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Hawk tackling system

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rpatric
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Morning coaches!  This year we're going to teach hawk tackling. I'm all for trying to keep the head out of the tackle as much as possible, but the system that USA football is implementing seems a little ridiculous to me. I completely agree with the tracking near hip and the near foot leverage is smart, but I feel like 75% of the material is pretty silly. Are my players actually going to swoop?, Gather?, Buzz feet before contact?? Highly unlikely. Also, it's alot to teach 25 kids all that stuff and expect them to retain. I really don't want them thinking a whole lot during pursuit. I tell them to arrive fast and angry. Any thoughts?


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CoachDP
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Any thoughts?

I agree with you.

—Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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Coach TonyM
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Here's what I use to teach safer tackling...    I agree about the stuff with USA football.  I do not see how most of it translates over to live and is too much.


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Coach TonyM
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Here's a great drill to use..  I use this as 2 stations in my 3 station tackling circuit.  The other is splatter tackling


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rpatric
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Thanks coaches! This is my first year as the DC. I'm trying to make sure I don't mistake my playing experience for modern day football knowledge. I want to make sure I'm teaching them the way it's going instead of the way it was


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CoachDP
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I'm trying to make sure I don't mistake my playing experience for modern day football knowledge. I want to make sure I'm teaching them the way it's going instead of the way it was

I don't think the USAFootball approach to tackling is a worthwhile or authentic application.  Despite their material being much improved over the years, I would still leave out most of what they teach.  And I have really wondered who they asked to come up with it.

The real frustration is that we have to waste our time with such mandated material, so while we "teach" the USAFootball way, as soon as it's over with we teach our players a much more effective and realistic approach, while maintaining safety.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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rpatric
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I agree, it seems like something that looks really good to people that don't actually have to orchestrate a defense. No matter what we are forced to implement, at the end of the day football can be dangerous. I just personally feel that the less a player has to think about in game, the safer he/she is.


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CoachDP
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I just personally feel that the less a player has to think about in game, the safer he/she is.

I hadn't thought about it that way, but I very much agree with it.  I'm sure that USAF believes that if it's repped enough, then players won't have to think about it, that it will be instinctual by then. However, safety aside, they are including additional aspects that I simply don't want taught (buzzing), and in the wrong order.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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CoachDP
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I feel that their progression is completely out of order (feet/squeeze/sink/hands/stay low/come to balance/downhill power step/keep contact on balls of feet/chin and eyes up/hands to holsters/rip), and the emphasis on hitting/ripping/tackling bags instead of players lengthens the process by giving the players an ARTIFICIAL sense of what tackling feels like.  The players know that it's artificial too, otherwise they wouldn't be gun-shy tackling a player after having aggressively "ripped up" on a half-round.  Ripping up on a half-round is completely different than wrapping a player and taking him to the ground.  I don't care how many times a youth player has repped this: feet/squeeze/sink/hands/stay low/come to balance/downhill power step/keep contact on balls of feet/chin and eyes up/hands to holsters/rip, when's he having to take on a live body for real, the transition from hitting a pad to hitting a body can be immense.  And to many youth coaches and players, going body-on-body feels like starting the tackling/teaching process all over again.  We start with body-on-body so that players learn ASAP what body-on-body feels like, and work our progression "backwards."  With this approach, we haven't wasted time trying to get players to work up to  the physicality level; we start them at the physicality level.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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rpatric
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I completely agree, furthermore, there are just far too many instructions. We're making a tackle, not building a jet engine! I really like the idea of working backwards from the finish product. It seems to me that would eliminate the useless steps on it's own. Let's be honest, the biggest problem with tackling, at least in my age group, is fear of contact or fear of missing. I'm going to go out on a limb and say filling a player's head with 8 or 9 instructions on how to approach and make a tackle is likely to result in more misses. Maybe this system is safer because it eliminates a percentage of tackles the players actually make 😀


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CoachDP
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I really like the idea of working backwards from the finish product.

--It has long worked for us, and is a process that we use for just about everything we do.

It seems to me that would eliminate the useless steps on it's own.

--It eliminates a lot of useless aspects.  Why teach 45 different steps, when it can be taught in 3?

Let's be honest, the biggest problem with tackling, at least in my age group, is fear of contact or fear of missing.

--And the "buzz" exacerbates both.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say filling a player's head with 8 or 9 instructions on how to approach and make a tackle is likely to result in more misses.

