Systematic approaches for tackling and contact featured at National Conference

By USA Football | Posted 12/10/2018

Systems aren't uncommon in coaching circles these days. Often, football coaches think of systems as a type or offense or defense that fits together.

However, that narrative shifted last year when USA Football introduced the Contact System, which focused on technique over scheme.

The Contact System is a complete progression for blocking and defeating blocks, focused on comprehensive skill development through advanced techniques, unified language and core fundamentals.

Scott Peters, contact expert and instructor for the Contact System, designed the CUFF progression, which stands for:

  • Coil
  • Uncoil
  • Fit
  • Finish

The Contact System works by focusing on using the hips to generate power and using the hands to deflect the opponent’s force, keeping the head away from the point of contact.

This focus on technique and skill development doesn’t mean scheme isn’t important – it most definitely is – but we want to re-emphasize skill development. That’s why USA Football created two tackling systems.


In 2015, the Seattle Seahawks worked with USA Football to develop the Shoulder Tackling System, which was re-launched on this year.

This system is the ideal first step for coaches who want to focus on core fundamentals and specific tackle types that are common.

However, USA Football realized there was more that could be built upon this free system by changing the perspective of the tackle.

The Advanced Tackling System, developed in conjunction with multi-sport tackling expert Richie Gray, breaks down any type of tackle into five specific categories, which can then be developed and evaluated individually with detail. This builds upon the free Shoulder Tackling System, which will still be available after the Advanced Tackling System is launched.

The categories the Advanced Tackling System uses Gray’s “5 Fights” progression, which includes:

  • Track
  • Prepare
  • Connect
  • Accelerate
  • Finish

It’s worth noting that these aren’t physical fights. The term “fight” in this system represents the mental exercise or struggle – an internal fight with one’s self – of doing all the little things correctly. It helps us convey the mental strength required to focus on every detail of the tackle and always finish the job.

Within the system, these fights and key performance indicators (KPIs) are used to help evaluate each tackle and better plan and program practice periods.

You can sign up to hear about when the Advanced Tackling System will be officially released here.


Creating systematic approaches for tackling, blocking and defeating blocks gives coaching staffs methods and tools for teaching, installing and troubleshooting these principles of contact. Even learning part of these systems could prove valuable for any program that wants to increase focus on technique next season.

For that reason, the 2019 USA Football National Conference will have three subject matter experts to talk about USA Football’s premium systems:

  • Scott Peters - Contact System
  • Richie Gray - Advanced Tackling System
  • Andy Ryland - Advanced Tackling System

From classroom to on-the-field instruction, this year’s National Conference will give every coach the opportunity to develop cutting-edge techniques that use these advanced frameworks.


Address some of your biggest programmatic challenges and celebrate your biggest wins at the 2019 USA Football National Conference!

This one-of-a-kind event is more than just a coaches' clinic. In addition to schemes, drills and techniques, you'll amp up your team's performance by discovering topics on leadership, health and safety, and participation.