Tackle coaching in rugby is set to be revolutionised with the global launch of the Tackle Ready, which aims to reduce the risk of head injury at all levels of the sport by improving technique.
Tackle Ready supports World Rugby’s commitment to advance best-practice injury-prevention education programmes within a wide-ranging strategy to cement rugby as the most progressive sport on player welfare. Under Tackle Ready, coaches at all levels will be given a five-stage framework around which to coach the tackle, broken down into the following categories: tracking, preparation, connection, acceleration and finish.
The content is relevant for all ages and stages of player and builds on the introductory information provided in Rugby Ready and should be used by coaches in conjunction with their Union’s Age Grade Law Variations where applicable.
Tackle Ready supports the education pillar of the recently launched strategy to cement rugby as the most progressive sport on player welfare. It has been developed following comprehensive research into the relationship between head injuries and the tackle, which demonstrates that 76 per cent of head injuries occur at the tackle, two thirds of head injuries occur to the tackler and a bent at the waist tackle is 4.5 times safer than an upright, face-to-face tackle.
World Rugby is rolling out the innovative injury-prevention programme via its global network of educators and trainers with unions following suit. Free-to-access video guidance available here means that everyone in the game will be able to access and benefit from the best-practice resource.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Our mission is to make rugby as safe and accessible as possible for every participant at every level of the game. Tackle Ready reflects that central ambition by focusing on the technical key factors in five stages of the tackle which will help players to execute safer and more effective tackles and coaches to be consistent in their best-practice coaching approach.
“This is an important resource for the whole sport, based entirely on research and expert input. Not enough time is spent on tackle technique. Children are influenced by what they see on television so achieving buy-in from top players, coaches and teams is important to creating a safer and more accessible environment for all players at all levels. I encourage everyone to use it.”
And while welfare is the driving force behind the ground-breaking initiative, its creators also believe that there are tangible performance benefits from adopting best-practice technique.
Leading international coach and Tackle Ready co-designer Richie Gray added: “The tackle is fundamental to the fabric of the game, but it is also fundamental to welfare and performance and not enough time is spent on the basics. This resource, the first of its kind, is a step-by-step guide and has been developed for all levels of the game. Whether you are a coach or a player there will be information and methodology within the programme that is applicable to the age group and level you coach or play at.
“The challenge as a coach is we must make sure our players are more accurate in this area going forward and Tackle Ready will help improve tackle technique to make coaches better practitioners and to promote safer, more effective tackles that are beneficial to performance.”
Fiji men’s 15s head coach Vern Cotter added: "With Tackle Ready, the development of a skill, with a progression of drills that improves best-practice technique could be effectively used as a coaching resource at all levels. To have these resources and the skill execution in particular, given the spotlight on the tackle area, is great.”
The programme has been welcomed by national unions and players alike, who will play a leading role in the promotion of Tackle Ready in partnership with World Rugby via face-to-face and online courses and the combined digital and social media reach of tens of millions.
The programme will combine with Activate, the injury-prevention warm-up programme, in providing the game with the tools to significantly aid injury prevention across the sport, particularly in the priority area of head injury reduction. While the community and elite games are very different with different risk profiles, Tackle Ready is applicable for all levels of the sport.
World Rugby Head of Technical Services Mark Harrington said: “Tackle Ready will be available as an online resource in multiple languages, complemented with a face-to-face course delivered by our licensed global educator network. When combined with the Activate warm-up programme, which statistically reduces concussion risk by up to 60 per cent, it could prove to be a game-changer for the sport.”
World Rugby General Manager for Training and Education Jock Peggie added: “We will be working in partnership with regions and national member unions to educate and implement Tackle Ready. By harnessing the extensive global community of licensed educators and the combined reach of the sport’s social and digital footprint, we hope to access every participant to coach best-practice technique that supports the central aim of advancing player welfare.”