Proper form in tackling is a necessity to the football player. The player on the opposing eleven who is carrying the ball must be firmly grasped and thrown to the ground or he will keep up his progress toward your goal. Tackling, generally, can be separated into two divisions - long tackling and short tackling. In each case, however, the aim of the tackier should be directed at a point midway between the hips and the knees. He should get both arms securely round the legs of the runner and should grasp firmly and with a determination not to be shaken off.
The long tackle is employed in the open field, when the runner has an opportunity to dodge to either side. In such a case the tackier should aim first of all to get in the direct path of the man with the ball. When within diving distance the tackier should launch himself into the air as a swimmer leaps into the water, giving every possible speed of spring to his effort and wrapping his arms round the runner's legs below the hips. He should guard against diving too low, for this may enable the runner to elude him, either by hurdling or wriggling out of his grasp. The tackle should always be low enough, however, to pin the legs of the runner together, thereby bringing him to earth. The resistance of the runner as he falls will protect the tackier from any possible injury from striking the ground, as the runner will act as a buffer.
If the tackier finds it impossible to get in the path of the runner he should get within reaching distance from the side and then make his dive from a distance of about his own length. In this case the tackier should always aim to get his head in front of the runner, thus making the tackle more secure through the added impediment that is offered to the progress of the man with the ball.
The short tackle is largely confined to the tackling of runners in the line. In such case, the runner is usually within reaching distance and the tackier under less rapid motion. As the two come together the tackier should go into his man low, grasping him between the hips and knees and launching himself forward and upward toward the opponents' goal at the very moment of the tackle, the purpose being the securing of an added impetus which will carry the runner back. If it is possible, the tackier should launch his weight from a position which will allow him to strike the runner in a position which will lift him off his feet This will make the tackle all the more effective.
An effective tackle, shown in one of the illustrations which accompany this chapter, is one made from behind. This is frequently possible when a forward has broken through the line just behind the path of the play. It is also employed in the open field when a runner has passed the first line of defense and is going down the field.