What is Clipping in American Football?

Like any other sport, American Football has its own rules and penalizations as results when the rules are not followed.

Among these rules, you will find the total prohibition of grabbing other players by their arms, legs, clothes, or masks. And of course, not following this rule ends up in a penalization.

Clipping is one of these penalizations that happen when a player does not follow the rule. Want to know what exactly clipping means? Then come further and read up!

Clipping in American Football 

It is known that playing against the rules is not only seen as wrong & sometimes even unprofessional; it is also dangerous. Clipping is one of those things that can harm a player.

Even though doing a clipping is heavily avoided when playing, it does happen and can change the whole outcome of a game. A player who inflicts a clipping may eventually lose the match for his team, and no one wants that.

Clipping happens when a defender tackles a player of the other team below the waist. Especially when this is done from behind, a clipping can be seriously dangerous.

As a rule, in American football, you can only tackle people by touching or charging towards their upper body. If you don’t follow this rule, you are committing a clipping which means your team can lose 15 yards in a play.

It is important to point that when a player already has the ball,clipping is less likely to happen unless the action is too obvious. Of course, clipping mostly occurs when a defender charges from behind or towards the lower body of a person who does not have the ball.

This action also has another penalization: it automatically becomes the first down for the defending team. And as you know, each team has only four downs available (when the team is stopped after a tackle).

Even though a clipping is dangerous and sometimes means the loss of precious yards, it happens very often. If you want to become a great player in this sport, knowing about clipping is essential so you can avoid it as much as you can.

The Clipping: Where Does It Come From? 

The clipping was initially introduced to College football in 1916. At that time, many players started having significant injuries which made the federation think about a solution for it.

The solution was simple: prohibit tackles below the waist, especially below the knees to avoid more injuries and make the game fairer. In the NFL, the clipping was officially introduced in 1970 and recorded as an essential rule for the sport.

Today, anyone who tackles a non-runner player in the game can inflict a clipping. And of course, this means the loss of yards and the first down even without having the ball.

How to Avoid Clipping in a Match

It is not one of the easiest things to do. The pressure of seeing the other team blocking the path of the runner, of watching the runner swiftly reaching the end zone of your team, can give you the idea of doing the clipping. But of course, this can bring severe consequences to the game.

To avoid it, you’ll only have to follow three simple rules:

  • Avoid, as much as you can, to touch the legs of the opposite players.
  • Always use your upper body instead of your hands, arms or legs for a tackle.
  • Focus on tackling the runner with the ball – no one else.

Following these rules will surely give you more of an edge to avoid clipping your opponents. So, what are you waiting for?

Avoid Clipping and Become a Pro Player!

Clipping is one of the few things you should always avoid when playing American football. Especially when you try to become a professional, this rule is exceptionally crucial to follow. Or else, you may eventually lose a match for your team, and you don’t want that.

So, start avoiding doing this, and you’ll have a great game full of enjoyable experiences. Learning about clipping will surely make your learning curve a lot easier. Don’t hesitate and start playing – remember what clipping can mean to your team, and you won’t have any problem!

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