Tackling and Spoiling

Skill: Tackling

There are 3 types of tackles commonly used in AFL

  • Front on tackle
  • Side on tackle
  • Tackle from behind (drop tackle)

Front on tackle:

  • Used a lot around contests to wrap ball up and create stoppages
  • Focus on the waist and hips of opposition player
  • Wrap arms around oppositions arms to pin the ball
  • When player is over the ball be careful with this tackle so as not to make contact with the head or shoulders

Side on tackle:

  • Wrap oppositions players arms up
  • Twist player as you make contact with them
  • Hold player up or drive to the ground

Drop tackle:

  • Huge momentum changer of a tackle
  • Approaching player from behind, wrap arms around their arms to stop their ability to dispose of the ball
  • Pull down with your body weight to bring player down
  • Twist opposition player as you bring them to ground
  • IMPORTANT – do not put hands in the back, or drive through the players back (that is a Free Kick against you)

With all tackles no contact below the knees or above the shoulders (that is even just a hand on the shoulder).

Activity: Tackling


Knee tackling

  • Players in pairs
  • Both players on their knees
  • One player has ball in hand and other the tackler
  • Practice tackling front on, side on and from behind

Full tackling

  • Extend the above drill to standing up and running
  • Player with ball can start to try and evade
  • Players go at 70-80% effort
  • Practice tackling front on, side on and from behind
Skill: Spoiling

A spoil is a defensive tool to ensure your opposition do not take a mark. Remember these tips:

  • Approach the player from the side
  • Always know where your opposition player is
  • Always keep your eye on the ball
  • Punch through the ball (is not a haymaker)
  • Do NOT put your hands in the opposition players back

Activity: Spoiling


Have a partner kick the ball to you from a distance and work on getting in line with the ball and punching it away. Ensure you make good contact with the fist.

Extension – Add targets for you to spoil the ball towards.

Small groups

Have one player kick the ball into you and another player who is trying to mark the ball. Spoil it away.

Extension – Work at 90/100% and have the opposition make leads so you have to spoil at pace. Have the opposition player body you up so you have to manipulate body position as well.