15,000 Central Auckland students enjoy AFL KiwiKick

Through the support of Sport Auckland and Kiwisport, AFL New Zealand is delivering to 15000 primary school children within the Central Auckland region. AFL New Zealand will continue with these programmes, as they deliver on key outcomes that encourage children to live healthy lifestyles through sport.

As a result of their involvement in the AFL KiwiKick programme, participants will develop a connection to the sport of AFL and can go on to be lifelong participants in sport through a structured pathway available to all participants.

The AFL New Zealand Tamaki Avondale Project has so far been a stunning success, increasing the number of active participants in sport and delivering on key outcomes. From the inception of the programme in 2010, fifty schools to date have been introduced to the new and dynamic sport of AFL through the AFL KiwiKick programme, delivered to boys and girls between the ages 5 and 12.

The programme teaches children the fundamental movement skills of Kick, Catch, Pass and Bounce. These skills are valuable for a wide variety of sports, and the AFL KiwiKick programme ensures that everyone who participates is confident and competent with those skills. Qualified AFL KiwiKick coaches deliver focused and fun sessions during school hours, with every child receiving six sessions of coaching.

To follow on from the six sessions during school time, the children then have access to an after school programme that takes place within the school grounds directly after school. This provides the participants with easy access in a familiar setting and also provides parents with the opportunity of attending. This opportunity has been taken up enthusiastically, where in some cases more than 10% of the total roll taking part at schools, such as Onehunga Primary School and St Dominic’s Catholic Primary School.

Festival days were also held, with primary schools having the opportunity to send representative teams to compete against other schools. The festival day tournaments allowed students to gain a greater understanding of AFL, from the teamwork required to score points to the application of fundamental movement skills taught by the sport.

A particularly successful tournament was held in June for schools in the Eden-Albert Zone. Not even the blustery cold weather could dampen the spirits of children from Marist Primary School, Mangawhau School, Dominion Road School and Gladstone Primary School. The event ran smoothly, in part thanks to the support of enthusiastic volunteers like Renee Kirk and Chris Judd, teachers at Dominion Road School and Marist Primary School respectively.

Professional development is also part of the package offered by AFL New Zealand, providing teachers the opportunity to further their skills, allowing schools to continue playing AFL to follow on from their initial introduction to AFL KiwiKick. Teachers enthusiastically attended professional development, learning how to deliver AFL KiwiKick sessions and control games of AFL. This will ensure that children can continue to be active sporting participants utilising the teachers newly developed skills following the departure of AFL New Zealand coaches associated with the AFL KiwiKick programme.

An encouraging number of teachers have taken up the opportunity. Across the region more than a hundred teachers have completed the accreditation process. The training is useful not just for teaching AFL, but for teaching all sports offered at the school.

Finally, every school involved with the AFL KiwiKick programme receives a resource kit to assist with ongoing activity. A combination of newly acquired teaching skills through the coaching accreditation process and the resource kit ensures that students can continue to play AFL. This kit includes footballs, goalposts, cones, and more.

The most important element of the resource kit is an AFL KiwiKick Coaching manual. This features detailed diagrams of skills, games and lesson plans, providing teachers and volunteer coaches with all the information they need to successfully run AFL KiwiKick sessions.

For those who want to continue to be involved in AFL, “Play AFL” Clubs will open in October at a range of locations across Auckland. Competitions will be available for not only the children from the Central Auckland region but also for teenagers, adults, female, male and mixed teams as well. Regardless of age or ability, there are opportunities for you to play AFL at your Play AFL Club.

For more information about AFL KiwiKick or AFL New Zealand, please visit the website. https://aflnz.co.nz.