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    Skills and Tactics

    In this section we will be looking at various ways in which you can improve your game. This week:

    Slide Tackles

    When properly timed, the sliding tackle is a very effective skill.

    It also looks good, but remember that this is a last-ditch tackle.

    The problem with it is that it leaves the defender lying on the ground and temporarily out of the game.

    And if you get the timing wrong you will give away a foul - or a penalty if in the box.

    The tackle from behind has been outlawed from the game so you need to try to make the tackle from the side and across the path of your opponent.

    If you are chasing back towards your own goal and your opponent is ahead of you, you will have to get your tackling foot around the side or it will be deemed a foul.

    Use the leg furthest away from your opponent and try to pass or hook the ball away as you slide in.

    Whether the tackle has been successful or not, get back up on your feet as quickly as possible once the challenge has been made.

    JOCKEYING

     

    Jockeying is nothing to do with riding horses, but it's a very useful skill to know.

     

    You don't always need to tackle an opponent to dispossess them or slow their progress.

    Jockeying denies your opponent time and space, and it's a good tactic to allow your team-mates to get back in position.

    Jockeying step one

    Adopt an almost side-on position, but with shoulders opened out slightly so that you provide a barrier to your opponent.

    This will also allow you to see them in front of you.

    If you keep your knees slightly bent, with your weight on the front of your feet, then you'll find it easier to change direction as you move backwards.

    Jockeying step two

    You need to try and always stay 'goal-side', and also in front of your opponent.

    You can do this by pivoting off your back foot as you move backwards

    Jockeying step three

    Try to stay within an arm's length of your opponent to increase the pressure on them.

    If you have your arms slightly out to your sides then it creates a bit more of a natural barrier.

    But make sure you don't use them to push an opponent.

    Block Tackling

    Whatever your position, you need to be able to tackle.

    If your team is not in possession of the ball it is obviously crucial to get it back.

    There are many different ways to achieve this, but the block tackle is the best and most common method.

    Get to your opponent quickly to deny them time and space on the ball. But don't commit yourself too early or you will foul them or be easy to beat.

    Jockey your opponent and wait for the best time to make a challenge.

    Sometimes just putting your opponent under pressure will cause them to make a mistake.

    When you think you can win the ball, your weight should move forward as you prepare to tackle with the inside of your foot.

    This will probably be just as your opponent looks to either pass the ball or knock it past you. If the ball becomes stuck between your feet and your opponent's then get your foot under the ball to lift it away.

    Make sure you keep your ankle and leg firm throughout the tackle.

    You are much more likely to get injured if you are not properly committed to a challenge.