Tackling technique, injury risk, and playing performance in high-performance collision sport athletes
Gabbett, T. J & Ryan, P. (2009). Tackling technique, injury risk, and playing performance in high-performance collision sport athletes. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching,4(4), 521-533. United Kingdom: Multi-Science Publishing Co Ltd. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1260/174795409790291402
This study investigated the tackling technique of high-performance, collision-sport athletes and documented the relationships between tackling technique and playing experience, playing level, game-specific tackling performance, and injury in these athletes. Twenty-two national rugby league (NRL) and 17 state-based rugby league (SRL) players underwent a standardized one-on-one tackling drill in a 10 m grid. Video footage was taken from the rear, side, and front of the defending player. Tackling technique was assessed using standardized technical criteria. A large difference (ES = 1.53, p < 0.05) was detected between playing groups for tackling technique, with NRL players having better tackling technique than SRL players. Players who had at least 150 NRL matches experience had a significantly greater (ES = 1.1–1.6, p < 0.05) tackling technique than players who had played up to 49 NRL matches, 50–99 NRL matches, or 100–149 NRL matches. Significant relationships (p < 0.05) were detected between tackling technique and the proportion of tackles missed each game (r = −0.74) and the proportion of dominant tackles effected each game (r = 0.78). There was no relationship between tackling technique and the incidence of tackling injuries. The results of this study demonstrate that playing level and playing experience influence tackling technique in high-performance, collision sport athletes, with greater playing experience and playing level associated with greater tackling technique. Furthermore, significant relationships were detected between tackling technique and the proportion of tackles missed each game (negative) and the proportion of dominant tackles effected each game (positive). Identifying the factors that limit tackling proficiency may assist playing performance, but may have minimal effect on injury prevention in high-performance, collision-sport athletes.