Rugby Tackling Drills

Rugby drills which introduce players to tackling and gradually build confidence. Beginners start with learning the basic techniques by doing a slow-motion tackle from the knees. This is progressed to tackling on one knee, then standing through to one v one full-contact tackling practices.

Side Tackle on Knees

This is the most basic tackling drill which begins on two knees at a walking pace. Once players are confident with this side on technique they can progress to performing it at a faster pace.

Explanation: This drill gives the basics of the side on tackle, but teaches it from the knees before being teaching from standing.

Description: The tackler should put his head behind the player, contact with the shoulder, wrap around his thighs and go to ground with the player. The ball carrier should turn his body to his team and present the ball arms out away from the opposition so the ball can easily be picked up by his team.

Side Tackle On One Knee

This drill is a progression from the side on tackle. The tackler is now on one knee which will prompt the tackler to put in more leg drive in the tackle.

The tackler is on one knee. They should tackle with the shoulder and put their cheek on the ball carriers thigh. The ball carrier should turn his body to his team and present the ball arms out away from the opposition so the ball can easily be picked up by his team.

Side Tackle from Squat

Here the defender tackles from the squat position with the attacker approaching from the side. This is a step up from tackling on one knee and allows more leg drive from the tackler.

Explanation: This drill is a progression from tackling from knees. The tackler is now in the squat position facing side on.

Description: The tackler must stand with feet shoulder-width apart and keep his balance. He must then perform the same tackle as the tackle from knees making contact with the shoulder.

The ball carrier should turn his body to his team and present the ball arms out away from the opposition so the ball can easily be picked up by his team.

Side Tackle Standing

The side tackle is used when the player in possession of the ball is running through a gap and gets horizontally in line with the defender.

This is an important tackle because if it is timed right it saves the tackler having to chase the ball carrier down the field and slows the opposition’s attack.

For a defender, it is very important that they keep their eye on the ball carrier, head up, and back flat. As they go to tackle they should place their head behind the ball carrier’s legs so that their cheek is against the ball carrier’s bum cheek. As they do this they wrap both arms around the player’s thighs.

The tackler uses their legs to drive up through the ball carrier, they must keep a nice tight grip, and try to fall on top of the ball carrier.

Front Tackle Knee Tackle

This is the next progression in learning to tackle. The tackler attempts a tackle on one knee but with the attacker approaching front on. The correct technique is important to avoid injury.

This is used to introduce players to a tackle situation. This is used to practice tackling before tackling on feet. The tackler must keep their eye on the ball carrier. He also needs to make sure he makes contact with the shoulder putting his cheek alongside the ball carriers thigh.

The ball carrier should turn his body to his team and present the ball arms out away from the opposition so the ball can easily be picked up by his team.

Squat Tackle

This drill is a progression from tackling from knees. The tackler is now in the squat position which will enable them to put even more leg drive and power into the tackle.

Description: The tackler must stand with feet shoulder-width apart and keep his balance. He must then perform the same tackle as the tackle from knees.

The ball carrier should turn his body to his team and present the ball arms out away from the opposition so the ball can easily be picked up by his team.

Front Tackle Progression

This drill is a progression and training drill from the front on tackle. It involves practice for the tackler in his tackling technique but also teaches the ball carrier how to present the ball after he has been tackled.

Description: The ball carrier should concentrate on turning his body to his team and present the ball arms out away from the opposition so the ball can easily be picked up by his team.

Front Tackle – Standing

This is a more advanced tackling drill where the attacker approaches front on and the defender tackles from the standing position.

Description: The tackler must keep their eye on the ball carrier. As the ball-carrier reaches the tackler, the tackler should move their head to one side of their body. They should end up in the cheek to bum cheek position. As contact is made the tackler shrugs their shoulders, and then lifts the shoulder into the ball carriers ribs.

The tackler wants to use the ball carrier’s momentum to sit them down, with their arms wrapped around their thighs. As the tackler sits on their bum, they should turn to send the ball carrier over their shoulder, and land on top of them.