SWAT Football Blog

Tackling the problem

My number one challenge in coaching football for 40 years has been teaching players to not get killed. Keeping players alive and in one piece has always been and always will be my top priority and main focus. Football is a life and death sport. Whether you go for it or kick on fourth down is not life and death but how you tackle is a matter of life and death. For that reason I banned shoulder tackling after my rookie head coach season of a dead program, a lifeless program, a chronic loser that was the target of ridicule for years.

I taught shoulder tackling in 1984 as a 26 year old new first-time head coach, repeating exactly what I had been taught since little-league, throughout high school, and eight years as an assistant. The 1984 season was hell – winless. Losing every game is hell. A nightmare. You have two choices when you lose – grieve like a child or study it.

Nothing just happens. A series of events during the off-season between 1984 and 1985 convinced to ban shoulder tackling and teach a new tackling style. It became a work in progress during the 1980’s until I designed a SWAT Tackling curriculum that fit my reality – football poverty, a reality of limitations that has to be experienced to be believed.

The entire SWAT Tackling curriculum has been published in video and e-book. Both will be released in the near future. It’s football season, the best time of the year. Blessings to all football players and coaches. Someone has to win, someone has to lose but no one has to lose their life playing a sport. Work hard, stay safe


Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., Level 3 NCCP (Nat’l Coaching Certification Program)
Head coach – Niagara X-Men Football
Owner – X Fitness Inc.
Blogs – and

Host of Blunt Talk Podcast

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