As unbelievable as it sounds, there’s talk about virtual reality and robotics being deployed on the field to help hone soccer players’ skillsets.
But that’s a distant pipe dream. For now, it’s basics like the best football tackling dummy that still rules the roost.
These versatile coaching tools form the bedrock of essential tackle skills.
Right from the angle of pursuit to the right posture while bending low, to wrapping the arms around the opponent, everything can be perfected with tackle dummies.
That’s not all. These can also be used for basketball, kickboxing, and many other contact sports.
If you are a coach or a parent, then investing in one of these simple coaching tools may make all the difference when it’s time to dazzle the suitors. (Read college)
But shopping for the best football tackling dummy can be excruciating. There are tons of brands vying for your attention and not all of them cut the mustard.
How then do you buy the right one for your team/child without burning your fingers?
That’s where we step in. We have lined up the best football dummies in 2019 for you. And to make your shopping process easier, we have also followed it up with a small buying guide.
So strap in and enjoy the read.
#1 – Goalrilla Durable Tackling Dummy
This is a medium-sized, lightweight tackling dummy from Goalrilla that works exceptionally well for football as well as other combat sports.
It comes stuffed with high-density foam and has a weatherproof, PVC outer cover that’s designed for aggressive, everyday use.
It stands 52 ½” tall, making it just the right size for children and teens.
There are three reinforced handle straps on the top that allow the coach or a parent to hold it securely during practice. These also make it easy for a child to move it from one place to the other. It weighs just under 10 lbs.
It does not have a heavy base mind you. So once knocked down, it will not pop up on its own.
You can however, remove the cover and add a sandbag or two on the base to give it more stability (if that’s what you seek).
Otherwise, the dummy works perfectly for the intended use.
#2 – GoSports Blocking Pad
The GoSports Blocking Pad is designed for high impact training in a variety of contact sports.
It provides the athlete with a 24” Long x 16” Wide x 5” Tall surface to comfortably simulate contact drills.
The core is 5” of high density foam that absorbs impact, minimizing the risk of injury to both, the athlete as well as the training partner.
Unlike most blocking pads which come with just 2 handles, GoSports throws in 5 reinforced handles that provide a firm grip. This also makes it possible to add some variation in the way the pad is used for different types of drills.
It is easy and comfortable to grip and does not slip, even on a hot, balmy day.
The pad is covered with a rugged, composite leather cover that easily withstands the abuse that comes with daily use. Also, it can easily be dried after use and does not retain odor.
Despite the minimalistic appearance, this is a fine blocking pad for the price.
#3 – Fisher Football Tackle Wheel
Fisher’s Tackle Wheel is designed for little footballers looking to master the finer aspects of tackling.
Wrapping and rolling, changing their angle of pursuit and open field tackles become easy with this durable tackle wheel.
Coaches around the country are switching to tackle wheels as tackling with shoulders rather than using the head as a weapon, makes the drills a lot safer than the norm.
Also, this makes tackling drills possible without the assistance of another player.
The wheel is made of tough 9 lb. rebond foam with thick vinyl coating on the outside and the inside, that’s tailored to withstand the most aggressive pursue tackles.
It stands 2.5’ tall and has an outside diameter of 28”. It is 8” thick and weighs 21 lbs. This makes it just the right size for 4th to 7th graders.
#4 – GoSports XL Tackle Dummy
This is a large tackle dummy from GoSports that stands 4’ tall and is 1’ wide, making it perfect for peewee players as well as for young adults.
The round shape makes it better suited for realistic tackling drills as well as blocking, as compared to rectangular blocking pads. For example, it works very well for learning posture as well as perfecting the positioning for a tackle.
Also, the cylindrical base allows the dummy to stand up on its own without needing the support of a coach or a fellow player.
But if the coach does wish to support it, the two reinforced handles make it easy to grip even when there’s a constant impact.
Talking about impact, the dummy comes pre-filled with ultra-dense foam in a double-reinforced waterproof composite leather shell that easily absorbs energy upon contact.
It can easily sustain the most vigorous drills without giving away.
Weighs less than 11 lbs. for easy portability around the field.
#5 – Goalrilla Football Blocking Dummy
This blocking dummy from Goalrilla is slightly larger than the one from GoSports, our #2 pick.
So if you are looking for a larger surface for your tackles or drills or MMA practice, then this one fits the bill perfectly.
It weighs less than a pound, making it extremely easy to hold up and carry. However, there are just two reinforced handles as opposed to the five on the GoSports one.
Not that it makes much of a difference in the firmness of the grip. But if you like more handles to variate your grip and the pad position, then you can opt for that one.
