Breaking down the perfect slide tackle

Perfecting the slide tackle is an essential for the top-flight defender. Throwing yourself into the path of your opponent and stripping them from possession can make all the difference. But be warned. A mishap of judgement, poor timing or careless play can see you facing a red card. Be sure you’ve got your team covered with this definitive guide to perfecting the slide tackle.

1.    Make a decision

Before sliding into a tackle you must choose which foot you’ll be using. Make an early decision. Keep your non-tackling foot closest to your opponent. Never approach from behind. Slide tackles from behind are forbidden and will always result in a foul! For best results, approach from the side and aim to slide through your opponent’s path.

2.    Posture

Posture might well be the last thing on your mind. But poor positioning and posture will increase the chances of injuries and fouls. Keep your eyes on the ball. Slide on your outer thigh. Use the laces of your tackling foot to make contact with the ball. Positioned correctly, you will now be able to sweep the ball away with your tackling foot.

3.    Know your surroundings

Ultimately a successful slide tackle must sweep the ball clear of your opponent’s feet. Establish who is around you. This will enable you to alter the swing of your tackling foot and push the ball into the direction of a teammate.

4.    Brace yourself and get up!

By cutting across the path of your opponent it is likely they’ll be joining you on the deck. Brace yourself. One way or another your opponent might land on top of you. As soon as you’ve dispossessed your opponent, get yourself up and get going!

5.    Be prepared for the refs whistle

Slide tackles are a dangerous element of the game. Poor timing and clumsy positioning can lead to a foul, or worse – cause injuries! Ensure you take plenty of care. And remember, even though you made contact with the ball, it is likely your opponent will fall. So be prepared for the refs whistle!

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