General >> General Slinging Discussion >> Backyard Practice Idea

Message started by Whipartist on Sep 29th, 2003 at 3:16pm

Title: Backyard Practice Idea
Post by Whipartist on Sep 29th, 2003 at 3:16pm
Hello All,

Sadly I haven't gotten much practice lately.  Last night I was trying to figure out how to change that.  

I figure consistent daily practice is the key to getting good with a sling..., even if only 3 minutes a day.  And that is hard to achieve for a lot of us with limited space.  I'd like to throw around some ideas if anyone's interested and in the same situation as I am.  Unfortunately some of us just don't have the place to even make these ideas work.  

A few years back I made a sling that could handle tennis balls.  I went to tennis courts to practice slinging against the little signs hung on the caged sides of the court.  I got pretty good with tennis balls.  I also bought some good rocks from the local concrete company.  They let me pick and choose the ones I wanted.  I'd go out in a field and aim at trees from 50 yards.  But I had no place to practice close range accuracy with rocks.  And the rocks got lost in the weeds never to be found again.  

I got myself a big plastic tarp and strung it up in my backyard and slung my tennis balls at it.  My accuracy got pretty good with tennis balls but not a lot better with rocks.  The rocks would fly right through the tarp.  The tennis balls were too light to feel the same as rocks.  So more recently I've bought a horde of t-balls.  They are better still, but I believe the drag on the balls as I sling them makes them still not quite comparable to rocks.  Rocks can accelerate very fast in a sling cradle and it makes them a lot different from balls.  To get really good with rocks you need to sling rocks.  Having said that, t-balls and tennis balls are better than nothing.  

So anyway, I've decided I'm going to look for some sort of heavy cloth tarp or heavy netting to sling rocks into.  The cheap plastic tarps are worthless against rocks so I'll look around.  If anyone has any ideas on where to get such a tarp, let me know.  I also plan to paint a bunch of rocks neon orange so I won't loose them in the grass, for practice in my backyard range.

That's my idea.  Does anyone else have any news or ideas on how to improve our ability to practice in our modern world?  I've heard of secluded places in parks and concrete dumps and of course some of us own big places where we can sling on the privacy of our own land.  Any other creative ideas?  

I've been considering where to buy or how to make a heavy but small and soft ball.  Something with say a lead core but a soft rubber exterior.  Such a ball would be very valuable to us slingers because we wouldn't need special slings to be able to accomodate it, it would be comparable to rocks in weight and balistics, and would not cause danger or damage to objects it struck.  Got to go.  


Title: Re: Backyard Practice Idea
Post by Chris on Sep 29th, 2003 at 5:59pm
You could also use heavy canvas (like on some heavy-duty tents) to stop tennis balls or even rocks.  There is some special tarps/nets you can buy that stop arrows.  You see them all the time in indoor archery ranges.  If they can stop arrows, they could stop rocks.  

I know with archery and slinging, I like to hit several targets and make little games for my self.  I recommend making several "enemies" out of plywood or foam to shoot at.  For a nominal extra cost, you can make it really exciting.  I had some ply wood targets on 1-way hinges that fell over when hit by rocks.  Really really fun, and a good way to hone your skill.  


Title: Re: Backyard Practice Idea
Post by David_T on Sep 29th, 2003 at 10:36pm
I was thinking the same thing! I wrote about it a while back. I thought of maybe buying some cheap indoor/out door carpet say 12'x12' ??? Then I could use and reuse my concrete ball ammo

Title: Re: Backyard Practice Idea
Post by Whipartist on Sep 29th, 2003 at 10:37pm
Great ideas.  I looked at some golf ball netting and stuff like that.  I'll keep shopping to see what kinda prices I can find.  I think I'm gonna go with a big tarp, even if it costs me $50.  It's worth it.  


