USA Football Heads Up Football

Heads Up Tackling

Teaching proper form

Emphasizing Safety

Maximizing Fun

Tackling - It's the number #1 most important skill every player must learn when playing tackle football. It's at the core of the game and one of the reasons many kids, and parents, enjoy playing and watching the sport of Football. It's also at the core of the biggest concern surrounding the sport. Concussions.

Learning to tackle effectively and safely are critical. Habits like dropping the head and looking at the ground, standing straight up, and stopping the feet while reaching with the arms are all things young players do when first learning how to tackle. These are all bad habits. Breaking these habits at a young age and replacing them with the proper form and technique will help lead to a fun, safer and more effective tackle each and every time.

Heads Up Tackling

At Structural Sports we are proud to announce that we have adopted the Heads Up Tackling program endorsed by USA Football. USA Football introduced the Heads Up Tackling program as part of their Heads Up Football initiative. Endorsed by the NFL along with numerous governing bodies around the country USA Footballs Heads Up Tackling program focuses on safety first through the instruction of proper fundamentals on each and every repetition.

Tackle Certified Coaches

Structural Sports Football coaches are USA Football Tackle Certified and come equipped with years of real world coaching experience working with young athletes of all ages. Our coaches have worked with athletes at all stages of development and specialize in working with young players who are just starting off. At the Rookie, Cub and Sophomore levels of youth football all players are either learning for the first time or are very new to the proper way to tackle. Our tackling program is built specifically for these athletes.

Tackling Progression Model

Our non-contact off season tackling instruction program consists of the first two contact levels of the Tackling Progression Model. This model has 5 levels: (0) Air, (1) Dummy, (2) Wrap, (3) Thud, (4) Live. Our foundational tackle training is focused on teaching the proper fundamentals and developing the muscle memory necessary to make the actions automatic each and every time. We teach proper form against air and develop muscle memory by drilling against padded dummies.

Why train in the off season?

Athletes who understand the proper way to tackle are less likely to put themselves at risk for injury and more likely to successfully make a tackle.

By going into the season knowing how to tackle an athlete gives himself the ability to focus on the coaches defensive game plan and learning the technical skills needed to play the various positions on defense instead of struggling with learning the proper tackling technique. This doesn't mean they can stop working on proper tackling form but it does mean the reps they get during the season will be performed better and their practice time will be more effective.

In the end it comes down to two things - are you being safe and are you having fun? By knowing how to tackle and learning how to play the various positions on defense you give yourself the chance to maximize your enjoyment while playing the game in the safest way possible.

Risk is always present

Tackle Football is a contact sport and as with any physical activity the risk of injury is always present. No amount of training can fully remove this risk. By learning the proper way to perform the skills necessary to play the game and turning those fundamentals into muscle memory through repetition all athletes can help reduce their risk of injury and help maximize their enjoyment of the game they love.

If you'd like to learn more about the Structural Sports Fundamental Tackle training program which is part of our Defensive Skills training session or just have questions about tackle football in general please feel free to contact us at We'll respond in a timely manner with a personal phone call.

Have Fun. Work Hard. Be Safe.

- Structural Sports Coaching Staff

Training Calendar
USA Football

To learn more about the USA Football Heads Up Tackling inititive please visit the USA Football website and check out the available videos.  These videos provide a great demonstration of the tackling progression program we teach as part of our Defensive Skills training session.  Our training focuses on Level 0 (Air) and Level 1 (Dummies).

Learn More

Concussion Awareness

Nothing is more important than the safety of our children.

A core part of our Defensive Foundational Skills training is focused on safety in the form of proper technqiue.  We teach our athletes the right way to make a tackle and why it's important to NEVER lead with your head.  We do this in an environment where there is no player-to-player contact.  We teach technique by practicing on padded dummies.

Playing on defense can be incredibly fun and very rewarding.  With the right attitude, the proper technique, and respect for the opponent on the other side of the ball, all of our athletes can thrive in this sport safely.

Click to read the Concussion Compliance Form