Tackling in football – will it be gone forever?

The football tackle

In the modern game it seems that tackling in football is not allowed anymore.

Why is this?

I don’t remember a law change that said a football player is not allowed to tackle anymore, so why is it that whenever one player goes anywhere near another player on the field the referee immediately blows his whistle?

It seems that we are in a new era and this part of the game – tackling is on it’s way out and is going to be a lost forever.

The sliding tackle… gone.
The tackle from behind…gone.
Competing for a header…nearly gone.

In this article I want to look into these different types of tackles and make sure that anyone who still wanted to use them understands what they actually mean and how to practice them.

I also wanted to make sure that players in the future can read this and understand some important history from the game. The Art of Football Tackling – in case it goes the way most of us football fans believe it will and slowly be faded out of the game.
Todays footballers can count themselves lucky that they weren’t, playing the game many years ago, where strong and fierce tackling was the normal or they would have found themselves on the end of some leg crunching tackles from some of the hardest players that ever played the game, so in this regard it is a lot safer for today’s players.

A good thing for sure

tackling in football








What does the modern footballer need to do?

Stay on your feet for one.

In no circumstances should you go to ground, you will straight away give  the referee the opportunity to blow his whistle.

Next is to remember not to lift your arms and hands up in any menacing way.

If you are too close to a player and raise your arms or hands, this might be considered as trying to harm or pull back an opponent.

Players should remember the most important thing to do to defend correctly is to stay goal side of the attacking player and look to never be beaten by the opposition player.

You should put in a tackle to win the ball back for your team (to win back possession of the football)

Only tackle when.

* The ball is close enough to be won

* If the ball is loose and the attacking player has lost control of the ball

* If the opposition player is in a really dangerous position and it become important to get a tackle in no matter how, to get the ball to safely.

Soccer Box


3 Types of football tackles

1: The poke tackle (staying on your feet)

This is where you run next to your opponent from the side or from behind and you simply try to poke the ball away from your opponent.

You need to get close to your opponent but do not make contact.

Use the foot nearest the ball, focus on the ball, stab the ball away using your toes. This is all about balance and timing.

2:  The block tackle (staying on your feet)

This is where you are facing your opponent straight on and you want to get the ball away from them.

Get to your opponent quickly then jockey for position, that means move with them without committing too early to the tackle.
Sometimes being in front of the opposition player is enough to cause them to make a mistake and lose the ball .

Otherwise wait until the player tries to knock the football past you or they try to pass it to another player.

As they do this go in with the front of your foot and block the ball.

Try to get your foot under the ball to lift it away.

Always make sure when you tackle you are fully committed to it.

Most injuries occur in tackling when a player half commits to making it, or tries to pull out of the tackle.

tackle from behind







3:The slide tackle (sliding off your feet)

This type of tackle is done by bending one leg and then sliding on that bent leg accross the ground.

While using you other leg which is extended outwards to take the ball off the opponent by making the tackle.

This type of tackle is the hardest and most riskiest but can look amazing if timed right.

As I mentioned earlier in the article the problem with this tackle these days is as soon as you go to ground the referee will be looking to penalise you.

With a foul going against you, your at risk of receiving a yellow or red card.

Make sure if you try this you are sure you can get the ball first and try not to leave a trailing leg when you go flying into the opposition player, as this will cause the referee again to blow up for something you have done wrong.

This type of tackle should be used as a last resort,  as it is considered a high injury risk tackle these days.

Most of the best defenders make sure they read the play and get themselves in the correct position so they do not have to dive in and go to ground.

Why is this?

If you are on the ground and the ball goes passed you then you are not able to be involved in the game and may be needed soon after to make another tackle.

2 different types of slide tackles are;

* Slide tackle from the side – the player comes at you from the side. The opposing player can see what you are trying to do and may be able to get out of the way.

* Slide tackle from behind – the defender comes through the back of you.

The opposition player has no idea what is about to hit them.

The referees have been told to be very strict on this type of tackle as it can be very dangerous.

Get this tackle wrong and you can be sure a red card will be shown to you by the referee.

If you feel you need to be making these types of tackles as you don’t have enough pace to keep up with attacking players in the modern fasted paced game.

Then I suggest you start practicing them on the training field with your team-mates.

Remember they can get hurt too and you don’t want to injure any player.

Take action:

* Start with the block tackle. Ask a team-mate to dribble towards you and keep going while trying to block tackle using your left and right feet.

It is good practice to become a two footed player.

* Then try the slide tackle while your team-mate dribbles straight towards you.

Keep practicing these moves until you feel more confident.

Then ask your team-mate to keep changing direction and with more speed as they to try and beat you, with you trying to put the tackles in.

You will be improving your timing and quality of the tackle the more your practice

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Will tackling in soccer be lost forever?

As far as I am aware soccer is still a contact sport so until this changes I don’t believe it will ever leave the game.

It is a good thing that players safety is being looked after and those leg breaking tackles are not being tolerated these days.

Who wants to see players get injured?

Not me for one.

I just want to see the best players performing their skills for our entertainment.tackle through the air

Remember the three types of tackling before they are gone from the game forever.  The poke tackle, the block tackle and the sliding tackle.

Enjoy learning how to master them and lets hope you keep them in the game for years to come.

Make sure you get your timing right and stay balanced when you make the tackle.

It is becoming a lost art in soccer, how to make a tackle and get it right.

Keep practicing and get it right and you will hear the crowd cheer for sure.

If you can slide through the air with grace and clear the ball away. The fans love a player who is able to make a good tackle that is done the correct way.

They soon become a fans favorite.


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4 thoughts on “Tackling in football – will it be gone forever?

  1. Totally feel you on this Matthew,

    Back when I was still in school, tackling was actually a must and even our teachers trained us on how to slide tackle properly and at the right time to turn the tide to our favour but now, less people are doing that I think because they do not  want to injure somebody as it can be hazardous if done wrong. What’s your favourite tackle?

    1. hi Riaz

      I agree with you it was normal when I was playing to see tackles flying in all over the place. you would see anything from head injuries to broken legs it was crazy.

       I played in the full back position and had no pace to keep up with the fast runners so I had a few miss timed tackles  myself. 

      The slide tackle always goes down well if you can get the timing right.

      Thank you for leaving me a comment it is always good to hear from you.

  2. Yes. Finally, a topic I love so much, Football.

    It’s very true that Tackling is on its way out of modern football, I have been following football consistently and I’ve noticed how tackles gradually leave the footballing. I remember the days of Maradona, Pele, or even Jay Jay Okocha, this were eras of great tackles.

    I believe one of the factors causing these is the Football Academy. Football Academies now teach young footballers not to tackle, as part of the “fair play” lessons. They are forgetting that takles are part of the thrills and entertainment fans derive from watching football.

    1. Hi Dhayours

      Thank you for taking the time to leave me a comment.

      I agree with you it seems that football is going the way of becoming a non contact sport.

      That is not something I particularly want to see as I for one love it when players are fully committed to the tackle.

      This brings excitement and emotion to the beautiful game

      Remember the crazy gang from Wimbledon, Vinny Jones and him team-mates, they were hard and did like to rough up the opposition.

      It is definitely being coached into the younger players, not to tackle and also to try and stay on your feet, as all coaches know that these days the referees will penalise you for the slightest bit of contact.

      Take it easy and thanks for reading my latest blog.

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