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Sam Underhill's flawless tackle technique when compared to other sports

BY Grant Constable  ·  Thursday Dec 3, 2020

In this guest post we take a closer look at England flanker Sam Underhill’s tackle process and how the basic fundamentals and set up compare with other sports, all following a similar structure for maximum output and impact.

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We recently looked at how goal-line defence can be very similar to Sumo Wrestling, and today Craig Wilson, of thecontactcoach.com, talks about textbook tackle technique as he strives to learn new things about rugby, particularly from other sports.

An effective rugby tackle can be a very complex part of the game to coach, particularly when working with less experienced players.

The tackle has many facets such as: approach, when to drop body-height, footwork, head positioning, wrap, and leg-drive. These movements all need to align to ensure the tackle is executed as safely as possible for both the tackler and ball carrier.

A quick search on YouTube for ‘rugby tackle’ will lead you to videos of huge rugby collisions. The type of video that starts with ‘Here Comes the Boom’ by Nelly, followed by clips of players smashing into each other, often demonstrates bad technique.

This can lead to players and coaches alike falling into the trap of thinking that the bigger the ‘hit’, the more effective the tackle. Personally, I do not think that is the case.

Let’s take Sam Underhill as an example. In recent years, Underhill has improved his technique to demonstrate great form whilst remaining aggressive. In this video, I analyze Underhill’s technique and take inspiration from other athletic movements in weight-lifting, wrestling, and sprinting.

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As a coach, I like to explore different ways to bring the facet of the game I am working on to life. Imagery is a powerful tool to help players visualize the movements required.

Hopefully this video will give you another perspective on tackling when watching, and indeed playing, the sport we all love.

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