Defensive Line Tackling Progression Drills


The purpose of these Defensive Line Tackling Progression Drills is to teach and improve the defensive linemen’s proper tackling technique.


  1. Fit
    On command the designated defenders walk up to their partner and into a fit position.
    They should stay in that position until the coach checked and possibly corrected the position.
  2. Fit and lift
    On command the designated defenders walk up to their partner and into a good fit position.
    On the next command they follow through, rolling their hips and lifting their partner and taking him back a few steps.
  3. Form tackle
    Partners should be about 5 yards apart. On command the designated offender jogs toward the defender.
    The defender meets him in proper tackling position and performs a form tackle.
    Have offenders jog in a 45° angle also.

For each progression step: start off one after the other, and as the players get better, let them execute simultaneously.

Do right and left shoulder.

Coaching Points

  1. Fit
    Feet shoulder width apart, knees bent, back straight, head up, arms around butt, shoulder at belt-buckle.
  2. Fit and lift
    Additional: hips should roll, the lift should be caused by the rolling hips and the extension of the legs. The offenders should assist the lift by hopping up on the second command. Stress the importance of leverage.
  3. Form tackle
    Same as above, make sure the form tackle will be done in one fluid motion. Offenders should not change direction or speed, nor fight the tackle.

Increase speed as players get better but not intensity of contact.