DIY Football Blocking Sled: Build & Customize Your Own

Ready to take your football training to the next level right in your own backyard? Building a DIY football blocking sled might just be the game-changer you’re looking for. It’s a fantastic way to enhance your strength and technique without breaking the bank.

You don’t need to be a pro to put together a sturdy and effective blocking sled. With a few materials and some elbow grease, you’ll be on your way to practicing like the top athletes. Let’s dive into how you can create your very own football training masterpiece.

Materials needed

Before you dive into the construction of your football blocking sled, you’re going to need to gather some materials. Remember, quality is key for durabilty, but you don’t need to break the bank. Here’s what you’ll need for your project:

  • Heavy-duty steel pipes: These will form the frame of your sled. Ensure they’re thick enough to withstand heavy impacts.
  • Flat steel sheets: Used for the ‘pads’ that players will hit against.
  • High-density foam: This goes under the covering of your pads for shock absorption.
  • Plywood: Acts as the base for your pads.
  • Screws and bolts: To secure all parts of your sled together. Make sure they’re weather-resistant.
  • Durable fabric covering: Ideally a tough, weather-proof material to wrap your foam pads.
  • Welder or welding services: For constructing the steel frame sturdily.
  • Saw: To cut your plywood to the desired shape and size.
  • Drill: For assembling various parts with screws and bolts.
  • Measuring tape: Precision is paramount when cutting and aligning your materials.
  • Paint: Choose a color that epitomizes your team spirit.

Never underestimate the importance of the measuring tape and precision. Even a slight miscalculation can lead to a sled that’s uneven and ineffective.

With everything on this list, you’re now set for the assembly phase. Just gather your materials, your tools, and perhaps a helping hand or two—creating your own football blocking sled is a perfect team-building exercise, after all. And while welding might seem daunting if you’ve never done it, local shops are often willing to lend a hand for small projects like this. Just make sure everything’s squared away and you’re ready to turn these materials into a training tool that’ll stand the test of time.

Step 1: Measure and cut the pipes

As you’re all geared up to create that robust blocking sled, it’s essential to kick off with the steel pipes since they form the core structure of your sled. Picture the framework in your mind—it’s what’ll take on the brunt of those high-intensity drills.

First thing’s first, grab your measuring tape. You’ll want to measure the pipes with precision, as any discrepancies could lead to an uneven sled. Remember, accuracy is key. Here are the lengths you’ll need to measure out:

  • Two pieces at 4 feet for the base sides.
  • One piece at 2 feet for the base rear.
  • Four pieces at 1 foot for the uprights.

After you’ve marked your measurements, it’s time to cut. If you’ve got experience with a saw, perfect—your skills are about to come in handy. If not, no sweat; just ensure you’ve got a steady hand and a good eye for a straight line. When you’re cutting, wear safety goggles and gloves. Let’s keep those fingers safe and sound.

Make the cuts as straight as possible and file down any rough edges. Those sharp edges won’t do you any favors when it’s time to weld and assemble. Double-check your pieces against each other to make sure they line up.

Once you’ve got all your pipes cut to size, lay them out on the ground in the shape of your sled’s base. This will give you a visual confirmation that everything fits together just right. Plus, it’s a nice little preview of the final product that’ll soon be an integral part of your training arsenal.

It’s a good idea to have a friend help you out with holding the pipes steady while measuring and cutting. As football’s a team sport, it never hurts to involve your crew in the build process too. Just like on the field, teamwork in the workshop can make all the difference.

Step 2: Assemble the base

After you’ve got your steel pipes cut to size and the edges smoothed out, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. Assembling the base is where you’ll start to see your blocking sled take shape. And remember, this is where your precision in cutting really pays off.

Lay out the cut pipes on a flat surface to form a rectangle – this will serve as the foundation of your sled. Grab your welding equipment; you’re about to fuse these pieces together to create a sturdy base. Welding requires a steady hand and a keen eye, so if you’re new to the game, it wouldn’t hurt to have an expert lend a hand or at least watch some tutorial videos beforehand.

Make sure the corners are square. For those of you who were paying attention in geometry class, you know that a right angle means 90 degrees. A carpenter’s square will be your best friend here. Secure each joint with a solid weld. You’ll want to check those angles one more time before the metal cools just to be safe.

