Basic Skills


In soccer, the term “tackling” is used to describe any effort to steal the soccer ball or knock it away from an opposing player.  There are two types of tackling – block and slide tackling.  Slide tackling can be dangerous, and is banned in some children’s leagues.  Block tackling is safer, and will be taught in this manual.  It is important to point out that the player is tackling the ball itself and not the opponent.

The key coaching points of block tackling are:

  • Place the non-kicking foot alongside the ball. 
  • The ankle joint of the tackling foot must be firm and locked.
  • The knees should be bent to lower the centre of gravity of the player.
  • The head and upper body should be over the ball.
  • The hands should be closed (make a fist).  This will tighten the upper body.
  • Contact is made with the inside of the foot.

Contact on the ball should be made through the middle of the ball.
Sliding tackles:

How to do the sliding tackle
When properly timed, the sliding tackle is a very effective skill.
It also looks good, but remember that this is a last-ditch tackle.
The problem with it is that it leaves the defender lying on the ground and temporarily out of the game.
And if you get the timing wrong you will give away a foul - or a penalty if in the box.

Sliding tackles step 1
Try to pass or hook the ball away as you slide in
The tackle from behind has been outlawed from the game so you need to try to make the tackle from the side and across the path of your opponent.
If you are chasing back towards your own goal and your opponent is ahead of you, you will have to get your tackling foot around the side or it will be deemed a foul.

Sliding tackles step 2
Use the leg furthest away from your opponent and try to pass or hook the ball away as you slide in.
Whether the tackle has been successful or not, get back up on your feet as quickly as possible once the challenge has been made.

Block tackles:
How to block tackle
Whatever your position, you need to be able to tackle.
If your team is not in possession of the ball it is obviously crucial to get it back.
There are many different ways to achieve this, but the block tackle is the best and most common method.

step 1
Don't commit yourself too early
Get to your opponent quickly to deny them time and space on the ball. But don't commit yourself too early or you will foul them or be easy to beat.
Jockey your opponent and wait for the best time to make a challenge.
Sometimes just putting your opponent under pressure will cause them to make a mistake.

step 2
Move your weight forward
When you think you can win the ball, your weight should move forward as you prepare to tackle with the inside of your foot.
This will probably be just as your opponent looks to either pass the ball or knock it past you.

step 3
Be firm throughout the tackle
If the ball becomes stuck between your feet and your opponent's then get your foot under the ball to lift it away.
Make sure you keep your ankle and leg firm throughout the tackle.
You are much more likely to get injured if you are not properly committed to a challenge.