Title: Re: Backyard Practice Idea
Post by JeffH on Sep 29th, 2003 at 11:12pm
I like the carpet idea for the most part. But, it has some drawbacks.  First it will mold/mildew when it gets wet, and it will get wet because you won't take it down, too much trouble.  Second, a managable piece, say 15' x 15' or less, would not be large enouch to catch my randomly expelled projectiles.

On the concrete balls:
I intend to go to a local sports club and wrangle myself some used tennis balls (hopefully for free).  Then, I will mass produce the concrete balls, making a sizeable supply at one time.  This is really for another post so keep your eyes out.

Jeff <><

Title: Re: Backyard Practice Idea
Post by David_T on Oct 1st, 2003 at 12:32am
Size is a problem. I hope whipartist tests out the tarp idea. I would think the conctete would wear it out or tear it before too long thats why I was thinking indoor/outdoor carpet. Not the fabric stuff but the plastic or nylon "astro turf" type stuff you can get at Home Depot or Lowes. I am checking prices tomorrow. Maybe two runs of 12x12??

Title: hazardousRe: Backyard Practice Idea
Post by Whipartist on Oct 1st, 2003 at 2:54am

Tell me what you find out.  I'm a bit sick right now and don't have much enthusiasm for outdoor activity.  I saw that the tarps come in different weights.  For about $100 you can get some good netting for golf practice etc..., from some companies, but it gets pricy pretty quickly.  The tarps don't run cheap and there are some plastic types too.  Nobody says, "suitable for slingstone practice" and so it's hard to make an investment yet.  I've even seen some nice systems for golf that come complete with poles and net to set up anywhere you wish.  Suspend a paper plate and there you go, great target with a great backdrop for not so great a price.  As far as size goes, I think 12' by 12' ought to be pretty good.  I've been using 8' by 10' recently for t-balls and I rarely miss from about 10 to 15 yards.  I usually hit center.  I started out by standing close and I've moved back slowly but surely.  I have a big piece of private property behind my lot so I don't have to worry when I do miss.  Rocks can be hazardous to your neighbor's health.


Title: Re: Backyard Practice Idea
Post by Luke on Oct 1st, 2003 at 11:30am
Check your local Army Surplus store, you might be able to find those thick cloth olive drab tarpaulins for a decent price, they're pretty tough  :o

Title: Re: Backyard Practice Idea
Post by Whipartist on Oct 1st, 2003 at 4:58pm
Great idea.  Ben

Title: Re: Backyard Practice Idea
Post by David_T on Oct 15th, 2003 at 9:35am
I checked on heavy-impact netting for driving ranges.(golf) Best price so far 25'x100' was $359. Can sell in smaller sizes. I'd like about half that--my son gets a little wild with some of his slings ;D A heavy gage galvanized pole 20' long is about 60-$80 The net would be to stop wild shots. I would use a large tarp or mat for the backer behind a target. This would take most of the pounding of the concrete balls.

I am gong to look some more but will soon set up about at least a 25x25 saftey netting. Any thoughts on this? or 2-3 that would like to split a 25'x100' net?

I am going down the street to throw some concrete ammo at the paint ball netting they have. I'll report on how it handles the concrete.

Title: Re: Backyard Practice Idea
Post by Whipartist on Oct 16th, 2003 at 11:20pm
Well, I went to my town's concrete company and they gave me some nice free rocks.  I'm thankful for that.  It helped me save a buck so I could buy a plastic heavy duty tarp.  My shots ripped right through it.  Ok, so I went out again and bought the heaviest canvas tarp, the 12oz in 9'by12'  Well 25% of my shots ripped right through it.  Ok now I'm sad.  I was having fun and then poof, right out the other side.  Man, that's some power.  I wasn't using sharp rocks.  The black and white sling works great btw.  I haven't gotten a chance to hardly use it since I made it.  It doesn't pick up dirt either, for those who like the black and white motif.  Ok I'm writing in unorganized fashion.  Must go and find something online that will work.  Ok here goes $50 atleast!  