With the base welded, it’s crucial to treat the metal to prevent rust. Apply a coat of rust-proof paint or a specialized protective coating, especially if your sled will frequently brave the elements during practices.

Flip that foundation over. You’re going to attach the skids, which are the pieces that’ll slide over the grass when the sled is in use. Bolt them securely to the underside of the base frame. These skids should be made of a heavy-duty material that can take a beating, like hardened steel. You can add a strip of UHMW (Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene) to the bottom of the skids to reduce friction and protect the grass.

Finally, add some weight to the base. Use sandbags or weight plates for this. Secure them so they don’t shift during use; nothing’s worse than a wobbly sled during drills. Spread out the weight evenly to mimic resistance your players will face against real opponents.

There’s a real sense of pride in building something with your own hands, especially when it’s going to help your team get stronger and more coordinated. Watching your players push the sled you built across the field? Now that’s a satisfaction that’s hard to top. Keep up the good work – your sled’s nearly ready for action.

Step 3: Attach the push pad

With precision and sturdiness under your belt from constructing the base, you’ll now turn your attention to an equally vital part of the DIY football blocking sled: attaching the push pad. This stage requires detailed attention since the durability and functionality of your sled largely hinge on how well the pad is secured.

Start by selecting a high-density foam that can withstand repeated impact. Your players will be hitting this pad hundreds of times, so it’s got to hold up. Once you’ve got your foam, you’ll need to cover it with a weather-resistant material— vinyl is a great choice here. It’ll protect the foam from the elements and extend the life of your sled.

Here’s how you’ll get it fixed onto the base:

  • Cut the foam to match the size of the metal frame you’ve constructed for the base.
  • Wrap the foam in your chosen material, pulling it taut and securing it with heavy-duty staples or industrial glue.
  • If you’ve got a sewing machine that can handle the material, creating a few seams will add durability.
  • Attach the now-covered foam to the metal frame of the base. Ensure it’s centered and aligned.
  • Drill pilot holes through the material and into the base frame.
  • Use galvanized bolts and nuts to fasten the pad securely to the frame. Make sure to tighten these bolts properly to prevent any wobble.

Remember, the better the craftsmanship here, the safer your sled will be for your athletes. Check for any sharp edges or loose material and smooth them out or tighten as needed.

As you work, picture your team’s defensive line using this very sled to hone their skills. There’s something incredibly rewarding about knowing you’ve built a piece of equipment that’ll help them grow stronger, faster, and more formidable on the field.

Step 4: Add the handles

After securing the push pad, it’s time to focus on the handles. Properly positioned handles are crucial for maintaining form and preventing injury. Remember the stance drills back in your playing days? The same principles apply here—stability and form over everything.

First, you’ll need to pick the right materials. Opt for heavy-duty, galvanized pipe; it’ll resist corrosion and handle the wear and tear of intense practice sessions. You’ll want to ensure the pipe is grippable and comfortable. Could you imagine going full force and getting a slip just as you’ve got your game face on? Neither can your players.

Start by measuring the correct width for the handles based on your sled’s dimensions. Think linebacker’s grip width—that’s your gold standard. Measure twice, so you don’t have to run back to the hardware store mid-build. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Galvanized Pipe (2-inch diameter)
  • Two Flanges per Handle
  • Four Bolts with Nuts and Washers per Flange

Center the flanges against the metal frame where you’ll fix the handles. Mark the spots for the drill points. Drill pilot holes to avoid any metal-frame tantrums. Then, bolt down the flanges securely; this isn’t the place to skimp on tightening.

Next, screw in the pipes. If you can, give them a test drive. Place all your might against those handles and push. No give? No wobble? That’s solid work right there.

Alignment is key here. Make sure that the handles are parallel to each other and the ground. Unaligned handles can lead to poor form and, even worse, training injuries. Your athletes are relying on your attention to detail, so take your time to get it right.

That’s another skill to tick off your list, coach. You’re crafting not just a piece of equipment but a piece of the team’s success story. With the handles attached and checked for stability, you’re that much closer to giving your players a competitive edge. Next up, you’ll be focusing on adding weight to the sled for realism in practice scenarios. Keep up the great work; your team is counting on you.

Step 5: Secure the frame

After you’ve got the handles firmly attached, it’s time to focus on the stability of the entire sled. Remember, your sled is going to take a beating, so strength and durability are key here. The frame must be solid enough to withstand repeated impacts from your players. Now, let’s talk about securing your frame so it lasts season after season.

