We have all seen how dense the modern rugby is with missed tackles. Yet, we still don’t have a training apparatus that helps the players improve their tackling skills. All exercises and methods developed so far provide either realism or safety. This means that if the coaches want to reduce the risk all exercises they pick will bear a big dose of artificialness while the realistic ones usually involve at least two people. And when they combine the tackling attempts with the side steps and hand offs for many times, the risk of injury becomes significant.
But why after so many years of sports innovations the most we have developed so far are the tackle bags? The truth is that tackling machines have occupied the minds of inventors for more than 80 years and there are more than ten patents in that area. The bad news is that while they are innovative and industrially applicable they all suffer some vice that prevents them from market success.
The pictures below show some of the patents in that area. All of them have in common one of the two things: they either project a straight trajectory for the dummy or have propping pillars to balance the weight of the dummy at its final point. What this means is that we have to choose again between the safety and realism. At least until now.
Our Tackling machine goes further than any attempt before and combines S-shaped trajectory of the dummy that imitates the side steps with realistic speed and safety for the defenders.
How we achieve that?
We set the fork-shaped tubular element which determines the trajectory of the dummy outside of the support frame structure and balance the weight at the end of the branches using turnbuckles instead of pillars. This way we create a safe working zone for the practicing players. They can tackle the dummy with full speed and strength without the concern of crashing into a pillar or another person. The dummy itself is super light, made of foam and can’t cause any harm either.
To make a super light dummy proved to be a good Idea because of these reasons:
1 The aim of the exercise is to intercept the opponent not to smash him or her although it is possible too.
2 By reducing the weight of the dummy we made possible to raise its speed up to 35 or even 40 kilometers per hour which brings extreme realism compared to the maneuvers of the fastest rugby players in the world.
3 Having a light dummy means we need a lighter platform too. It is not fixed to a particular place on the field or in the gym. Instead it can be moved by small number of players anywhere which means it will not harm the grass and does not require artificial turf.
4 It is easy to assemble and disassemble? It can also be installed on a scrum machine or it can even be upgraded with the elements that allow it to serve as a scrum machine in addition to its main utility.
5 The shuttle inside the fork shaped tubular element can easily return to starting position and be reloaded with another dummy if the previous tackling attempt has been successful. It means fast charging and many iterations of the exercise in short periods of time.
6 The tackling machine is safe to be used by children and teenagers.
7 It can be purchased by individual users and placed in their backyards.
All these factors make allow our Tackling machine to bring the tackling practices to unseen before combination of safety and realism.
Yes, there is the Dartmouth’s MVP but we regard our product not as a competition to the EMVP but as something that provides a different utility. Therefore, it can be matched with the MVP for the full range of exercises. Besides, there are many differences which in some aspects are in our favor and they can easily be noticed by reading the 7 points above.
Nevertheless, our price will be significantly lower.