Even though I was an offensive player from college on and have coached on the offensive side of the ball my entire coaching career, I spent most of my life as a defensive player. From the time I was a seven year old I can remember my coaches emphasizing the importance of being a good tackler.

To truly be a great defense, a defense must have great tacklers. Even to this day, one of my biggest pet peeves is seeing tackles being made by players who simply throw there bodies at the legs of the offensive player. How many times have you seen an offensive player either hurdle or bounce off of that tackle? Far too many!

The term “wrap him up” means exactly as it sounds. Great tacklers will wrap their arms around the ball carrier whether that being around the waist or around the legs. To me, being a great defensive player starts with being a great tackler.  Even with all the talent in the world a team can be average if it has players that can’t tackle properly. After all, that is the name of the game on defense!

So, in the off-season, spend time in the weight room strengthening your arms and shoulders so that you have the strength to tackle properly. Additionally, work on exercises that increase the strength of the forearms as this will increase the strength of your grip. And, when you get a chance to start tackling people once training camp rolls around don’t just throw your body into a player, WRAP HIM UP!  See our sample tackling video by clicking here.

Coach Van Tassel

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