Instant Improver

How to make the perfect sliding tackle

Often heard from the mouths of ex-pros, who played in the days of 'real men' and who have long since swapped their boots for the presenter's chair, are the words "Players just don't know how to tackle any more - it's a lost art". We asked Andrew Douglas, of the nationwide Arsenal Soccer Schools (Playthearsenalway.com) to find this 'lost art' for us.

Fig. 1

"Make an early decision about which foot you will use to try to take the ball with and position your body so that you are level with - and that your non tackling foot is closest to - the opponent in possession. You’re likely to be running at pace, so ensure you’re close enough to make contact."

Fig. 2

"Keep your eyes on the ball, approach from the side and aim to tackle across the path of the opponent, never from behind. The tackle from behind is outlawed. Tackle by leading with the foot furthest from the ball, keeping this leg slightly bent. Bend the leg nearest the ball to a 45 degree angle (or less) Using the momentum from running, drop to the ground."

Fig. 3

"Slide on the outer thigh while using the laces of your tackling foot to make firm contact with the centre of the ball. Never plant down with the studs of your boot or make contact with both feet. Swing the leg around to sweep the ball away with the tackling foot in one movement."

Fig. 4

"Get up as quickly as possible, then accelerate into space, with the ball under control, from the opponent you’ve just dispossessed."