Open field tackling drills

Introduction of the open field tackling drills

While coaches have different perspectives on the correct techniques in the open field tackling drills, we found one constant goal. Do what you have to do to get the ball carrier on the ground. Usually, this comes in the form of closing space between the defender and the ball carrier. Coming to balance before contact and understanding your leverage on the field as it pertains to other defenders and the sideline. We found the following common errors as it pertains to open field tackling.

Common errors

Error 1:

Coming to balance to early on ball carrier: It seems that more coaches are using the term “come to balance” rather than the archaic “break down.” So many tackles are missed because defenders are not coming in with their eyes at ball level.

Error 2:

Losing leverage as a force defender. Whether it’s a squat corner, alley safety or apexed linebacker, these players are responsible for turning the ball into their help. In order to do this, they must be able to stay in a leveraged position to get the ball back to their help.

Error 3:

Overrunning the ball carrier when playing cutback. Another way in which defenders are missing tackles is by overrunning the ball carrier in the open field, providing him with cutback lanes that can gash the defense.

Fixing the issues

We presented the best way to fix these issues by producing what we felt were the eleven most effective open-field tackling progressions complete with coaching points and video. We classified them into which of these problem areas they alleviate.

Issue 1: Coming to Balance too Early on Ball Carrier

Regardless of whether you’re teaching the breakdown or shimmy before contact, a decision has to be made on when you start this technique. If you start this technique too early, you can give the ball carrier too much room to make a move and get by you. If you start this technique too early, the higher the chances are of not bringing your hips through contact, resulting in an arm tackle. These are the best drills we’ve found to reinforce this fundamental.

Drill 1: Shimmy Tackle Progression, University of Wisconsin

shimmy-tackle

To see the video component of this drill, click on the video below:

Issue 2: Losing Leverage as a Force Defender

 

Ask most defensive coaches and they will tell you how imperative it is for tacklers to get the ball into their help. While force defenders all depend on coverage scheme and defensive structure, force tacklers in the open field must turn back ball carriers to support. It’s often more important that these defenders get the ball back into their help than make the tackle themselves. These are the best drills we’ve found to reinforce this fundamental.

Drill 1: Outside In Leverage Tackle, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

outside-in-leverage

To see the video component of this drill, click on the video below:

Drill 4: Open Field Tackle Drill, Skyview High School (ID)

open-field-tackle

To see the video component of this drill, click on the video below:

Issue 3: Overrunning the Ball Carrier in Cutback Situations

If you’re not a force defender, you’re a cutback defender. Which means the ball cannot cut back inside you. But often times it does because defenders are not leveraging the backside hip of the ball carrier. Also not controlling their bodies and overrunning the ball carrier. These are the best drills we’ve found to reinforce this fundamental.

Conclusion

We feel these are the most effective drills in eliminating the three most common issues in one-on-one open field tackling. Our next installment will focus on how coaches are solving issues with making tackles on ball carriers in closed spaces such as the tackle box.

READY TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS?

Make sure to check out our training programs. They will show you what you can accomplish with a little commitment!

THE IGNITION PROGRAM

THE GRIND

Leave a Comment

american football non-contact drillspass protection