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NFHS, NFL Partner on Football Tackling Education

Andy Berg
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The National Federation of State High School Associations announced this week that it has partnered with the NFL on a program designed to assist interscholastic coaches in teaching, evaluating and programming proper tackling techniques.

“This course is full of valuable tools and actual drills that will help any interscholastic football coach, and it is a welcome addition to the NFHS Learning Center,” said Dan Schuster, NFHS director of Educational Services, in a statement. “Not only is the content valuable, but it is available at no cost, which will allow easy access to football coaches across the country.”

“Football Tackling” begins by presenting that coaches must have a simple framework to effectively teach tackling while also managing contact. Coaching “checkpoints” known as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are also addressed in the opening chapter and range from striking accuracy and body positioning to appropriate drill intensity. 

The course also stresses the importance of managing contact while players become acclimated to tackling drills and other physical practice activities. Balancing a regimen of contact and non-contact training is not only an effective way to monitor contact frequency and severity, it also provides opportunities for players to hone tackling mechanics such as tracking and leverage before putting them to use at full speed.

Another section takes an in-depth look at different types of tackling drills and separates them into four distinct categories: teaching drills, tracking drills, bag drills and ‘Small Space, Big Fight’ drills. Each subgroup contains roughly five drill examples that are profiled in detail according to their skill development objectives and can be used at various speeds and levels of contact for targeted instruction.

The final chapter of “Football Tackling” touches on equipment fitting and presents the necessary guide information and measurements for assuring players are wearing appropriately sized helmets and shoulder pads.

The “Football Tackling” course is one of several projects resulting from the NFHS-NFL partnership that was announced in September 2020. This first-ever partnership was aimed at promoting the growth, understanding and support for football at the high school level.  A major focus of the NFHS-NFL partnership has been surveying of state high school association administrators, high school student-athletes, parents, coaches and officials with regard to their experiences in football and the benefits of participation.

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