--You can write it all out and give them a superfluous step-by-step procedure, or you can instruct them safely and economically so that for them it's streamlined and efficient.  How many steps in the USAF demo were there before they even got to "rip?"  And even then, it was on a bag.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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rpatric
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Ok, so you are clearly more experienced that I am. I want to take a similar approach. If you don't mind sharing, what is the best, simple progression. That's probably a circumstancial question, but I figured I'd ask.


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CoachDP
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Ok, so you are clearly more experienced that I am. I want to take a similar approach. If you don't mind sharing, what is the best, simple progression. That's probably a circumstancial question, but I figured I'd ask.

Feel free to give me a call and I'll walk you through it.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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gumby_in_co
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I really don't want them thinking a whole lot during pursuit.

It only took me 14 seasons to figure that one out.

A few seasons ago, I started questioning the very idea of "form tackling". I watch an awful lot of film and rarely see a form tackle in a game. The most important thing is getting there, otherwise you can just form tackle air. With any skill involving contact with another player, 99% of the time, we go against bodies. The exceptions are cut blocking and "kick out the sticks" tackling. I haven't actually done the KOTS yet, but I'm going to implement it with our 3rd graders. I have an idea for a PVC dummy for that. Once I get it on film, I'll send it to DP for his review. If it passes muster, I'll share it.

Anyway, this Spring, I realized that I've been stressing the wrong aspect of tackling. Instead of "why did Jimmy miss that tackle?", I started asking, "why is Jimmy the only one in position to make that tackle?". The results have been staggering. With a minimum of 3 guys on the ball carrier, it really doesn't matter how you tackle him. I've heard "no arm tackles" since I was 6 ears old and I'm now pushing 50. Well, what if an arm is all you get? Arm tackles are just fine when there are 5 guys doing the tackling. I used to HATE the swing him by the jersey tackle. Now, I only hate them when there's only 1 guy on the jersey.

Still, we have to teach them something, right? I first joined forces with the Mahoneys around 2010 or so. They invited me to coach in this big full pads clinic that they did every year. Keenan was teaching this "Gator Roll" tackle that I absolutely did not understand, so I faked it. It took me a couple of years to realize that Gator Roll didn't work for me because I was having hit with their far shoulder to get their head across the bow. Impossible to Gator Roll that way. I eventually figured it out and that's how the Mahoneys taught tackling. In 2014, the Pete Carroll video that Tony posted came out and I said to Mahonz, "Hey, that looks just like the Gator Roll." Then, USA football came out with the face to chest concussion method that they called "Heads Up". I taught it for a few seasons, then took to calling it "Head Ache" tackling. Soon after, I started coaching with Mahonz and was right back to Gator Roll. A few years later, USA Football (who mandated "Head Ache" tackling) quietly shifted course and started advocating "shoulder tackling", kind of like Big Brother in 1984.

Since we have 3rd graders, we will teach them the Gator Roll/Hawk method. We start them with zero distance and already fit. On HIT, the tackler simply drops his non-hitting shoulder to the ground and brings the ball carrier down on top of him and we all have a giggle. At this stage, we use "splatter" mats, which are just a pile of blocking dummies. Once they are comfortable, we back them up a step so that they have to close distance, then fit, then roll them. We stress deep knee bend, butt and chest out, squeeze the shoulder blades and above all, head on the correct side of the tackle. Eventually, we increase the distance until we are about 5 yards. It may take 2 weeks to get to 5 yards. Ball carrier and tackler are meeting at about a 60 degree angle, give or take. We use cones to show starting point and tackling point.

As the season goes on, we do very few tackle drills. A big part of our practice is going team (full O vs full D or as close as we can manage). We feel the best way to get good at football is to play it. In team, if we as coaches are hustling, you can work on every aspect of the game. Granted, we usually roll with around 8 coaches. I've also used Clark's method of watching a single player for 3 reps, then moving on to the next. Start with who you suspect to be your worst players and work towards the best. Correct fast so that you don't slow down the pace.

I really like that you are stressing safety. For us, we are extremely strict about head contact and/or using the helmet as a weapon or contact point. We use coaching points like "eyes to the skies" and "see what you hit". If you ever see grass, you are in bad shape or are about to be.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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gumby_in_co
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they are including additional aspects that I simply don't want taught (buzzing)

I fought Dave tooth and nail on "buzz" for years. This Spring, it finally made sense. I was so wrong.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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