EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Three tackles

A successful tackle will give your team a chance to reorganise or even regain possession of the ball. Practice three variations – the block, slide and poke – with this drill.

What this session is about

  1. Tackling
  2. Defending

What to think about

For the block tackle: Plant the non-tackling foot firmly; make contact with the middle of the ball, like a side-foot pass; ensure body weight is behind the tackling foot and keep the knee and ankle locked; keep the head down over the ball; put a foot under the ball if it becomes stuck to lift it away.

For the slide tackle: Approach from the side; wait until the attacker separates from the ball; use the leg farthest from the ball and tuck the other leg underneath the backside; slide on the outer thigh/ hip; tackle with the laces and contact the centre to top half of the ball; “hook” the ball in opposite direction to retain it or knock it out of play.

For the poke tackle: Approach from the side or behind; get close; use the foot nearest the ball; stab the ball away using the toes to kick near its centre.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10-15 minutes10-15 minutes10-15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

Block tackle Place a ball in the middle of a 10-yard square for a 1v1. The drill starts with the players standing opposite each other, about three yards either side of the ball. On your signal, players try to win the ball with a block tackle and dribble across the line at the opposite end. Make sure players practise using both feet.

Poke tackle Now both players start at one end, with the attacker close to one touchline and the defender next to the other touchline. At half pace to begin with, the attacker dribbles the ball towards the opposite side, allowing the defender to practise executing the poke tackle. After several attempts, players switch roles. Make sure players practise using both feet.

Slide tackle Players start at opposite ends. The attacker dribbles forward steadily at half speed so he can be caught, before the second player, the defender, begins his run and slide tackle. After several attempts, players switch roles. Make sure players practise using both feet.

1 – The block tackle. 2 – The poke tackle. 3 – The slide tackle.

1 – The block tackle. 2 – The poke tackle. 3 – The slide tackle.


Development

Play 2v2 in a 20×15 yards playing area, with a fiveyard zone at each end. Each team attacks an end zone and scores a point by dribbling the ball into that end zone.

However, teams score bonus points for completing a successful tackle that either wins possession or knocks the ball out of play. Teams restart play with a pass-in.

In a 2v2, teams score by dribbling the ball into the opposite end zone. Defenders try to use any of the three tackles to stop attacks.

In a 2v2, teams score by dribbling the ball into the opposite end zone. Defenders try to use any of the three tackles to stop attacks.


Game situation

Play 4v4 in a 40×25 yards playing area. Set up four mini goals, one on each side of the pitch. One team will attack the goals across the width of the pitch while the other team will try to score in the other goals.

Place the ball in the centre of the pitch, with one player from each team at either end.

On your signal, they run to begin a 1v1. Once a team has scored or the ball goes out of play, add one player to each team and restart play with a pass-in, until each team has four players. Play for a set time – the team with the most goals wins – then begin again with a 1v1 but teams try to score in the other goals.

Building up a 4v4, the team tries to score in goals across the length of the pitch (A) while the other tries to score in the other goals (B).

Building up a 4v4, the team tries to score in goals across the length of the pitch (A) while the other tries to score in the other goals (B).


What to call out

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