Before next football season begins, football coaches in the high school and junior high ranks will need to be certified in teaching tackling.
The University Interscholastic League has said that they and the Texas High School Coaches Association have collaborated to make Texas the first in the country to implement a mandatory statewide tackling certification program for all football coaches to raise standards and improve safety.
Many coaches have referred to it as “rugby tackling” where instead of sticking your facemask in between the numbers of your opponent and wrapping your arms around them, you’re leading with your shoulder with the head to the side, wrapping your arms around them then roll to the ground.
“Angle tackling is what I call it,” said West Orange-Stark coach Cornel Thompson. “We teach it, but we really started teaching it more a couple of years ago after Earl (Thomas) showed me a video.” Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll created a video called “Hawk Tackling” using the same methods that rugby players use. According to the Seahawks, the number of concussions have been cut down tremendously.
“We’ve also called it Gator tackling,” said Thompson. “When a gator grabs you he rolls with you. We teach our guys to do the same. Rolling their legs and taking them down keeps them from dragging you down the field.”
Although Coach Thompson believes that it may make the game safer, he also mentioned how small the shoulder pads have become. “They want us to lead with our shoulders now, but if you’ve seen the pads we use now compared to before, there’s not much there.
The UIL said that the certification process for coaches begins in July 2018 and will be available in two formats. The first option is an on-site training offered by THSCA, consisting of a presentation followed by a live assessment that must be passed to receive certification. The second option, available beginning April 1, 2019, is an online platform, which allows coaches to achieve certification at their own pace but consists of a similar educational presentation and final assessment.
Atavus Sports was selected as the exclusive provider to oversee and administer the certification process statewide. Atavus Sports is a Seattle-based organization focused on tackling techniques and tackle data analytics.