The sliding tackle or recovery tackle is an essential soccer skill requiring timing and technique. It’s not just defenders, who need to be able to tackle. Even forwards should be able to make a sliding tackle. The football team that can tackle well can take much of the initiative away from the opposition, denying them space, and putting them under pressure.
It’s best to tackle with the foot that is furthest from the ball. This gives you extra reach, and reduces the chances of giving away a foul. The sliding tackle is best made from a square position with your leg going out to the side rather than straight in front of you.
Timing is vital, and takes plenty of exercise to get right. The key factors for any player are to watch the ball carefully, try to anticipate your opponents move without being distracted, and to always go for the ball. If you get a foot on the ball first, there is no foul, but if you miss the ball, you will give away a free kick or be “left for dead”.
A drill for the recovery tackle is for one player, acting as winger to run with the ball down a narrow “corridor” towards the touchline. He is given a head start over the defender, who chases after him, and tries to make a sliding tackle putting the ball into touch. The winger must try to reach the touchline without being tackled. Other training exercises and drills for the sliding tackle, as well as video demonstrations are provided in our football coaching software.