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Creative ways to supplement Practice Equipment

Purchasing proper equipment takes up a large portion of every youth football organization’s budget. For some communities, that leaves little left over for items such as blocking shields, step-over bags, tackling dummies and blocking sleds that coaches can utilize during practice.
Here are five examples of such creativity.
We hope these give you some ideas to get imaginative at practice.
Shopping carts. If you have a parent who is handy with tools or an engineer by trade, you can try your hand at the homemade blocking sled. The photo above is an actual piece of equipment used in Louisiana Youth Football, an organization in Baton Rouge. Coaches put items inside the cart to add weight for older players. More than 200 athletes use this cart every week during practices. Make sure to smooth everything down and put safety first when setting it up.

Pool noodles. Stepover bags and tackling dummies are an extra expense some leagues need to go without. That’s where those long soft foam tubes available at the dollar store come in. Tape a few of them together to create the gear you need. Perfect for the Rip Drill.

Towels. Footwork drills are a regular staple at every football practice. If you don’t have access to cones or pylons, bring some old towels or dish rags from home to lay out the drill. An added upside is players are less likely to twist an ankle if they step on them, so they are less likely to look down during the drill. Towels also are great props when teaching young athletes how to turn tight corners.

Trash cans. It’s an oldie but a goody. An upside-down trash can is a simple tool to hold the spot for anyone on the field, and the tall, round ones turned upside down provides clear targets for young athletes to see. Watch the Miami Dolphins during OTAs and notice all the trash cans on the field. Even the pros put this idea to use.

Fire hose. A fire hose is long, flat and built to lay flat when not filled with water – perfect for step-overs and ladder drills. These aren’t as cheap as some of the other ideas on this list, but you might be able to pick up one from a Sheriff’s auction or solicit a donation from a local business.

Additional Football Resources:

Proper methods to clean equipment and gear >>

Solving Center Snaps in Football >>

Play Calling:  Simplifying the plays with word-association >>

Player's Mistakes:  How to NOT overreact >>  

Skills & Drills Football Videos:

Defensive Line Play: Towel Drill
Linebacker Drills
Ladder Drills: Footwork & Agility
Tackling: Rip vs Wrap Technique

Additional Videos:

Heads Up Drills and Performance >>
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