One of the biggest sporting clashes on the Australian calendar is coming to Wellington when the St. Kilda Saints take on the Carlton Blues on ANZAC Day in an AFL match at Westpac Stadium. The New Zealand ANZAC Day match is now a permanent feature of the AFL home and away season and is a draw card for those keen to play AFL, especially children.
AFL New Zealand’s ‘AFL KiwiKick’ programme focuses on developing fundamental movement and ball skills for boys and girls between 5 to 12 years of age.The programme has drawn thousands of children into the sport, with over 300 students getting the opportunity to play AFL KiwiKick at Westpac Stadium during half-time of the ANZAC Day clash.
“The kids love playing AFL KiwiKick at their schools, and they really enjoy their experience at Westpac Stadium. It is fantastic to see so many Wellington kids getting involved in this new and dynamic sport,” National Play AFL Club and Facility Coordinator Samuel McKenzie said.
Most of the children have been drawn to the sport thanks in part to KiwiSport funding, directed through Sport Wellington.
In the past three years, nearly 7000 children between the ages of five and 12 have experienced the game of AFL through the in-school KiwiKick programme. This is an increase from 3438 in 2013, and zero in 2012, which would not have been possible without the KiwiSport funding.
“It would have been very, very difficult,” McKenzie concedes. “KiwiSport funding has been huge in terms of delivering the programme into schools.”
Last year 16 schools took part in an after school programme with an average of 32 students per school, with two schools registering more than 65 participants. AFL KiwiKick teaches fundamental movement and ball skills, and enables participants to become lifelong participants in sport. The fundamental skills of ‘Kick, Catch, Pass and Bounce’ are utilised throughout the AFL KiwiKick Programme and are transferable to a wide range of sports.
The programme can include between 6 to 10 sessions and a match programme and takes place at your school to ensure the burden of travel is reduced for parents and volunteers. It can be held before, during or after school and runs on a set day each week with session frequency, duration and cost structure designed to suit the needs of each school or centre.
Free taster sessions can be arranged for your school to provide both teachers and students with the opportunity to experience the fun and learning provided by AFL KiwiKick.
Story – Sport Wellington