No Tackling in Football? The Football Coach Who is Changing the Culture of the Game and Winning!

Dartmouth Head Coach Buddy Teevens

Written by former CEO & President, Kate Carr.

Meet Buddy Teevens, the Dartmouth football coach, who made the news this week for his policy of outlawing tackling in practice. That's right, for the last six years, no Dartmouth football player has tackled another Dartmouth football player in practice. Ever.

When Coach Teevens implemented this philosophy back in 2010, it was considered unconventional, unrealistic and overprotective. Many experts and insiders predicted it would make players soft; that it would ruin the game; and that it was one step away from using flags. After all, in a sport where the strong survive, how could a team compete without practicing physical play?

Then something interesting happened. Over the years, injuries and concussions at Dartmouth went down and wins and championships went up. Now, according to an article in The New York Times, the rest of the Ivy League appears to be following suit by unanimously agreeing to eliminate full-contact hitting from practices during the regular season.

Last year, I had the opportunity to travel to Hanover, N.H. to meet Coach Teevens and learn firsthand how his program is changing the culture in sports. I would ask anyone who has an interest in keeping young athletes active and injury-free to watch the following video in which Coach Teevens speaks passionately about a coach's obligation to his players, why no contact in practice makes sense and how to make sure all young athletes get the chance to reach their full potential.