with active feet is very important. Active feet will allow you to move in any direction and give you more options to move with the defender. Many younger players will run towards the ball carrier and freeze on their heels not knowing how to follow through with proper form.
Balance is very important not only in Rugby, but in life! Good balance will allow you to correct any mistakes you make on your approach and alignment. Good balance also starts with active feet, and the ability to move in any direction. Keys to good balance are having your chin up and eyes forward, hips square to the defender, and feet aligned.
Contact is one of the biggest keys to successful rugby. Making good contact with the offensive player depends on lowering your center of gravity and using your shoulder to drive through their hips. You should also focus on closing the gap between yourself and the defender, leaving as little space as possible before impact. You want to focus on entering an imaginary circle only two feet around the player before finishing the tackle. It is important to note that with proper form you minimize the risk of injury and prolong your playing career!