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The Shoulder Leverage Tackling Method

The Shoulder Leverage Tackling Method

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Learn shoulder leverage tackling techniques that will produce better tacklers and help prevent injuries
  • Learn tackling techniques for athletes who play at each defensive level - linemen, linebackers, and secondary
  • Prevent unnecessary penalties by teaching your players the meaning of a strike zone
  • Enhance your team's ability to pursue the ball carrier quickly while maintaining their leverage

with Mike Alexander,
Grapevine High School Defensive Coordinator

Tackling will always be the foundation of any championship defense. Without proper tackling skills, the best defensive schemes are useless. The shoulder leverage tackle taught at Grapevine High School gives players of all sizes the ability to bring down a physical football player. Shoulder leverage tackling provides players with a focus area during each tackle. The use of the shoulder as the primary contact point allows undersized players to make tackles effectively when facing larger players

Mike Alexander provides effective coaching tools to help defensive coaches teach their athletes how to effectively tackle to eliminate explosive plays. He uses practice and game video to demonstrate the proper techniques in each of the five types of tackles executed in a game: Hawk, Compression, Profile, Tracking and Strike Zone. He preaches focus on tackling skill over defensive scheme. This allows athletes to deliver on the field once they commit to the scheme.

Hawk Tackling

Leverage on the ball is the key to tackling, and the Hawk tackle taught by the Seattle Seahawks is shown first. The Hawk shoulder leverage tackle keeps a player's head out of the play, resulting in fewer concussions and making the game safer for the players. Coach Alexander breaks down the specifics for putting the near side shoulder on the near side thigh board of the offensive player to bring them down to the ground. The Hawk Roll tackle allows a smaller defender to bring down a big running back without the fear of contact and injury.

Profile Tackling

Improve tackling inside the box and reduce blows to the head using this shoulder leverage tackling method. The profile tackle helps defenders to be more physical and aggressive when taking down offensive players. The objective of profile tackling is to get the near side shoulder into the armpit of the ball carrier, then stand them up, wrap and squeeze and run their feet.

Compression Tackling

Compression tackling is the nuts and bolts for the majority of the game. The compression tackle teaches two or more defenders how to work together to properly converge on the ball carrier to quickly get them to the ground. You'll also see how leverage is the key in defending an elusive ball carrier.


Tracking will enhance your team's ability to pursue the ball carrier quickly as players run horizontal to the sideline, not allowing the cutback, all while maintaining their leverage.

Implementing the techniques Coach Alexander teaches will help propel your team's defensive play ability by improving their tackling skills. Teaching your athletes how to become great tacklers will help you build your squad into a defensive force.

60 minutes. 2016.