The Goalrilla blocking dummy is filled with 50.6 lbs/Cubic Meter High Density Foam, which makes for a thick and firm surface. It’s not soft or squishy and hence, absorbs impacts easily while returning to its original form.
The outer shell is 500 grams/Cubic Meter PVC that’s weather and tear resistant.
At this price point, the Goalrilla Football Blocking Dummy is an absolute steal.
You can’t go wrong with it.
#6 – SafeTackle Pro Football Tackle Ring
SafeTackle’s pro football tackle ring has a hexagonal shaped center hole as opposed to a round one.
SafeTackle claims that its designed that way to mimic the natural contours of an oncoming player.
To be honest that does sound a little gimmicky. But that’s not to take anything away from this tackle ring.
It’s an exceptionally well built ring that’s available in standard, XL and XL II sizes allowing you to pick the right one for your team.
The Pro XL II stands 53” tall and weighs 29 lbs. and is best suited for adult athletes.
In the middle of the range is the Pro XL that stands 48” tall and weighs 19 lbs., whereas the standard one is 40” tall and weighs just 13.5 lbs.
It’s a little lighter as compared to other tackle rings in this list. But the lighter weight makes it easier to tackle, especially for peewee athletes.
All models feature a high-density foam fill with a zippered PVC outer cover that’s replaceable. The design is durable, thick and perfect for high-intensity drills.
Comes with a 3-year warranty. So any damage to the ring and you get a replacement.
#7 – Athletic Specialties Stand Up Blocking Dummy
This is a budget-priced round, standup blocking dummy from Athletic Specialties.
It stands 42” tall and weighs 16 lbs. and is well suited for 7-12-year olds.
It has a thick, foam-filled center with an all-weather, vinyl outer cover in black. The impact absorption is excellent and it regains its shape even after vigorous training drills.
Three reinforced handles allow the blocking partner to comfortably grip the dummy during contact training.
And it stands up on its own for storage.
Does not pop up on its own though. That’s not a deal breaker for most coaches though.
If you are apprehensive about investing in big brands because your kids will outgrow the blocking dummy soon, then this one from Athletic Specialties provides great value.
#8 – Everlast Strike Shield Black
The Everlast Strike shield is a large blocking pad that’s aimed at martial arts practice. But the lightweight construction and the roomy blocking surface works equally well for football, basketball and other contact drills.
It has a 25” x 15” surface that’s 5” thick and has a synthetic leather outer shell that can take a kicking and keep on ticking. The seams are double stitched and should hold up easily to vigorous practice.
The high density foam fill absorbs energy upon impact and softens the blows, so that the training partner doesn’t feel it.
There are five reinforced straps. Two on the rear, two on the sides and one on top which allow the coach or the parent to grip it firmly and tilt it easily in any direction.
Oh, almost forgot to mention that it weighs just 2 lbs. So, even an 8-year old kid can easily double up as a training partner and hold this up.
Everlast is one of the most reputed brands in the business and you can be rest assured about the quality of this blocking pad.
Go for it!
#9 – Sports Unlimited Football Tackling Ring
Sports Unlimited offers these football tackling rings in three sizes for athletes of all ages.
The smallest one for peewee athletes is 36” in diameter while the largest one for teenagers is 48”.
That’s a tad smaller than the SafeTackle XL Pro II, which is 53” and is better suited for taller athletes and adults.
Nevertheless, these tackling rings are designed for rugged use.
It comes with a heavy duty vinyl outer cover that’s extremely easy to clean and maintain.
It’s replaceable too. So if you accidentally tear it or it gets damaged, you can swap the cover rather than replacing the whole ring.
Inside, we have thick high density foam that retains its shape even after repeated heavy blows.
The extra density comes at a cost though. These rings are heavy.
The largest size weighs a whopping 58 lbs. So, if you are looking to move it around the field, a small child may find it a tad difficult. On a positive note, heavier rings are used by coaches to accurately simulate wrap and roll. This one fits the bill perfectly.
There are two elastic straps on the inner surface of the hole in the center that can fit a soccer ball. Surprisingly, it doesn’t fit a football. That’s just a minor quibble though.
#10 – Pro Down Collegiate Shield 16″X26″
This is a basic, blocking pad from Pro Down which gives you a sizeable surface for a very affordable price.
It is 26” long x 16” and comes prefilled with 5” of high density foam. The thickness provides reasonably good impact resistance.
However, if you use this for martial arts practice and have an adult throwing kicks at it, the training partner is going to feel it as the back surface is not reinforced.
On a positive note, the padding surface has a concave curvature to it, which makes it easier to make contact right in the middle every time you throw a punch at it.
