Episode 3: Pre-Contact

Taking head shots out of the game means catch­ing it before it starts. In this episode, we talk about the three phas­es of eval­u­a­tion that go into pre-con­tact, and how to track them.

Episode 3: Pre-Contact

Taking head shots out of the game means catch­ing it before it starts. In this episode, we talk about the three phas­es of eval­u­a­tion that go into pre-con­tact, and how to track them.

Much of the dis­cus­sion late­ly on tack­ling has revolved around tak­ing the head out of the game.” However, we feel that the eval­u­a­tion process real­ly starts before con­tact is even made. 

This is reflect­ed in our phi­los­o­phy on track­ing, which entails var­i­ous ele­ments with the goal of max­i­miz­ing shoul­der contact. 

Effective track­ing turns good tack­lers into dom­i­nant tack­lers. It’s a sequen­tial process, where each ele­ment works off each oth­er. Tracking is bro­ken up into three spe­cif­ic zones: 

Evaluation Zone — This is the point where the defend­er begins to close space towards the ball car­ri­er and becomes a tack­ler. The ele­ment of clos­ing space is empha­sized through­out our sys­tem because it put ath­letes in a posi­tion to suc­ceed as tacklers. 

Decision-Making Zone — This is where the tack­ler must focus on estab­lish­ing and main­tain­ing lever­age. The Decision-Making Zone forces tack­lers to prob­lem solve” through react­ing to visu­al cues and mim­ic­k­ing of the runner’s movement. 

Action Zone — This is one of the most under-coached and over­looked ele­ments in tack­ling. In the Action Zone, tack­lers must focus on hav­ing effec­tive foot­work and strike tim­ing into con­tact. We believe prop­er foot­work as the bridge between effec­tive track­ing and mak­ing dom­i­nant contact.

In this episode, we take an in-depth look at track­ing by focus­ing on all our pre-con­tact ele­ments. There will be mul­ti­ple visu­al exam­ples that will help you cre­ate a uni­ver­sal lan­guage with­in your pro­gram, and a sam­ple tack­le pro­gres­sion high­light­ing Atavus tack­le drills.

Start coach­ing bet­ter tack­ling today by incor­po­rat­ing this track­ing sys­tem into your pro­gram. Log in to your account and get started.