Welcome to the Atavus Tackle System - Part 2

Not all tackles are the same and not all tackles in similar situations are the same. As depicted in the Tackle Wheel, we analyze four different types of tackles: two positive and two negative.

Atavus Tackle Types

Not all tackles are the same and not all tackles in similar situations are the same. As depicted in the Tackle Wheel, we analyze four different types of tackles: two positive and two negative. In Positive Situations, athletes can find themselves executing a Profile or Angle tackle. 

Profile Tackles are when tackles are made straight in-front of you, or between 0-20 degrees.

Example of Profile Tackle

MSU Profile Tackle from ATAVUS on Vimeo.

An Angle Tackle is when a tackle is made between 21-70 degrees in a Positive Situation.

Example of Angle Tackle

K Joseph - Angle Tackle from ATAVUS on Vimeo.

In Negative Situations, athletes can make either a Chase or Lateral Tackle. 

Chase Tackles occur when the defender is trailing the ball carrier, hence “chasing” the runner down.


Example of Chase Tackle

K Clark - Chase Tackle from ATAVUS on Vimeo.

Lateral
Tackles are when the defender cannot knock the ball carrier backward and occur between 71-115 degrees. 

Example of Lateral Tackle

M Kendricks - Lateral Tackle from ATAVUS on Vimeo.

Now that we’ve learned the four different types of tackles, we’ll cover how athletes put themselves into position to make tackles. 

The Track

When talking about tackling, we usually think about contact—not necessarily how players get to contact. The reason defenders need to focus on tracking the ball carrier is because the Track is what allows them to maximize contact. When it comes to tracking, there are three sequential elements that athletes need to focus on: 

  1. Closing Space
  2. Leverage
  3. Footwork

If there is an issue with one, there is most likely an issue with another portion of the Track. Closing Space is vitally important in tackling because it limits the angles that ball carriers can take. If an athlete chooses to not close space, this stresses the defender because the ball carrier can choose to cut, spin, or attempt to run the defender over.

Example of Poor Closing Space

E Jackson - Poor Closing Space from ATAVUS on Vimeo.

When there is an issue in Closing Space, this can cause other issues in both Leverage and Footwork. When done correctly, defenders are able to react to obstacles and pursue the ball carrier.

Example of Good Closing Space

M Kendricks - Good Closing Space from ATAVUS on Vimeo.

When we talk about Leverage, we are talking about maintaining leverage on the near-hip of the ball carrier while taking effective angles. When defenders do not track the near-hip, this is when you see players run past the ball carrier, or when the ball carrier cuts back on the defender.

Example of Poor Leverage

K Alexander - Poor Leverage from ATAVUS on Vimeo.

Conversely, when defenders track the near-hip and take effective angles, they can minimize the yards after contact.

Example of Good Leverage

F Warner - Good Leverage from ATAVUS on Vimeo.

The last portion of the Track is Footwork. When looking at Footwork, we are looking at the base of the defender going into contact. The defender should have controlled movements going into contact with a shoulder-width base and using the same foot as the shoulder they are using going into contact. In Positive Situations, we also want to make sure the defender gets a Power Step down to maximize power in the contact phase.

Example of Power Step

C Kirksey - Power Step from ATAVUS on Vimeo.

In part three of this series, we’ll explore elements we track in the Contact Phase.