November 22, 2021

Tackling. Elevated

Atavus exists to develop the confidence of athletes so that they become better tacklers and safer tacklers. Our goal is to empower coaches with a streamlined approach to teaching and evaluating tackling performance and safety. 

We love the game of football because of all it teaches us about life. We love the football platform because it provides an opportunity for people from all walks of life to work together towards a common goal. Everyone in our organization is very connected to the game. Either as a former player, coach, or administrator and have experienced first-hand what this platform can do to influence your life positively. 

We are also very aware of the importance of the role of a coach. Coaches are role models, mentors, teachers, psychologists, and on top of all that, they have the task of developing players daily on the field. Our role in the football ecosystem has been to make the coach's life easier by creating a system, language, and communication process around tackling. 

The concept of "shoulder-led tackling" was popularized in July 2014 when Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll published the Seahawks Tackling video. For many, it opened their eyes to a tackling method that not only took the head out of the tackle -- thereby increasing safety -- but helped defenses tackle more effectively, which dramatically improved defensive efficiency. The Seattle Seahawks "Legion of Boom" represented the concept well by dominating offenses for most of a decade, amassing six consecutive winning seasons, three division titles, two NFC championships, and a Super Bowl victory. 

That "shoulder-led tackling" style was not altogether new but instead had been in use in the game of rugby for many years. In July of 2015, Atavus Football launched because of the overwhelmingly positive response of coaches, players, and parents. Since then, we have worked with numerous football programs at every level to implement a shoulder-led tackling system, including; Ohio State University, Baylor University, Michigan State University, University of Washington, University of Oklahoma, Carolina Panthers, and more. 

In 2018, Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL) and the Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA) announced that Atavus would provide mandatory tackling certification to 23,000 Texas high school football coaches. This meteoric rise, just three years after launching, came as a surprise to many. Still, we felt that the timing was ideal for a solution with all the attention on the declining participation numbers and the prevalence of concussions. 

The primary measure of performance in tackling has always been, did they make it or miss it. We added a layer of analysis that went deeper and looked at every component of pre-contact or pursuit, along with what happened after the tackler made contact. When you break each piece down, the player and coach can have a deeper conversation about the process and not just the result. The elements of shoulder contact percentage, head position, footwork, and the resulting yards after contact all tell an essential part of the story. A tackling system allows us to focus on the overall behavior of the athlete and not just the result of the play and offer detailed feedback for improvement. 

The way we measure success breaks down into three components:

  • Improved Tackling Performance - See better results by using a measurable and proven technique.
  • Increased Player Safety: Remove the head from tackling and keep players on the field.
  • Gain a Competitive Edge: Translate data into usable coaching points.

These three aspects empower coaches with modern tackling techniques to make tackles more effective and keep players safer while generating actionable intelligence specific to individual programs, position groups, and players. 

Atavus is much more than a technique or drill company. We are a technology company that uses data to create insights that help football coaches make informed decisions about improving their team's tackling performance. 

We review game films, grade every tackle, and provide feedback in report form containing coaching points on improving technique, including player recommendations and specific drills based on our analysis.  Data by itself is like unrefined, crude oil. You have to take that data and refine it to make it worthwhile. For us, that is all in the way we translate the information. Without that translation, the data is not valuable.

We look at things from the perspective of a coach. What are they doing on a day-to-day basis? Watching game film and practice planning. When receiving data from us, what does it mean, and why should the coach care? We are constantly asking ourselves; how does this help the coach right now? Suppose we can give a coach more direction in terms of the best way we feel this data can help you make better decisions, communicate easier with a player, and understand it. In that case, all that remains is for them to go out and execute; that's what we do for coaches.

Based on our expertise in tackling, we translate what we see into detailed instructions that coaches and players can use to get better right now, today. 

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