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How do you tackle in football?

Football Standing Tackle
File Photo Credit: Chua Yueda

By Lim Weiyang

MASTER YOUR FOOTBALL TECHNIQUE (5): STANDING/BLOCK TACKLE

Tackling is an important skill in football regardless of your playing position. Tackles are used to regain possession of the ball for your team and are sometimes seen as critical particularly in defensive positions when the opponent are in an offensively advantageous position. 

There are 2 types of tackles. A standing/block tackle as its name implies is one where you remain on your feet. The other tackle is when you are off your feet, also known as the sliding tackle. In this article, we will first show you how to properly execute a standing/block tackle.

How tackling works in football

For people new to football, the idea is to take the ball first and not the player. As a good tackle requires you to take the ball, making excessive physical contact with an opponent without the intention of winning the ball would result in a foul called against you.

To begin, we will explore the technique and tips for the front and side block tackle. 

Front block tackle

1. Position of the ball

How far is the ball away from you? This allows you to assess the timing to stick your foot out and dispossess your opponent, taking the ball away from him with minimal physical contact

2. Position of your own feet

Typically when doing a front block tackle, you will lead with your non-primary foot. This means your weaker foot will be in front whilst your primary foot will be behind. This allows you to dispossess the opponent or quickly begin running after him should he dribble past you.

3. Position of your body

Keep your body low, always slightly bending your knees as it will lower your centre of gravity. This will give you additional balance and allow you to turn the other way more easily should he run past you.

4. Always lead with the inside of your foot

This will allow more control and you can pull back your foot should he pull back the ball to draw a foul from you. This ensures you are not fully committed to a tackle like a toe-poke, and be able to still give chase if he manages to get past you. 

Side block tackle

The side block tackle is used when the opponent is in full flight or has managed to move pass you, resulting in yourself no longer facing him directly. You now have to attempt to chase him down and make the tackle from the side. 

1. Position of the ball

Similar to the front block tackle, gauge the distance between the ball, your feet and the speed at which your opponent is travelling to time your tackle. 

2. Position of your own feet

Once you are beside your opponent, you will have to drop your nearest shoulder to him and lean into him to exert pressure.

3. Position of your body

Keep your body low once again to lower your centre of gravity, allowing more stability and strength.

4. Making the tackle

Use your tackling leg and hook around the front to dispossess the ball with force. Use your instep to power the ball away from the attacker. This will very likely cause the ball to break free into open space, which is a better result than him running away with the ball!

Tips to effective tackling

It's extremely important to remain on your feet because if you fall down and the ball breaks free, your opponent will regain control of the ball and there is an immediate gap in your team's shape which the opposition team can exploit. The fact that you remain on your feet is the main reason why standing and block tackles are preferred over slide tackles.

As with all other techniques in soccer, always lock your ankle before performing any action. Football injuries can be avoided and keeping ankles locked is one of the best ways to avoid picking up unnecessary injuries.


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