Tackle drills for Youth Football are mainly applied to kids from five to sixteen. Pop Warner and high schools practice these tackle drills.
Tackling is a basic skill required in American football. It occurs when the defender seeks to dispossess the offensive player. They will come in contact and push the ball carrier to the ground or out of bounds.
Performing a successful tackle results in the offense starting the next down from the tackled spot. Moreover, a successful tackle to the quarterback behind the scrimmage line yields in a sack. A sack will result in a loss of down and yardage for the offense.
Tackling requires the use of raw strength as well as skills to bring the opponent down. However, performing a tackle can injure others, so NFL and NCAAF place restrictions.
Tackle Drills For Youth Football
Every youth interested in learning about football must understand these five Tackling drills.
These drills will help to mold the interested youngsters to do a better and safer tackle drill with their mentors.
These drills will also require dummies to make live contact drilling for starters to avoid injuries.
A basic thing that every defense must know is that the tackles need to be made by their shoulder. The shoulder is a strong body part and will make for a great tackle.
One technique to practice this drill the youth can do is to put their right foot down on the ground and their left leg forward. Then they will put the dummy right in front of their right shoulder. Then at the signal, they will push the dummy down with their rib, shoulder, and hips.
Another technique is to stand and bend the knee. The defender will put their bend right foot forward. Then they will take two steps backward and aim for the abdominal area.
Two youngsters can practice this further, one moving along with the dummy while another tackles. This will aid in tackling practice for a moving target too.
Form tackling requires youths to make a defensive form, and then they can carry out multiple techniques.
One basic technique the youth can do is to line up in the field like linesmen and then go for a tackle while the whistle is blown.
They need to bend their body down and practice their footsteps when doing the tackle. The head should not make direct contact with the dummy.
Another form of drill technique is utilizing a cross technique. Two defenders will sit in a line. Then, both will make a diagonal motion at the signal and push the opposite dummies. After two defenders, four defenders can perform the same drill in two pairs.
Open Field Combo Drill
Open Field Combo drill is great for swarming the ball carriers at a distance.
One defender and one ball carrier are required to do this drill. The ball carrier will start from the distance, and the defender must swarm and reach him. They will track the ball, and the defender must break down when they gain a considerable distance.
Breaking down is done by bending the knees and then squaring the shoulders. After that, they will pursue the ball carrier with a tackling posture. This drill can be practiced by multiple defenders on one carrier as well.
This drill will help the youth keep their feet and shoulder conditioned to make the tackling posture, even when they need to run and close the distance to the receivers.
1 vs. 1 Tackling
After we have learned the three drills, we will focus on live contact drills. The first one will be one on one.
For this drill, the coach will put two youths at a 5-yard distance opposite each other. The players will not make more than 5 yards since we do not want to run them with a considerable distance too close. This can lead to unnecessary injuries.
It is also important to put a floor mat on the ground so that the youngster’s head doesn’t hit the ground hard.
Then, we can start the drill. On signal, the two can take turns tackling each other. This will be done five or six times per session.
The 3-on-3 drill is fun to use since we can combine various strategies.
The safety measures will be taken just like the one-on-one drill; now, three players will line against three others.
Various strategies can be used to tackle a 3-man team. One strategy is to use a criss-cross tackle, where one will switch position with another. Another strategy can be to circle the ball carrier from all sides. They can act as linesmen or even put one as a linebacker.
These techniques can be used alternatively five times and will help the youth to understand the basics of the defensive playbook.
Tackle Football For 8 Year Olds
The 8-year-old youths can learn a drill known as Angle tackling.
As a defensive player, it is essential to note that not all players will come running directly at you. They will come from various angles, and defenders must be ready to tackle such situations.
The youngster has to adjust their body position when meeting the ball carrier at an angle. This needs to be done to cover the ground and shorten the angle.
Then the defender will bend their body and put their hands forward. Then their head will be in front of the ball carrier’s body, facemask on the ball, and upon coming into contact, will grab the offensive player’s cloth and drag him to the ground.
Tackle Drills More Effective on Defense
There are more tackling drills that are efficient for defense.
However, they are utilized primarily on the NCAAF and NFL levels.
The sideline tracking drill is a form of the angle drill and will be done on the sideline.
To start this drill, we will require three cones. Two cones will sit near the sideline, while one will be between the defender and the ball carrier.
The ball carrier will run toward the sidelines, which can happen during sweep plays. Now, the defender will attempt to intercept by coming at an angle.
Then the defender will contact the ball player near the sidelines and push him out of bounds via tackling posture. This drill can be performed 5 to 6 times per session.
The explosion lift requires the defender to use his legs, hips, and hands simultaneously.
The defender will catch the ball carrier’s back jersey and lift him as high as he can off the ground. The defender has to use his hip roll; otherwise, it will strain you physically.
After the lift, they can push the receiver back and eventually put him down. This drill will require lots of strength and energy per play.
Defender should also lower their speed while coming into contact. Otherwise, the lift is going to play out haphazardly.