While the best defence might be a good offence, no team has ever won a soccer tournament without the ability to make good strong tackles when they matter the most.
Tackling in soccer is all about precision and timing, as while a good tackle can often mean the difference between giving up a crucial goal or not, a bad tackle will usually draw the wrath of the referee.
Here are a few tips for ensuring your soccer tackling is safe, fair and competitive – try these out the next time you come down to Strathfield Sports Club Sydney for a game!
Practice makes perfect
Soccer tackling might not be the most fun thing to practice in your spare time, but it can be one of the most important.
Make sure to dedicate some time towards working on skills such as predicting your opponent's movement and moving at the right time, as these can make the difference between a good tackle and a bad tackle.
Remember though that the last thing you want is for an injury to occur during a training session, so make sure you are sensible and don't accidentally hurt yourself or your practice partner.
Keep your eye on the ball
A common mistake that soccer defenders make is to direct their attention at their opponent rather than the ball itself.
This is a bad idea as it makes it much easier for your opponent to shake you off through fancy footwork, fake passes and sidesteps.
Focus on the ball and predict where it will travel, that way you will be able to execute a safe and strong tackle and won't risk accidentally tripping up your opponent and drawing a penalty.
Favour precision over aggression
Another mistake that defenders often make is to attack with overt aggression, letting precision and accuracy fall by the wayside.
It's important to go hard at the ball and commit to the tackle, but it is equally vital that you time your move correctly and with accuracy to ensure the tackle is completely legal.
Keep yourself safe
Good tackling is all about showing commitment and putting your body on the line, but that doesn't mean putting yourself in a position of unnecessary danger.
Make sure to be aware of yourself and your opponent at all times, and to be ready to protect your head or chest as need be.