Sunday, November 6, 2016

College Football Tackling

While there are many fundamentals associated with the game of college football, tackling is arguably the most essential.  Think about it, just about every football play ends with a tackle, or an attempted tackle. To be an effective college football defense you must tackle well. In this week’s blog I will discuss two fundamentally sound, and safe, tackling techniques that can help produce consistent, effective and safe tackling in any college football program.
Al Golden, former Head Football Coach at the
 University of Miami, instructs the chest tackle2
The chest tackle, as the name eludes, is an extremely effective and safe technique wherein the tackler engages a ball carrier with his chest. Prior to contact, the defender thrusts his lowered hips upwards and towards the ball carrier, striking the ball carrier with his chest with his chin up towards the sky. Simultaneously, the tackler thrusts his arms upward and around the ball carrier resulting in a chest to chest, hug-like position. Tackling with the chin up helps to ensure the head stays out of the tackle and therefore minimizes risk of head injury. The final step to this tackling technique is accomplished when the tackler clenches a portion of the ball carriers jersey in his grip and then drive his feet essentially running through the ball carrier..1 The chest tackle is used to tackle a ball carrier in a head-on, or near head-on, tackling situation where the ball carrier has little to no opportunity to cut away from the tackler. Watch a chest tackle instructional video here.
The low-roll tackle demonstrated2
If the ball carrier is running away from the tackler, the rugby inspired low-roll tackle is another extremely effective and safe tackling technique adopted by many successful football programs to include the Seattle Seahawks, who refer to it as Hawk Roll Tackling.  This is shoulder tackle wherein the tackler makes contact with the ball carrier on his thighs.  The low roll tackler is taught to tackle with his eyes on or through the ball carriers' thighs, to keep the crown of the helmet out of the tackle, and to wrap his arms around and squeeze the ball carriers knees before rolling the ball carrier to the ground.2 Watch a Pete Carroll narrated instructional video here.
Consistent tackling is essential to quality defensive college football play.  Incorporating the chest tackle and low-roll tackle in a college football program will result in not only consistent tackling but also safe tackling.
1Ruston, R. (2014, August 7). Seahawks Tackling [Video file]. Retrieved from

2(wisconsinhspd). (2013, March 13). Tackling Fundamentals and Safety. [Video file]. Retrived from


  1. Nice job on your last post! Interesting points that young athletes should know for sure to prevent a lot of injuries!

  2. I loved this article. I had know idea that their were two different types of safe tackling techniques. I thought this article was informative and entertaining