Tackling safely in Rugby
Image credit: Dyan Tjhia/SportSG
While rugby is an intense contact sport and injuries do occur, there are ways in which you can stay safe when receiving and making tackles during a game.
Whenever possible, try to hit the ground with your knees first once tackled by an opponent in order to reduce the impact. Your hips and shoulders should also be the two other areas of your body that hits the ground, as hitting the ground with other areas of your body can be very dangerous.
As for tackling itself, the main thing to always keep in mind is that tackling is only legal when the opponent you’re tackling has the ball, and no tackles can be above the shoulder. For a step-by-step guide to good tackling technique, read on:
Step 1: Bend At The Waist
The best area for a player to tackle is his opponent’s lower body, preferable below the waist.
Once you have your eyes locked onto your target, you should make a run towards him and start to bend at the waist before you make contact with your opponent.
Step 2: Keep Your Arms Up
A complete tackle requires the player to wrap his arms around the opponent before driving him to the ground. Keeping your arms up before you make contact with your target is one good way of ensuring that you will be able to complete the tackle properly and safely. Arms should not be raised all the way straight, and should instead be raised at around shoulder height.
Step 3: Position Your Head Properly
High impact tackling can see a whole host of injuries if not executed properly, and injuries to the player’s head are one of the most dangerous. It is important to make sure your head is away from any possible collision with the opponent’s body during and after the tackle. Position your head so that it is away from your opponent’s knees, and make sure that he will not land on your head or neck once you manage to complete the tackle.
One way of positioning your head safely is to tilt your head to the opposite direction of where you will be tackling your opponent. For instance, if the opponent is on your right, position your head to the left so the chances of your head coming in contact head-on with your opponent is minimised. You should also be mindful of your opponent’s feet in relation to your head, as rugby boots have sharp studs, which could scratch your face.
Remember these three steps and you’ll make correct and safe tackles all the time. Also
remember that while the aim of tackling is to get the opponent to relinquish his hold on the ball, you should be careful not to be too overly aggressive while tackling. For instance, tackling and dropping the opponent head first to the ground is extremely dangerous and illegal, which will result in the offending player getting thrown out of the game or banned for a long period of time.
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