File Photo Credit: Lawrence Ang/SportSG
By Lim Weiyang
MASTER YOUR FOOTBALL TECHNIQUE (6): SLIDE TACKLE
Slide tackles are the most dramatic and flashy form of tackles in football. They are used typically as a last resort as you essentially sacrifice your balance to throw yourself at the ball. This means if your tackle fails, you will be unlikely able to chase your opponent down due to your much slower recovery time. You also open yourself up to a higher risk of dangerous play should you mistime your tackle and may be punished severely by the match official as a result.
When should slide tackles be used?
A common use of a slide tackle is when the opponent is on the break with a counter attack and you come in fast by the side to slide the ball out. Another situation would be when you slide infront of the opponent just as he is about to take a shot, hence covering an angle and blocking the shot from flying towards your goal.
Lastly, sliding tackles can be made when you see your opponent has dribbled the ball too far from his feet. A slide tackle will allow you to quickly lunge in and make a clean tackle without any physical contact with the player. This ball would have been otherwise impossible to reach with just a normal standing tackle which requires more time as you have to balance yourself. Here are 5 tips on how to successfully perform a slide tackle and how not to foul your opponent should you miss.
1 .Position of the ball in relation to where you are
As you run towards the ball, gauge in your mind how far you will reach when you lunge in to take the ball. Would you be able to reach the ball before the opponent can get another touch on it?
Just as in many situations in football, split second decision making is crucial to performing well. When going in for a slide tackle you have to decide if you wish to hook the ball away from the opponent to possibly get a deflection for a throw-in, or to slide it towards your teammate or into open space? This will also determine how you go in for a slide tackle.
3. Keep your eyes on the ball
It is always important to keep your eyes firmly on the ball. Likewise to regular tackling, the opponent may try to trick you with an array of spectacular tricks but so long as your eyes are fixed on the ball, your tackle will be better timed, less reckless and you can increase the accuracy of your tackle.
4. Protecting Yourself
While maintaining eye contact with the ball, it is important that you turn your face away from the incoming challenge and also place an arm out to fend off potentially nasty collisions.
5. Sliding In
Slide leading with your toe, and make contact with your instep or outstep. Never make contact with the bottom of your boots which with your studs facing up. This can result in a horrible injury to the opposing player should you miss, and could also lead to a red card on your part should the referee deem it as dangerous play.
In summary, only use slide tackles if they are really necessary and if you're out of all other options. During recreational games, it's common for friends not to use sliding tackles against each other as these games are just played for fun and safety comes first. Standing/Block tackles can be just as effective and most importantly, they have low chances of causing injuries.
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