We all know that soccer is a contact sport and that it requires a lot of physical engagement with other people.
And as you can very easily tell, with physical contact comes the risk of injury.
Since tackling in soccer is one of the major ways to get physically engaged with your opponent, some people might feel afraid to attempt to do any tackles in soccer.
While not all of the types of tackles in soccer are truly frightening, some of them can be.
For example, a simple block tackle is very easy to do and may not even require physical contact with the opponent.
However, a slide tackle is a whole different story. To do a slide tackle, you literally have to throw yourself horizontally with your legs forward just to be able to reach the ball before your opponent does.
So you get the point, a slide tackle can sometimes be scary to some people, and if you are one of those people, then luckily there are things that you can do to overcome this fear of tackling or sliding in soccer.
Here is a list of things you can try in order to overcome the fear of tackling in soccer:
1- Identify what you are exactly afraid of.
In order to overcome the fear of something, you should first identify what exactly is causing that fear. When it comes to slide tackles or tackles in general, there are 3 main things that might make you think twice before you act:
- The fear of hurting yourself
- The fear of failing and embarrassment
- The fear of hurting your opponent
All of these fears are completely valid. We all know that if a tackle goes wrong, then you might either hurt yourself or hurt your opponent. We also know that a failed attempt to tackle someone can look weird.
However, with the right mindset and the right approach, you can easily work on any of the reasons that are causing you to be afraid of tackling in soccer. So this brings us to the next few points.
2- Practice on a soft surface
If you feel like you are inside a safe environment, then attempting a slide tackle or any other tackle becomes very easy for you.
For example, let’s say that you are on a water slide. Sliding with your feet forward and your head back doesn’t sound scary anymore because you know you’ll be safe.
However, when it comes to grass, and especially the artificial grass that might be used on the soccer field, then things can be a little bit different.
So, instead of attempting your first tackles on a rough surface, you should go find a smooth surface where it is absolutely safe to slide and attempt a tackle against someone.
Go find that surface, and keep practicing the proper technique used by the professional soccer defenders in order to learn how to tackle your opponent without hurting yourself or your opponent.
3- Watch how others do it
I mentioned in the previous point that you should learn how the professionals do it. Well, you can do that by going to YouTube and watching how the world class defenders tackle their opponents to extract the ball from them.
Or you can go to your local soccer community and watch how others do it and learn from them.
If you are part of a soccer team, you can ask your teammates for help too. No matter how you do it, just make sure that you learn the proper technique, and apply these techniques on smooth surfaces till you master them.
If you do the tackle properly, you won’t hurt yourself, and you won’t hurt anybody else. It’s also much easier than you think it is.
After all, a tackle is all about properly positioning your body to prevent your opponent from advancing forward. It is never about brute force and just hitting someone for the sake of hitting.
So in simple words, watch and learn the proper tackling technique and the tackles won’t be as dangerous and as reckless as you think they are.
4- Remember that everyone else was once afraid of tackling
If you think that you are the only soccer player on earth who is afraid to tackle their opponent, then you are wrong. Almost every soccer player at some point has had some fear when it comes to tackling.
It is part of human nature to be afraid of things that you think might put you in danger.
Just knowing that you aren’t the only one afraid of tackling can help you overcome that fear. Now you know that others have been able to overcome their fears of tackling and so can you.
5- Surround yourself with people who find it easy to tackle.
If you surround yourself with a group of people, you’ll notice that you’re quickly gaining their traits and their habits.
You can use this to your advantage. Just try to play soccer with people who generally aren’t afraid of making a tackle and you’ll eventually find yourself encouraged to try it out.
The peer pressure can sometimes be positive and boost your confidence. It can push you to try and do things that you thought weren’t possible in general.
6- Just do it.
Now that you have practiced enough on smooth surfaces, and now that you know the proper technique of tackling, the only thing remaining is to… Just Do It.
If you find yourself in a position where a tackle makes a lot of sense, just go for it without any hesitation. If you hesitate for a second, you’ll increase your chances of failing and hurting yourself or your opponent.
It all takes a few seconds of courage to pull this off, and once you do it and break the fear, you’ll find yourself doing it again and again and you’ll find yourself enjoying it too. At least that’s what happened with me and with many of the people that I know.
To make this easier for you, just try to alter your imagination in a way that will help you overcome your fear of tackling.
For example, picture yourself as a world class defender who is trying to save their national team from conceding a goal in the world cup final by doing a brilliant tackle that the world will keep talking about for generations to come.
Whatever makes it easier for you to overcome your fear of tackling the ball. Just go for it. Again, when you attempt your first tackle, the rest will follow and the fear will break.
It’s true that tackling is not an easy thing to do, and the fear of tackling in soccer is always understandable. However, all it takes to break that fear is a single moment of courage. If you do it once, you’ll do it again, and the fear will disappear over time.
With that said, I will end my article here. Enjoy the rest of your time.