Through the assistance of Foundation North, AFL New Zealand has increased the exposure of the sport of AFL to New Zealanders.
Participants that have completed the AFL KiwiKick programmes over the past 7 years are now following the pathway through to play in the newly formed AFLNZ Youth Competition for both Boys and Girls aged 12 to 17.
The AFL New Zealand Youth Competition continued its success in 2016. The Youth Competition was created in 2015 to compliment the pathway for participants to excel in AFL. 2016 involved 110 participants from 52 Secondary and Intermediate schools from regions including the Northland, Auckland, Palmerston North and Wellington regions.
The programme has been developed with a focus on improving the athlete’s skills and fitness along with a training, game and development programme. It provides the necessary requirements to prepare participants in their transition from other sports and moving forward, links to club football and a lifetime of involvement with the sport.
The Youth Boys competition currently has two age groups U14 and U17 and the Youth Girls is an U17 age group. AFL New Zealand has targeted an increase in both age groups and the regions where the competitions take place.
Participants within the competitions are selected from;
- Secondary School Programmes
- Intermediate Programmes
- Talent Identification Personnel
- Current Players
The AFL KiwiKick programme teaches children not only the fundamental movement skills of Kick, Catch, Pass and Bounce but also stability and locomotive movement skills as well. 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. AFL New Zealand takes into account within session delivery, the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding of ALL participants. This aligns with Sport New Zealand’s Physical Literacy Approach. Qualified AFL KiwiKick coaches deliver focused and fun sessions during school hours and afterschool.
AFL New Zealand will continue with these programmes, as they deliver on key outcomes that encourage children to live healthy lifestyles through sport.
With a full season of AFL games back on free to air television, through TVNZ Duke, children are provided the chance Watch AFL to learn and live all aspects of the game.
As a result of participant’s involvement in the AFL KiwiKick programme and associated broadcast opportunities, participants are developing 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
A personal highlight for me during 2016 occurred when we saw for the first time, four students who have completed the AFL KiwiKick programme in their younger years, now in Intermediate schools and representing New Zealand in the NZ Hawks Academy Level 1 Team.
To follow on from the sessions during school time, children 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.
The provision of an AFL KiwiKick Bag and ball to every student who completes the afterschool program provides great benefits. With football in hand, children can continue their AFL skills at home and school.
The AFL KiwiKick programme also encourages teachers to be involved in the sessions and gain professional development. The teachers learn 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.
St Heliers Primary school teacher, Jonathan Nevalagi and Lynn Wilson from Farm Cove Intermediate, noted the benefits of AFL KiwiKick and how well the AFL KiwiKick coaches interact with the students
“On behalf of the teachers and students St Heliers School, thank you so much for bringing AFL to our school. It was great to see a new and diverse sport brought to SHS. The sport offered a new set of physical skills to be learned and applied in a fun and engaging manner. Your instructors were amazing and always spoken of highly with the way they lead each session.” – Jonathan Nevalagi
” In term one of 2016 the AFL Kiwi kick programme was delivered to our school. All classes took part in this 6 week programme and I have to say that the response from the kids was very good. The programme was inclusive for all levels of skill ability to grow over the programme duration and it was very gratifying to see the skill level develop as the programme progressed and confidence in the kids. I and the kids found the tutors to be really friendly and well onto it.
I would recommend this programme for any Primary and Intermediate school as it covers many large ball skills: kicking, catching, passing, and team play. I would definitely get this AFL Kiwi kick programme in again” – Lynn Wilson, Farm Cove Intermediate.