I firmly believe that Bill Williams does the best job in the nation at teaching tackling.  His business is Football Coaches Professional Growth Association.  If you haven’t checked out his videos or clinics on tackling, it’s a “must have!”  (I’m not receiving anything for saying that either!)  Bill used to put on a great clinic down in San Diego with mainly high school coaches speaking.  He would have a few college coaches, and some pros too, but I always liked listening to the high school coaches the most.  It was the most translatable information for my needs in my program.

I came across a video in his library years ago called TEACHING FALCONS TACKLING. He has 14 volumes of videos from clinics.  You can sign up for a subscription to these DVDs, it’s a great system.  This video was of him teaching tackling to the Atlanta Falcons.  I absolutely loved it.  Made copies of the video (which he allows) and distributed them to my staff.  I told my DC at the time (Bear Schoolmeester at Linfield Christian) that I wanted to implement this “system” of tackling.  I was at Linfield Christian in Temecula, CA for five years, then went to Capistrano Valley Christian in San Juan Capistrano, CA.  I took the same tackling philosophy to CVCS.

When I was at CVCS, I sent my DC (C.J. Del Balso) and our DB coach (Mike Logan) to a clinic put on my Bill Williams specifically about this tackling system.  It was two days of teaching tackling!  I was an Athletic Director at the time, and just not able to get away.

Here is how we have taught tackling for the last 10 years.  Bill is big on using “buzzwords” things that the entire coaching staff will use.  We’ve always spent time as a staff reviewing these “buzzwords” before Spring ball and August Training Camp.

Tackling Teaching Progression

  1. Ending fit position(clamp)
    1. Elbows and pinky fingers together
    2. Eyes at 45°
    3. Elbows shoot to eye level
  2. Walk with clamp-knees high and wide

    Prosser High Mustangs using the clamp!
  3. Double time knees with clamp
  4. Level change with hands in holsters
    1. Start on set then mirror coach’s movement
    2. Do with both legs forward
    3. Eyes always at ball level
  5. Pop hips and chest with kick throughand hands behind back
    1. Start drill with “Set, kick” command
    2. Kick back knee through hard
  6. Pop and uppercut
  7. Pop and walk with uppercut
  8. Pop with double timing knees and uppercut
  9. 1 knee hit and hold
    1. Alternate forward leg
    2. Start with forward lean, chest on quad and hands in holsters
    3. Roll over front knee and back knee stays on ground
    4. Start on “set”, “roll” command
  10. 1 knee hit and hold versus shield
    1. Tackler starts with face on shield
  11. 1 knee hit, uppercut and walk versus shield
  12. 1 knee hit, uppercut and double time knees versus shield
  13. Pop hips and chest versus shield with hands behind back
  14. Pop, uppercut and walk with high knees  on shields
  15. Pop and uppercut with double timing knees on shields

Profile Tackling Principles

  1. Can only see ball carrier’s side(no numbers)
  2. Run through inside pec of ball carrier
  3. No need to buzz feet-accelerate through ball carrier
  4. Tackle only when you can step on ball carriers toes or smell breath

    This kid probably started his tackle before being able to smell the ball carrier's breath! Love this teaching point!

Open Field Tackling Principles

  1. Can see ball carrier’s numbers
  2. Break down and buzz feet before contact
  3. Focus on ball carrier’s belt buckle
  4. Tackle only when you can step on ball carriers toes or smell breath