Five Sports You Can Make Your Own Equipment For (If You Know How)

Skateboard ramp

Once they become popular, sports and their equipment bear hardly any resemblance to what they looked like when they were first concocted. Compare the alaia hand-shaped by Jon Wegener to the modern surfboard as just one example.

Or, look at basketball. In 1891, James Naismith created an indoor game for young men to play at the YMCA by combining elements of soccer and other sports. Back then, the goal was to throw a soccer ball into one of two peach baskets. If you double the size of the floor, switch out the peach baskets for orange rims, and add over a billion dollars of value, you have today’s version of basketball.

Naismith is the father of one of the world’s most popular sports all because he was creative enough to make a new game out of everyday equipment. The only thing keeping people from doing the same thing today, is a little bit of initiative and imagination. Will your heirs celebrate your ingenious invention someday? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create balldrum — a sport that requires accuracy and concentration as you try to roll a bowling ball into a tipped over metal drum from the other side of a parking lot. Don’t sleep on my dreams, man. Anyway, here are five examples of games or sports that allow practitioners to build their own equipment.


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Stickball has been played in the streets of New York since the 1930s and was made to be easy to play. All you need is a ball, a broomstick and people to play with. Hell, you can use a bunch of duct tape and a stick in a pinch. While some think this game is dying out, the convenience alone should keep it around for a while. There are even stickball leagues sprouting up around the world.

The basic premise of baseball lends itself to improvisation and experimentation, as stickball demonstrates. When I was a kid, we’d wrap a whiffle ball in duct-tape and play with one of those massive red whiffle bats to play a slightly less window-breakable version of baseball in the neighborhood. You can also introduce an aluminum bat to a tennis ball and play home run derby. Though it might be best to bring a few tennis balls because no one wants to be the one who has to track them all down after each round. Those two ideas don’t require craftsmanship, but they can allow you to find another level of joy within the bounds of the game.

Skateboard park

There may be some days where a trip to the skatepark is asking too much. But you’ve been working on a new kick-flip for the past week and think you’re on the verge of landing it just the right way. This is when it would be pretty convenient to have your own skatepark in your backyard. You’re in luck! Depending on your carpentry skills, all you need is some tools and wood and you can make anything from a mini-ramp, to grind rails or anything else your heart desires. If you get good at it, you might even be able to build a ramp in just a few minutes.

Backyard bowling

If balldrum is too challenging for you and if you don’t feel like heading to the bowling alley and renting a pair of shoes that could’ve already been worn three times that day, you can have the same fun in your backyard. All you need is some two-liter bottles to take the place of pins and a ball to roll.


On the more creative side of things, Spikeball is a newer game that has four players surround a small net as they bounce a rubber ball off of it until their opponent misses. It’s essentially volleyball in a confined space. But if you wanted to try it out for yourself, you don’t even need the net. You could just get a couple friends into a circle and do the same with a small bouncy ball.


It’d be incorrect to assume that everyone out there has a bunch of friends on speed dial that can meet up in a cul-de-sac for a pick-up game of whatever. So, for the lone wolves out there, we’ve also found a piece of sports equipment that you can make, and play with, on your own – a boomerang. Depending on how good you are with your hands, you have two options to make a boomerang. Option A: You can cut and smooth out a piece of wood to look just like a traditional boomerang. Option B: You can put together two pieces of wood. Now you just have to spend days learning how to throw it so it comes back to you like it does in the movies.