Title: Re: Backyard Practice Idea
Post by Chris on Oct 16th, 2003 at 11:41pm
Arg, tough luck.  I guess thats why these golf/arrow nets cost so much.  My only advice is to make sure the tarp is not taught.  You want the net to "suck" in when it gets hit to defuse the energy.  I'd try hanging it by a line (between two trees or something) and leaving the bottom dangling.  Im surprised canvas didn't hold up, but then of course I've fired through plywood before.  


Title: Re: Backyard Practice Idea
Post by Whipartist on Oct 17th, 2003 at 12:11am

I'd try hanging it by a line (between two trees or something) and leaving the bottom dangling.

Yeah that's what I did.  Still ripped right though!!  I couldn't believe it!!!  Well I'm impressed with my power.  It gave me a good opportunity to experiment with different firing system's power.  I was able to blow through on both vertical and horzontal slinging with about equal effort.  

I just went to and bought their golf impact netting.  I bought the
10x10 KVX200 (Kevloy Gen 2) Practice Panel ($59.00)  Total                                          = $59.00
Grnd Ship / Handling                    = $9.00
Grand Total                                 = $68.00

they had some other stuff for about $89.00 and then some super stuff for $180 in the same 10' by 10' size.  So I bought the cheapest stuff trying to save a buck.  They said it's good so I am hoping that this won't be another money eater.  It's impact netting, it shouldn't be.  When it arrives I'll give it a good test and let everyone know if it works out.  It was by far the best deal I could find so we'll see.


Title: Re: Backyard Practice Idea
Post by Luke on Oct 17th, 2003 at 9:00am
Alright, I'm to lazy to read all the previous posts (shame on me!) so it might have been brought up already but, what about constructing a lightweight sling and using those hollow, foam, or whiffle, practice golf balls? I've used 'em and they aren't perfect but they're good for practicing release angles. Kinda like the dry firing exercises that shooters do to improve their trigger pull and recoil management....

Just and idea....  ::)

Plus you have the added benefit of about $3 for plastic golf balls, or $60 for net backing  ;)

Title: Re: Backyard Practice Idea
Post by David_T on Oct 17th, 2003 at 10:02am
Hey Ben,

I'm so gald you bought the golf netting. Now in can wait to see how it works for you before I buy the 50'x25' piece or what ever I deside on ;D ;D Skillbuilder Sport Equip. is the one I found to have good prices.

Keep us posted. And as Jeff would close..

David >>   who is impatiently waitng ;D

Title: Re: Backyard Practice Idea
Post by David_T on Oct 23rd, 2003 at 9:42pm
I ran by the backside of the driving range. I belive it had the 7/8 heavy duty netting. One of three stones, the sharp pointed one, tore thru. The others bounced off. They also had a tightly knit nylon netting. Maybe 1/16th to 1/8th inch gaps at most. Nothing went thru it. A sharp pionted stone did leave a crease as though it had stretched the netting a little.

I think the concrete balls I made would be stopped by either net. The spinning is what seems to do the damage. I will probably get the fine knit netting.

Let us know how your netting works out Ben.

Title: Re: Backyard Practice Idea
Post by Whipartist on Oct 24th, 2003 at 6:00pm
Well I've been a busy guy.  It's been awhile since I've gotten to spend any time here and it's good to be back.  The netting came.  I made some clay glands and put a waterproofer on them.  I've been using them and they won't cut through the net.  The net I got was very tuff, however the netting itself was more fine than I had hoped for.  I have found it to be effective though, when used in the following way.

Put a 12oz (or more) canvas tarp up 10' by 10' and then attach the net to it's backside.  The net isn't then subject to wear and tear, and it provides the added strength to the tarp to take your shots.  Any sharp rocks will possibly damage your tarp still, but blowouts should be greatly reduced or eliminated.  I have my plastic tarp, net, and canvas tarp, all up right now in layers.  I don't need both tarps up but why not?  I'm having a lot of fun everytime I get a chance now!  

So in short, if you do it my way you'll spend about $85 bucks for your portable backstop.  There may be better alternatives but my money is spent.

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