SWAT Football Blog

This part of football is life & death.

Tackling is a life and death issue. the decision to go for it on 4th down or going for two or opening the game with an onside kick is not a matter of life and death. There are no life and death play-calling decisions in football. Tackling is a different story. Tackling is a matter of life and death. That’s why I banned shoulder tackling in April, 1985.

I love football as much as anyone, probably more because I’ve never been paid to coach it. Working for free is the highest expression of love toward any profession. But I don’t love football enough to compromise our tackling curriculum. I don’t compromise on tackling teaching time and tackling reps. Ordinary reps are never enough. A progression of structured learning outcomes is essential to guarantee that our players are fit for duty and to prevent liability.

I don’t have the luxury of signing free agents or five-star blue-chip recruits. My job is to coach players from scratch or near scratch. I coach minus-zero players, the least talented who start below zero on a scale of 1-10. Xs and Os are important but not as important as tackling. If you want to be a great defensive coordinator, develop your tacklers better than the opponent and you will win. Guaranteed. Build the best tacklers and your defensive scheme will become genius. and more importantly, you will protect your players.

No one is born with tackling skills. Contrary to myths, no one is a natural tackler. Tackling is a skill that is developed thorough quantity and quality of reps. There is no other way of developing tackling mastery and proficiency other than quality and quantity of reps.
Our number-one program priority always has been and always will be tackling. I don’t coach elite athletes. I have to build them from scratch. Tackling is the top priority for player-safety. Coaching football is not created equal. You either recruit developed players or you have to develop them.

My toughest job is coaching is teaching players not to get killed. That’s why I banned shoulder tackling in 1985. Here is a link to a SWAT tackling video.


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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