The Block Tackle
A perfectly timed crunching block tackle never fails to stir the spirits of a crowd during a football match. Players such as Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira and Stuart Pearce, for example, used to strike fear into the heart of opponents with their crunching tackles.
As a result, the block tackle is central to any footballer´s skill repertoire. Many players enjoy winning the ball from an opponent with a spectacular sliding tackle, but undoubtedly, the block tackle is much more effective and useful in any game of football.
Crucial to an effective block tackle is timing. The perfect moment to execute the tackle is when your opponent is slightly off balance or "shows you too much of the ball", which means not shielding the ball properly from your view. You can then exploit these moments to win the ball from the opponent.
In a block tackle, the non-tackling foot must be placed firmly forward and the knee bent slightly forward to centre all your force down on the ball. It is also necessary to incline the upper body forward with the head positioned downward towards the ball – this also concentrates your centre of gravity and hence all your force in one place.
With all your weight and inertia behind the ball, you should come out winning the ball in a block tackle. Ensure you use the inside of the foot to follow through on the ball; using the toe or upper foot reduces accuracy and risks injury.
The psychological element of block tackling is also vital. Always be committed and positive when approaching a block tackle. If you centre all your weight and force on the ball, the risk of injury is very minimal. Injuries can occur only when players shy away from the tackle. A golden tip when block tackling is to aim a short distance behind the ball, therefore inducing you to follow through on the tackle and concentrating the maximum force on the ball.