Tackling is the process of taking the ball from an opponents control, it requires strength and timing. You must use the whole of your body weight to win the ball, you can not just stick a leg out. Different types of tackles are the interception, the block tackle and the most dramatic of these the slide tackle. Tackling is the final act of a defender that is confident enough to win the ball, there is a lot of work that goes before this.
Before a tackle is made, the defender must “jockey” the attacker. This means they should place themselves in front of the player with the ball, preventing them from shooting at goal and limiting their ability to pass or move forward. They should be waiting for the moment that the attacker moves the ball close enough that they can intercept it. This puts “pressure” on the attacker to do something with the ball.
The defender stand sideways on to the attacker, so that he can not pass the ball forward through his legs.
The decision to stand with the left or the right leg forward depends on where you are on the pitch.
The way your body faces is the way that you want to try to force your opponent to play the ball, usually away from the goal and towards the side line.
Defending is about reducing the amount of space that your opponent has to play in.
Don’t dive in for the tackle, wait for the perfect moment to strike for the ball, or force a poor pass that you can intercept.
Have a look at the examples in the video on the right.
When the time is right you can either attempt to poke the ball away from the attacker or you can attempt the block tackle.
The block tackle requires you to win the ball from your opponent while they are in possession. You therfore have to get your body weight behind the block to make you strong, you must not stretch.
Have a look at the video below.
The slide tackle is the last ditch attempt to win the ball, but it is also rather spectacular.
Maybe the attacker has gotten away from you or they are moving at pace, whichever it is, you need to get to the ball before your opponent and you need to stretch the full length of your body.
To slide tackle and go to ground raises the chances that your opponent may fall over you, this could give away a free kick or penalty to your opponent, so you must be certain when you do this in a game.
The video below gives a comprehensive outline of how to learn the slide tackle.
Defending requires you to put yourself in the way of an attack and requires you to be strong physically and mentally.
If you learn these techniques properly, keep your eye on the ball and don’t dive into a challenge, you will ensure that you and your opponents will not get hurt.
Remember, don’t dive in, stay on your feet and force your opponent into making a mistake.
Like it says in the video below, it can be dangerous, ugly and painful, but if you defend the right way, like we have shown you here, you will love it!