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How to coach the slide tackle
There are several ways of coaching players to win back the ball or stop the opposition, but we’ve focused on two of the most common. Previously we looked at soccer drills to coach the block tackle, this time it’s the turn of the slide tackle.
As we said in How to coach the block tackle, there are three reasons why you should coach the correct tackling techniques:
- Mis-timed or poorly executed tackles can result in free kicks (or penalties) against your team.
- They can lead to yellow or even red cards against your players.
- Or cause serious injury to an opponent or the players themselves.
Coaching the slide tackle
The slide tackle is usually used when the attacker and defender are running in the same direction and the attacker’s threat is such that the defender must stop them immediately…
Key soccer coaching tip: to carry out the slide tackle, coach your players to:
- Approach from the side and tackle across the path of the opponent – REMEMBER, THE TACKLE FROM BEHIND HAS BEEN OUTLAWED.
- Decide early whether to knock the ball out of play or ‘hook’ it to win possession.
- Be decisive and committed.
- Tackle using the leg furthest from the ball and keep it slightly bent.
- Tuck the leg nearest the ball underneath the backside and ideally slide on the outer thigh.
- Kick through the ball, or get the ball on the shoelaces (instep) and swing the leg around in a wide sweep to ‘hook’ or trap the ball with the foot.
- Meet the ball solidly and make contact with the centre to top half of the ball so it doesn’t roll over the foot.
- GET BACK UP as quickly as possible, whether the tackle has been successful or not.
The problem with the slide tackle is that it leaves the defender lying on the ground and can leave them temporarily out of the game. That’s because, as with the block tackle, the slide has three possible results—the attacker keeps possession, the ball runs loose, or the defender wins the ball. By sliding, defenders make it difficult to deal with the first two of these outcomes.
Ensure players wear shinguards for the drill.
Coach the slide tackle on a wet day, when the ground is soft.
Make players practise sliding on both sides of their body.
Build up the soccer drill slowly – begin with a stationary ball, then have players roll or pass a ball forward to themselves and run it down.
Extend the drill
Finally, progress the drill to where one player dribbles forward at half speed while the other player runs in from the side and attempts the tackle.
Key soccer coaching tip: the slide is a last resort tackle, only to be used when any other form of tackle won’t do the job.