Tackling drills for Under 10s


May 22, 2019
AFL Club
Brisbane Lions
The team I coach is getting smashed at the contest. I've focussed on getting hands on the ball and ball distribution (handballing at ground level, tapping on/out and positional awareness), but we're struggling to stop the opponent when they have the ball. Under 10s aren't allowed to the take the opposition to the ground, which I agree with, but adds another element to teach.

A part of me thinks it's actually attitude more than skill that's letting us down. A distinct lack of controlled aggression is visible.

So, I'm looking for drills to employ and words of wisdom to take training. Any suggestions?

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Premiership Player
Oct 6, 2009
st kilda east
AFL Club
How important is tackling at under 10 level?

If your players are showing up week after week then as a junior coach you're doing most things right - try not to put too much thought into development at such a young age

If anything use drills/scenario's where they have to get the ball from within a crowd and run out with it but put in some form of game form so it sticks in their minds and then you can easily refer back to it on game day


Premium Platinum
Jul 26, 2016
Brisbane (VIC until 21, SA until mid 30's)
AFL Club
Other Teams
LFC, NFL Redskins, Brisbane Lions
Under 9s and 10s have modified tackling rules. Standing tackle and hold only. No slinging no slamming no spearing no diving no dragging and no tackling if you are on your knees or on the ground. So work on the basic go for the hips tackle at this level. Once they get to Under 11/12 its full on tackling.
May 24, 2006
Car 55
AFL Club
Other Teams
Redbacks, Sturt, Liverpool, Arizona
Set up a square of cones. Two players start on one side of the square with the ball.

Have an opponent in the middle of the square.

The two players have to move the ball to the other side of the square. Can run, use handball, shepherd, dodge etc.

Opponent has to try to stop them, tackle, intercept the ball.

Rotate the player in the middle.

Can progress to larger square and have 3 vs 2. Concept stays the same.
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Brownlow Medallist
Feb 23, 2009
AFL Club
Other Teams
New York Jets
How important is tackling at under 10 level?

If your players are showing up week after week then as a junior coach you're doing most things right - try not to put too much thought into development at such a young age
Important to understand and start doing as a concept, as it's a fundamental aspect of the game. The way and how and why they do it isn't as important (obviously as long as no one is doing something outside the rules at that age). I would say introducing some form of physical contact and awareness that it's a contact sport is important, especially if they want to progress to under 12s and whatnot.

Realistically at under 10s, they'd be lucky to get any sort of coordinated tackle so I don't think there's much risk involved.


Premiership Player
Sep 27, 2016
Croydon station
AFL Club
Other Teams
IMHO if they can only perform modified tackles I wouldn’t even bother teaching/practicing until they’re in an age group that has standard AFL rules.
Then you can start by getting them tackling the tackle bag and other parents, siblings etc so they gain confidence before moving onto each other.
I’d also agree it is a mindset thing. I was the smallest player in my side til top age 18s but most parents would have considered me one of our stronger tacklers (despite having a pretty horrible technique) due to my speed, competitiveness and lack of fear.


All Australian
Feb 1, 2019
AFL Club
Brisbane Lions
Training won't change anything. If you think u10s are going to focus on that rather than trying to get a kick or take a hanger just because they did 10 minutes of some other stuff on Wednesday, then you should hand the job in and look to become an assistant at u15+ level and then hope to land a head job somewhere. If you want a serious change of attitude you need to pull the playing group in by themselves and eye ball the lot of them with a clear message and let them know that its non negotiable. Have someone keep a count on missed tackles etc and do 400s during the week for every one.

This is a method i know for a fact works.


Premiership Player
Oct 12, 2014
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
I’d coached this level for a few years & tackles can be a challenge. Some kids don’t want to get in close & some kids don’t know when too much is too much. If you have a child in the team this helps for demonstration, your own older or younger kids will do (if you have them) focusing on the back and side modified tackle. Ask the team why back/side & not front is the rule, get them understanding what can happen with tackles. Get them to outline the purpose of the tackle and then the benefits. Sounds silly but I’ve had many kids not know these basics. Start getting them in pairs short running & hugging, then up the intensity as they get comfortable with the actions. Mouthguards mandatory. Parents are usually hanging for “real” footy to start, get them involved too practicing the hug/tackle with their kids.
As I said, this might seem silly but I’ve had it work. Some kids are naturals & need to work on their control which is useful as they get older. In my experience nearly all kids look forward to tackling, but forget they now can be tackled. Include getting arms out of tackle, breaking & evasion as well.
I’ve used these techniques with about 120 kids (boys & girls) over the past 4/5 yrs with only a handful of kids not getting results. Master the standing hold in 10s, add the drop in 11s.

Or just add British Bulldog to training!!

Good luck.

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