Youth: The Safe Way to Tackle the Art of Tackling in Youth Soccer

Sep 3, 2019

***This article is part of an educational series for soccer parents and youth players new to soccer***

Tackling and sliding are two of the most spectacular moves a soccer player can make. Unfortunately, studies have confirmed that the majority of soccer injuries occur during tackles. Protective gear, like soccer leg guards or padded sliding shorts help, but they should be complemented with good technique.

If your child is starting soccer young, or if you’re coaching youth soccer players, it’s your job to ensure players learn these moves safely. Otherwise, they could put themselves at risk for a devastating injury.

The best way to ensure that youth soccer players are protected from injuries is to teach them the proper way to handle tackles. This includes emphasizing discipline and attention to the ball, which prevents players from becoming distracted and putting themselves at risk for injury. Today, we’ll discuss ways that you can protect youth soccer players and ensure their safety during tackles. 

Youth Soccer League Tackling Recommendations

Currently, recommendations for youth soccer leagues in the United States adhere to FIFA regulations with the exception of slide tackles. No slide tackles are allowed for players under the age of 10. Aside from that, it’s important that players learn how to perform these maneuvers safely, so they can avoid injury.

How to Ensure Proper Tackling Form

Many coaches wait to teach tackling to young players until they can fully execute movements with the inside of their foot. After that, the front block tackle is often the first tackling maneuver that young players learn. Learning the approach, stance, and timing are all key. Corrections should be made immediately, and at all stages of the movement.  

Other types of blocking tackles and poke tackles are introduced. These tackles require much more stability and strength in order to have control over the leg and avoid tripping or kicking the opposing player. Slide tackles are usually the last type of tackle introduced to young players. These tackles require excellent control.

Although they are useful for getting possession of the ball from the opposing team, any distraction could cause a major injury to the shin, ankle, or knee. Players need to practice these types of tackles over and over again until they can perform them with no risk to themselves or others.

Soccer Protective Gear Keeps Young Players Safe

As they’re learning the basics of tackling, it’s important to keep players safe with youth soccer equipment. Most leagues require only shin guards covered by long soccer socks. Fortunately, there are other types of soccer protective gear that can be added.

Soccer leg guards protect all of the lower leg, not just the shin. They’re made of heavy padding that allows for complete flexibility while maintaining a safe, protective covering. A pocket allows players to easily insert shin guards.

For more information on health in youth sports and other health-related initiatives, you can visit School Health and Safety

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