If your child has started playing AFL, or wants to start playing, then as a parent there a many ways you can help to develop their game. After all, no child wants to be left behind or not have the basic skills to participate properly. And I know that no parent wants to see their kid getting upset or frustrated because they are struggling to kick, or mark, or handball when the ball comes their way in a game or practice drill.
So in this article we explain:
- How parents can teach kids to kick an afl footy
- Some simple drills you can do together
- Unconventional practice tips
Keep It Fun
In the early stages of your child’s skill development and journey into playing AFL footy you must be careful not to be too critical, or get to caught up in technique. Yes it’s true you don’t want your child to develop bad kicking habits at an early age, but you also don’t want to take all the fun out of footy by making everything feel like practice.
If your child is anywhere from 4-9 years old and is just starting to play AFL footy, encourage them to handle and kick the footy around as much as possible. Create fun games (I’ll explain some simple games below) that you can play together or they can enjoy with their siblings or friends.
Simply kicking the footy regularly will build their coordination and help them develop their own natural style. By incorporating this into a game they will not think of it as practice, because practice is often avoided. It will be seen as fun with their friends and family and will create a pure love for the game which is more important than anything else.
Watch The Professionals
Kids learn by watching. By setting aside some time each week to watch a game with your child they’ll naturally start to emulate their heroes kicking styles which are highly refined and meticulously practiced, and set a great example for your child to follow. Also, this will obviously educate them about all facets of the game and increase their love and passion for playing footy.
Now as your child gets older and has enough coordination to kick the ball consistently, you can begin to work on their technique including their run-up, grip, ball drop and follow through. But this is a little more advanced and unless you have played high level footy or are a qualified coach it is generally best to find quality coaches in your area who specialise in AFL skill development and kicking technique to help your child at this stage.
Simple Games To Improve Kicking
As mentioned above, games are the best way to get started with improving AFL kicking skills. Kick-to-kick is the most basic of all games but you can easily add some extra rules or incentives to this game to make it a bit more fun.
You could say that for every 10 straight kicks that got to the target without hitting the ground they get a prize (AFL collector card or special treat after dinner that night).
You can also add some running elements after each kick to increase fitness and make it more interesting.
Kicking at goal is always fun (no matter how old you are) and is a great way to develop kicking technique. It also helps to make your child feel confident and comfortable when kicking for goal in a game (something that some of the pros still need help with 🙂
You can turn this into a simple drill that helps replicate a real game by adding some pressure and making them kick for goal on the run.
Kicking at Goal Drill
- Depending on how old your child is and how far the can kick, start a reasonable amount of distance away from the goal on a 45 degree angle. Your child should be 25-30 metres further out in the centre of the ground.
- Kick the ball to your child so they can attempt a mark
- When they mark they start running towards you again until they are close enough to kick the ball.
- After kicking the ball to you the child keeps running to receive a handball back for you.
- When they receive the handball the child then turns towards goal, running in for a shot, as you give chase to create some real game pressure (and extra fun) when you child kicks for goal.
This is a great drill that incorporates field kicking, goal kicking, handballing, marking and fitness.
Any time your child can practice hand eye and foot coordination is going to improve their AFL kicking skills. So there really are endless options to make practicing kicking fun.
Using a soccer ball is always good to learn how to kick a different shaped and different weighted ball. You can blow up balloons or buy a soft AFL that can be kicked around the house without breaking anything.
You can really get creative in many different ways that will all help to develop your child’s kicking skills.
Looking For An AFL Footy Skills Clinic Near You?
Learning at home and with friends is great fun, but eventually you’ll want your kids to start learning from experienced coaches and enjoying football with lots of other kids. A great way to start out is by visiting a local AFL footy skills clinic.
Australian Sports Camps run clinics for kids aged 6-16 of all skill levels, from complete beginners to older players looking to hone and refine their skills with specialist coaches.
The programs focus on fun and safety and help you child develop both their skills and love for the game of AFL.