How To Make A Tackle Dummy?

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The reasons for wanting your tackling dummy are self-explanatory. You want to train tackling regularly without increasing the risk of injury and be able to do so at your own convenience.

And now, with social distancing measures heavily limiting player-to-player interaction, tackling dummies is more crucial than ever for the maintenance and development of football players across the US.

While a range of commercial options is available, all but the flimsiest of iterations cost upwards of $60 and often range into the hundreds. There is an alternative, however. You can learn to make a tackling dummy with the following materials with nothing but some forethought, a few dollars, and a free afternoon.

Materials Needed To Build Your Own Tackle Dummy

An Old Rug Or A Carpet

Ask relatives. Ask friends. Go on Facebook. Search on any number of websites where people post the disused belongings they are desperate to get rid of. If you are willing to collect it, you will find an old rug or carpet very quickly. You probably already have one of your own. Three would be ideal.

Garbage Bags

The common kind you find at the grocery store. Get the thickest roll available.

Duct Tape

Two rolls should be enough but the more the better. Gorilla tape is high quality and costs less than $10 dollars per roll on There are plenty of cheaper options also.

Gorilla Black Duct Tape, 1.88" x 35 yd, Black, (Pack of 1)
  • Heavy duty and double thick, Gorilla Tape offers...
  • Great for indoor or outdoor use and made to stick...
  • Double-Thick adhesive; grips smooth, Rough and...
  • Tough, reinforced backing; the tight weave...
  • Rugged, weather-resistant shell; withstands...

Two-By-Four Or Similar

You can purchase one of these online or at a timber merchant, but the odds are you will stumble across one before your delivery arrives. For its purpose you need a strip of wood that is relatively thick, as straight as possible, and stands about as tall as you do.

2 in. x 4 in. (1 1/2' x 3 1/2') Construction Premium Whitewood...

A Spare Tire

Just as with old rugs, spare tyres are commonplace, cheap or free, and people are desperate to get rid of them once they have outlived their use. Get two. At least one of them needs to be the tyre only, not the wheel. Ideally both should be without the wheel.

Tools Needed For Making A Tackling Dummy

A Box-Cutter

For altering the carpet. Alternatively, hand-shears used for gardening tasks would serve equally as well.

Box Cutter Retractable Utility Knife - Heavy Duty Box Cutter...

A Handsaw

For altering the two-by-four. Borrow if you can. If not, cheaper handsaws cost less than $10.

Assemblement - Step By Step

  • Lay the rugs on the ground on top of one another. Fold or cut as required to make sure they cover the same area, keeping in mind to retain as much material as possible. 
  • Lay plank of wood widthways at one end of the rugs.
  • Fold the lip of the rugs over the wood. Maintaining firm pressure between rugs and wood, roll them together until the rugs completely envelop the wood.
  • Secure the remaining lip to the main body of the wrapped rugs with tape. When the lip is secured wrap the entire rolled rug around with as many layers of tape as is needed to give it a sturdy feel.
  • Make sure there is no wood protruding from either end of the rug. Adjust where needed to bring the ends of the wood and rugs together to an even surface. If there is still some wood protruding, either saw it off or cover it with soft material such as a bundle of old clothing and tape over the top of it to secure it.
  • Place the two tyres on top of each other flatways. Stand the rolled rug up, lift, and check it fits inside the holes between the two tyres. If it is too big you can make incisions in the rims of the tyres to increase their pliability. 
  • Pull garbage bags over both ends of the rolled rug and secure with 
  • tape. You can fold and tear bags as required to cover the middle section of the roll, again, securing with tape as snuggly as possible. 
  • Stand the roll up again and place it inside the tyres. For added support tape tyres together.

4th & 10

As long as you have the patience, determination, and the little bit of money it will cost to gather the materials needed, you will have a stand-alone tackling dummy in your back-yard in no time at all and for a third of the price of a commercial item. Good luck. Happy tackling!

Brad Smith
Brad Smith
Brad Smith has been coaching high school Football for 6 years in Florida. He and his wife have 3 beautiful children who he hopes will become the first Jaguars to win a Superbowl. Other than Football, Brad loves American litterature, parenting, gardening, and home remodeling.