Start by placing the frame on a level surface. You don’t want any wobbling when your players hit the sled. Check all corners to ensure they’re perfectly square. This makes sure that the force from the impacts distributes evenly across the structure. Uneven distribution can lead to premature wear and tear, and that’s not what you’re aiming for.

Next, you’ll want to reinforce the joints. Bolting your joints can significantly enhance the sled’s rigidity. If you’re dealing with a steel frame, welding may also be an option. However, for the DIY enthusiasts who may not have access to welding equipment, heavy-duty bolts and locknuts will do the trick. Aim for grade 8 bolts for their strength and resistance to shear forces. Here’s a quick rundown on the types of bolts you might consider:

  • Hex bolts for general use
  • Carriage bolts for a smooth finish
  • Anchor bolts for extra anchoring strength in the ground plate
Bolt Type Uses Notes
Hex Bolts General use Versatile and reliable
Carriage Bolts Smooth finish Clean look for exposed areas
Anchor Bolts Ground plate Ensures sled remains stationary

Make sure you tighten all bolts uniformly. Uneven tension can cause misalignment, which over time might warp your frame. If you’ve got a torque wrench, use it. It’s a great tool for ensuring that all bolts are tightened to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Once all bolts are snugly in place, give the frame a good shake. You’re looking for any movement that would suggest something isn’t as tight as it should be. A stable frame means a safer sled, and your player’s safety is your top priority. Now, dust off your hands – the skeleton of your sled is ready to go.

Step 6: Paint and customize

Now that your sled’s skeleton is rock-solid, it’s time to give it a personal touch. Before you start, ensure that all metal surfaces are clean and free of grease or rust. Sanding any rough areas can provide a smoother finish and better paint adherence.

Your choice of paint is crucial. Opt for a spray paint that’s specifically designed for metal and outdoor durability. It’ll help protect against the wear and tear of daily practice. For a professional look, you might want to use primer first. This step will help the top coat of paint adhere better and last longer. When applying the paint, use even strokes and multiple thin layers to avoid drips.

As you wait for the paint to dry between coats, consider the design. Maybe you want to paint your team’s logo on it or include motivational quotes to pump up your players. Stencils can be a great help here. They’ll give you crisp lines and precise designs. Remember, a good-looking sled can be a source of pride for the team and deepen their sense of identity.

When it comes to customization, the sky’s the limit. Besides aesthetic choices, think about functionality. Maybe attaching a storage box for weights or other training equipment could add value. Or perhaps you could add adjustable pads or handles to accommodate different athletes’ sizes. Customization isn’t just about looks; it’s about making the sled fit your team’s unique needs.

Once you’ve got the design down, let’s talk longevity. Apply a clear sealant over the paint job to guard against scratches and chipping. After all, you want your sled to withstand the rigors of the field and look sharp practice after practice. Once the sealant is on and you’ve given it ample time to dry, your sled is not just a training tool—it’s a testament to your team’s spirit and dedication.


You’ve now got all the tips and tricks to give your DIY football blocking sled a professional finish that’ll stand up to the rigors of practice. Remember, taking your time with the painting process will pay off with a look that’s as tough and polished as your team’s performance. Don’t forget that final touch of sealant—it’s like the helmet that keeps everything in place. So go ahead, make it uniquely yours and watch your team push their limits with a piece of equipment that’s as ready for the game as they are. Happy building and here’s to training sessions that score big on effectiveness and team spirit!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best type of paint to use on a DIY football blocking sled?

For a DIY football blocking sled, it’s best to use spray paint that is specifically designed for metal and suitable for outdoor use to ensure durability and weather resistance.

Do I need to use a primer before painting my blocking sled?

Yes, using a primer before painting your blocking sled is recommended for a professional look. It helps the paint adhere better and provides a more uniform finish.

How can I avoid drips when painting the sled?

To avoid drips, apply multiple thin layers of paint rather than one thick layer. Allow each layer to dry completely before applying the next.

Can I customize the sled with a specific design?

Absolutely! Use stencils to create crisp and precise designs tailored to your team’s branding or personal preferences.

What should I do to protect the paint on my blocking sled?

After the paint has dried, apply a clear sealant over the surface. This will protect the paint job from wear and tear and enhance the sled’s longevity.

Scroll to Top