Hibiscus Coast Schools get a taste for AFL KiwiKick

Five Primary Schools on the Hibiscus Coast have been involved in structured coaching programmes involving the delivery of sport to children between the ages of 5 to 13 by eight Regional Sporting Organisations. AFL New Zealand has taken on the leadership role for the project with a highly collaborative approach to the involvement of other sports.

The participating schools were Wainui Primary School, Kingsway School, Silverdale School, Red Beach School and Orewa Primary School, with incredibly positive outcomes for all.

Through the support of Harbour Sport and KiwiSport, AFL New Zealand has delivered a high quality programme to over a thousand children in the Hibiscus Coast region. AFL New Zealand will continue with the programme, as it delivers key outcomes that encourage children to live healthy lifestyles through sport. Through these programmes, children on the Hibiscus Coast will develop a connection to sport and will go on to be lifelong participants in sport through a structured pathway available to all participants.

Every year, each student will receive 24 sessions delivered to a total of 1500 students from four different sports annually, over a two year period. On top of the funding provided by Harbour Sport, all sports and schools contribute financially to the project. AFL New Zealand C.E.O. Rob Vanstam is extremely satisfied with the project to date. He believes the cost of 25 cents per session per child probably makes this project the most cost effective sporting programme available to school aged children.

Four schools so far have been introduced to the new and dynamic sport of AFL through the AFL KiwiKick programme. AFL KiwiKick is 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 structured sessions during school hours, with every child receiving six sessions of coaching.

To follow on from the six sessions during school time, the 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.

Participation numbers in sport have enjoyed a healthy increase as a result of the involvement of AFL New Zealand. At every school a team has been set up to play AFL, where formerly there were none. Many are now taking part in ‘out of school’ competitions. More than 10% of the students at Wainui Primary School chose to continue with active participation in AFL. Individuals and teams are also now participating in the other sports that were part of the rotation, including hockey, squash and touch rugby.

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 run 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.

For those who want to continue to be involved in AFL, “Play AFL” Community Clubs will open at a number of locations across Auckland this October. Competitions will be available for not only the children from the Hibiscus Coast 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 Community Club.

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