This also makes it easier to hold. The caveat is that there are just two handles on the rear. Not five. So there’s only one direction that you can hold this in.
Also, the handle straps are a little tight, especially if a large, tall user is going to hold it.
The outer shell is thick vinyl that holds up pretty well to everyday use.
Overall, it’s a pretty good deal at this price point. It does have some minor niggles. But you’ve got to keep in mind that this is an entry-level model at a budget-price.
And there are many buyers who will happily overlook these niggles as long as it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
How to select the best football blocking pads and dummies
By now, you’d have some inkling of what goes into making the best football tackle dummy for your children.
Here are some more pointers that will help you to make the right choice.
What type of tackle dummy do you need?
What kind of drills are you looking to practice? Let us rephrase that.
What kind of skills are your children/students looking to hone?
If it’s aggressive tackling or agility drills, we recommend the round, standup dummy like our #1 pick the Goalrilla Tackle Dummy or the GoSports XL Pro.
On the other hand, if you are looking at conducting safer, open field drills, look for tackle rings like the Fisher model or the one from SafeTackle. These take the head out of the equation and are a good choice to develop the fundamentals from a young age.
Blocking pads are the most basic variety that work exceptionally well. However, these cannot be used without a training partner.
The age/size of the athlete
A lot of parents and coaches accidentally pick a tackle dummy that’s too small or too big for their child.
So ensure that you are aware of the exact dimensions and weight.
If it’s a standup dummy, check the height and the width.
Can the athlete tackle it comfortably? Can they land blows while standing?
For blocking pads, check the thickness, the width and length of the surface and the quality of the foam.
It must be thick enough to absorb the force of impact without hurting the training partner. But it shouldn’t be too hard or too squishy.
Most of the best football tackle dummies weigh between 15-20 lbs. Rings usually weigh between 10-25 lbs.
Blocking pads weigh between 2-8 lbs. We have selected different models that are lightweight as well as heavy-duty. So irrespective of your preference, you will definitely find it in this list.
Is the blocking pad constructed well?
What material is used for the fill? Most blocking pads and tackle dummies contain high density foam as it is light, and it holds up well to continual heavy pounding without losing its form.
Is the thickness of the high density foam uniform all over?
What material is the outer cover? Most brands use Vinyl or PVC. Both are equally good and weatherproof.
Is the cover removable and replaceable?
Is it double stitched at the seams? The seams are most likely to give away after taking a few hefty blows. So ensure that you check this.
How many handles does it come with?
This is subjective.
Some coaches wouldn’t settle for anything lesser than five handle straps as this allows them to tilt the pads in different directions for different types of drills.
Also, more the handles, firmer the grip.
Others don’t attribute too much importance to the handle straps and pick pads with just two straps as well.
Either way, look for reinforced handles as they are more durable and impact resistant.
The best football dummy FAQ
A lot of parents are skeptical about buying the best football blocking pads and tackle dummies for their children.
Let’s face it. Most of these tools are a sizeable investment.
So we don’t really blame them if they wonder whether it is worth it.
Here’s a brief FAQ that aims to answer some of the common niggles that plague the minds of first time shoppers.
Q:Are these football Blocking Pads and Tackle Dummies good for the youth?
A:Absolutely. They are worth their weight in gold. Just Kidding!
But yeah, blocking pads and tackle dummies are used every day by professional sportsmen to hone their skills.
So if your child is playing in school or nurses dreams of making it to the big stage, then getting them one of these tools is a step in the right direction.
It helps them develop the fundamental skills much needed at a later stage of their careers.
Even if your child doesn’t wish to play professionally, these tools are great for general fitness.
Moreover, the usage is not just limited to football. You can use this for MMA practice or kickboxing or just throwing punches at them as part of an HIIT routine.
Q:Are tackle dummies safe?
A:As long as they are used they way they should be used, they are a completely safe coaching tool.
They reduce the risk of injury that can be caused by tackling a fellow player, if your child is inexperienced.
They help them learn the correct posture while tackling. Tackle wheels are now replacing conventional coaching tools as they teach the child to tackle with their shoulders rather than using heads or making bone-jarring moves.
That sums up our article.
We hope that you enjoyed reading it and that you can use it as a starting point in your research to select the best football tackle dummy.
If you feel that we’ve missed out on something, then do give us a holler in the comments box. We will get back to you in a jiffy.
Hi You Guys! My name is Henry Moller – CEO Founder NationsFootballClassic. I spent my youth on football. It’s so gorgeous and because of football, I married my wife and have 2 kids now. With that experience, sure that you guys will find some interesting stuff here about football.