The Sliding Tackle

The sliding tackle (also known as the slide tackle) is a means of dispossessing an opponent. Unlike other tackles, the sliding tackle happens at ground level, by sliding the body feet-forward to take the ball from the player in possession. The player must watch the ball carefully, approach from an angle and be decisive – timing is crucial.

The tackle is very effective and a key skill for defenders to acquire. However, a mis-timed tackle may cause a player to make contact with their opponent, conceding a free kick. Defenders have been known to cynically ‘"scythe" down an attacking player, using a sliding tackle to target the opponent’s legs rather the ball. Inside the penalty area, a poorly executed sliding tackle usually leads to a spot-kick.

Sliding Tackle

Sliding Tackle

For these reasons a sliding tackle can be risky. Another disadvantage is that the defender does not stay on his or her feet, which effectively puts them out of the game for a few seconds. An unsuccessful sliding tackle could leave the defender behind and give the attacker a clear run on goal.