"Teaching young players the
art of the soccer tackle."

The tackle

When kids are trying to make a soccer tackle they are either overly aggressive or very timid. The players that are aggressive rush in and swing and the defender goes right around them.

The players that are not aggressive tend to stick out a toe or reach for the ball, and the attacking player goes right around the defending player.

I have watched so many coaches with a look of frustration as a young player sticks that foot out, and the attacking player goes sailing by towards goal. :) I know it is time to pull out the fun, tackling, ball winning games when the stabbers appear.

The block tackle

The block tackle is the most common tackle...

  • The player will position the foot like he or she is passing the ball, toe up, heel down and ankle locked.
  • Timing is everything! Don't stab - stick the foot or toe out.
  • The player plants the non kicking foot and tackles with the kicking foot.
  • The player should lean forward and go in hard and everyone should here a good pop on the ball.

When a player makes a good tackle their will be a loud "pop" on the ball and the player will come out the other end with the ball.

Poke Tackle

This tackle is a very simple soccer tackle...

  • An attacking player has the ball, but the defender can't win the ball with a block tackle.
  • The defender uses the toe to poke the ball away.

This is a good tackle for defenders if they are behind a forward and need to win the ball or need to make a last minute tackle.

Slide tackle

The player begins the slide tackle by...

  • Sliding in on their side - baseball slide - whips the leg back and slams it into the ball.
  • The ankle is locked and the toe is down.
  • Tackle with the laces.

Devastating if the player gets all ball...

Fun tackling game

The coach puts the players in pairs.

  • The players face each other and put their hands on each others shoulders.
  • The ball is at the players' feet.
  • The players will put the plant foot next to the ball - if player "A" has the left foot down, player "B" puts the left foot down. The kids will use the right foot - back foot - to tackle!!
  • The players use the block tackle on the count of three. I let them count!
  • The players should make contact at the same time.
  • The ball should stay in place - not bounce away since we are working on timing.

The kids will giggle and have fun with this one...

I generally add this game to a warm up before games or use it for a warm up prior to practice.

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Coaches, do you want to make soccer fun and motivate your players? Soccer patches are a great motivational tool that can be used for goals, assists, good defending or skills competitions. The kids love patches!!