Team pursuit is a burning desire for all eleven players getting to the football. Team pursuit can be evaluated by freezing a video frame, and counting the number of players around the football on every play.
You can be a turn over producing defense with great team pursuit. Force people to go the distance in order to score.
You can build a reputation of punishing gang tackling from the front and backside, by demanding team pursuit.
WHAT IT TAKES TO PURSUE:
A. Pursuit is first a mental process.
B. Visualize pursuing and making great plays.
C. Physical Conditioning is necessary so you can have great pursuit on every Play.
D. Speed – React Fast and quickly. You can improve your speed and quickness.
HOW TO PURSUE:
A. Play technique and gap responsibility first.
B. Take correct course (pursuit angle) to the ball.
C. Don’t follow the same color Jersey.
D. You have to want to be first to the ball.
E. Who ever is responsible for contain must keep the ball carrier inside into the pursuit. Everyone else works inside out to the ball.
ONCE YOU ARRIVE AT THE BALL:
A. Come to balance (come under control).
B. God bent knee-striking position.
C. Step to and through the ball carrier (take one extra step).
D. Club and wrap up (your numbers up through their numbers).
WHAT PURSIT DOES:
A. Eliminates the Long T.D.
B. Discourages opponents
i. During the course of the game.
ii. Strikes fear and intimidates future opponents.
C. Promotes consistent team performance.
D. Creates turnovers all over the field.
A tackle is a desired collision between the defensive man and the ball carrier. The Defensive Man Must Win!!
To stop the ball carrier in his tracks for little or no gain, and to gang tackle. Tackling is 50% determination, and 50% technique. It takes both aggressiveness, and good technique to be a great tackler.
1. Meet the ball carrier in a god hitting position.
2. Eyes should be focused on the ball carriers numbers.
3. Don’t give the ball carrier a two way cut.
4. Keep butt low, keep head up, first contact should be made with the chest, or numbers. As the chest or numbers makes contact, roll the hips.
5. Do not leave your feet. Wide base, short choppy steps, drive through ball carrier and take him backwards.
6. On contact, work arms from high to low, wrap viciously, and pull the ball carrier toward you, squeeze and grab cloth.
7. If you are caught in a poor hitting position, somehow make the tackle. Grab arms, legs, or anything you can get a hold of, except the facemask.
OPEN FIELD TACKLE:
1. Gather yourself and come under control 3 to 4 yards from the ball carrier, feet chopping-move toward the ball carrier.
2. Keep eyes on the belt buckle, and get into good hitting position. Make the tackle.
3. Give the ball carrier only one-way to go, and then take it away.
4. Leave your feet only as a last resort.
5. Use the sideline whenever possible.
6. Force the ball carrier back into pursuit when possible.
A. A correct tackle incorporates the fundamentals of the following:
B. Tackling Progression:
1. Place yourself in the ideal tackling position, (knees bent, back flat, head-up).
2. Contact – The pop is the coordinated skill of making contact in the correct position while rolling the hips, thrusting the arms, and utilizing the power of the legs and lower back.
a. As contact is made, thrust arms in an upward motion around the ball carrier.
b. Squeeze and grab cloth.
c. Pull the ball carrier toward you.
3. Finish – The combination of the contact and the leg drive allows the tackler to finish the action by placing the ball carrier on his back. Run through the ball carrier.
4. Approach – Once the contact, and the finish, have been mastered, the approach must be mastered. As you approach the ball carrier breakdown – assume a good hitting position, feet chopping, close the distance between you and the ball carrier, and concentrate on his belt buckle. Do not absorb the punishment; deliver a blow when you tackle.
a. Keep your head up.
b. Squeeze and grab cloth.
c. Keep a wide base.
d. Keep your eyes open.
e. Keep you feet in desperation
NINE WAYS TO FORCE FUMBLES
1. Put your face across the ball as you make the tackle. Even if you do not accomplish your objective, you are still in a good position to bring the runner down.
2. If you are the second or third man in on a tackle, go for the football. This applies when the first tackler has stopped the ball carriers momentum.
3. If you are being contained by a blocker, and cannot get a good shot at the runner, reach out for the football with both hands. Actually tackle the ball with both hands.
4. If you are approaching the runner from behind, and tackling him high, you can sometimes club the ball loose by bringing the arm closest to the football over the top.
5. If you are approaching the runner from behind, and you are the second, or third man, go for the elbow. A lifting action on the elbow will sometimes force the runner to fumble. The ball carrier cannot maintain control of the football with a lifting motion on the elbow.
6. When rushing the quarterback, force fumbles by stripping, and hard tackling, this is effective when he is backpedaling. Linebackers who get in quickly are in a good position to force fumbles in this manner.
7. Keep in mind the ball carriers and receivers who are apt to fumble. Try to know the characteristics of each. By the way of illustration, a runner who is the type that spins, pivots, and twists a lot, is the type who leaves himself open to allow you to force a fumble.
8. The best method of all, to force fumbles, is to gang tackle. Hitting a runner from different angles will often dislodge the football. In addition, it will take something out of the runner.
9. There are times when deep backs can force fumbles due to the type of pass thrown. A technique that is very effective is to club the catch hand of the receiver, after the catch has been made.
Sudden change is the real test of a great defensive team. It’s an attitude. The score is 7 – 7 in the fourth quarter, and you have just stopped your opponent on your own 28-yard line. You have sat down on the bench, you feel good, and relieved. You have just stopped them after a long drive. You can sure use the rest. As the offensive team drives the ball out from the 28-yard line, and gets into field position on a turnover, on the first play your offense fumbles and your opponent has the ball on your 24-yard line. Hurry – get back into the game quickly! THIS IS A SUDDEN CHANGE SITUATION.
What are the feelings of the two teams at this time?
1. What a great break.
2. We have them on the ropes now.
3. Their defense will be tired.
4. Let’s hit them quick.
5. Our defense did a great job getting the ball.
1. What a lousy break.
2. They have us in a big hole.
3. I’m tired; I don’t know whether I can hold out again.
4. Boy, I hope someone comes up with a big play.
5. Our offense sure put us in a hole. How could they do that?
6. It just isn’t fair.
You can see why it takes a great defense to overcome a sudden change situation. Your opponents will be mentally up, and so must you. You must be MENTALLY TOUGH!!
WHAT YOU DO:
1. Always huddle up with you coach before you go back into the game.
2. Gain control of your thoughts, and get yourself ready to play defense again.
3. Realize that you must get yourself, and your team, up mentally.
4. Go all out to make the big play yourself.
5. Now is the test of your defense. Accept the challenge.
6. When you stop them, now you will have a greater psychological advantage.
About the Author of this post:
Jerry Campbell has over 30 years of high school and college coaching experience. He has experience as a head coach, offensive coordinator, and various position coaches. He has written numerous football coaching articles in various publications, is the author of over 30 books on coaching football, and has produced 12 coaching video series. Additionally, he is a nationally sought after speaker on the coaching clinic circuit.