Background on Tackling Safety:
If you are not aware of all of the safety concerns with tackling in our sport than you have been living under a rock. A major move over the last few years has been removing the head entirely from the tackle. Most teams in the country are now teaching tackling by bringing the shoulder to the thigh area, wrapping up, and driving the feet. The head is completely removed from the tackle, and we are no longer coaching kids up to “get their head in front”. This old school “putting the head in front” puts all of the stress in the head/neck area and does not actually give you more force. The Seattle Seahawks studied form Rugby teams and how they tackled and created a video tape explaining a technique called “Hawk Tackling”.
Here is a great video showing their techniques.
As this “Hawk Tackling” or “Rugby Tackling” has become more popular, devices have been created to help teach tackling. Rugby teams have used “Tackling Rings” for years. They are large foam wheels, you roll them, players tackle them.
You aren’t banging players’ bodies, they get to track an actual moving target, bring their hips and wrap up. This is a great safe way to teach tackling… but they are usually $400-$500 EACH. A lot of high schools and youth organizations do not have the resources to buy one, let alone a few for all positions to work on safe tackling at the same time.
Here is a little example of some drills using a tackling ring.
Ballin On A Budget
I do not believe teams with money should be the only ones that deserve to learn how to tackle safely.
I do not believe in paying that much money for something Cavemen invented a million years ago.
So I came up with this idea… I’d buy an inner-tube on Amazon. It was cheap, seemed adequate size, and if it didn’t work out… oh well I am not out that much money. However, if it works, and holds up to getting tackled, I have given my players and coaches a way to safely rep tackling at a fraction of the cost.
I bought an inner-tube from a seller on Amazon. Link to Inner-tube Seller
They offer different sizes and my first purchase was a 40″ inner-tube for just $32.99. This is a great size for youth and your smaller players. I felt like I needed a little bit bigger model so I ordered the 45″ for just 36.99. They also offer a HUGE 68″ model that I want to order for $110.
All of these options come with free shipping for Amazon Prime members (you are insane if you are not a Prime Member).
Does it Really Work?
These first purchases were just an experiment. I wanted to see
- Will it even Roll?
- Will it hold up?
- Will tackling it work like we want?
- It is probably gonna pop the first time we tackle it, right?
Well after trying them out, they work! They have held up just fine no matter how much we tackle and throw it around. The inner-tube itself feels more thick/durable than I would’ve thought. We are getting the desired result and kids have fun with it. My experiment showed me this is worth doing, and a much more cost effective way for us to help teach tackling safely.
Again, the link to the inner-tubes I bought is here.
I will post some videos of us tackling the inner-tube in the next couple weeks.