When playing defensive back, the first thing that comes to mind is covering the pass and not allowing wide receivers to catch the football. However, that is only one of the responsibilities that defensive backs are faced with as they play the game.
Defensive backs in football are often tasked with making open-field tackles against fast and elusive offensive players. Proper tackling technique is essential to ensure the safety of the defender and effectively bring the ball carrier down. Here are some of the best tackling techniques for defensive backs:
1 – Breakdown
The defensive back should approach the ball carrier with a balanced stance, and then break down by lowering his center of gravity, getting his feet shoulder-width apart, and slightly bending his knees. This technique enables the defender to maintain balance and react quickly to the ball carrier’s movements.
2 -Track the Hips
The defensive back should focus on the ball carrier’s hips and not get distracted by their head or shoulders. This technique allows the defender to react quickly to changes in direction and avoid being juked or faked out.
3 -Shoulder Tackle
The defensive back should aim to make contact with the ball carrier using his shoulder and drive through the tackle with his legs. This technique allows the defender to generate more force and momentum to bring down the ball carrier.
4 – Wrap-Up
After making contact with the ball carrier, the defensive back should wrap his arms around the ball carrier’s waist and squeeze tightly. This technique prevents the ball carrier from breaking free and allows the defender to bring him down safely.
5 -Head Up
The defensive back should keep his head up during the tackle to avoid any potential head or neck injuries. This technique also allows the defender to see the ball carrier’s movements and react quickly.
6 -Finish the Tackle
Once the ball carrier is wrapped up, the defensive back should drive his legs and finish the tackle by driving the ball carrier backward and to the ground. This technique ensures that the ball carrier is fully contained and cannot break free.
By practicing and mastering these tackling techniques, defensive backs can become more effective at bringing down ball carriers and preventing big plays on defense.
I go more in-depth on tackling in this member’s area post discussing tackling techniques used by NFL teams – DB Technique: Tackling Drills with the Seattle Seahawks
Chad Wilson is the owner of All Eyes DB Camp and author of "101 DB Tips". He played college football at the University of Miami and briefly in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks. Over his 15 year high school football coaching career, he tutored over a dozen Division I defensive backs and as a trainer has worked with NFL All Pros, first round draft picks, college football All Americans and Top 10 ranked high school football prospects.