Its that time of year again. Still in the high 20's outside, sunshine and blue skies (for the most part) and footy (as in Aussie Rules footballs is called here) is back in action
Pre season games for the AFL teams have begun. On Foxtel this week we watched both the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide in action. Season proper is not too far away and my son has spent this weekend wearing his teams footy kit, guernsey, shorts and the long knee high socks. He is currently outside practising his kicks and hand balls
Coming from the UK where soccer and other sports rule, many are not really aware of footy in Aus or if they are, perhaps not the massive popularity of it here. It takes over everything else during footy season. I learnt early on to not try to make play dates, arrange parties or anything else like that when it was a Crows game (and for a few people, a Port Adelaide one), especially if it was a home game as many will attend these in person. Its a case of check who is playing where before you set a date for anything
Anyways, for new migrants or those arriving soon getting your younger kids involved at the beginners level of footy isn't a bad thing. Many boys and quite a lot of girls play the game, support a local team and are footy mad. Its played during recess and lunch on school ovals everywhere. Footy balls get taken to school and are not seen again till the season is over. Kids come home from school muddy, their shoes/trainers filthy and they are happy because they kicked a few goals and got a mark or two.
Son has an Aussie Dad so perhaps our getting into footy wasn't such an awkward thing to do as perhaps it might be for for families of non Aussie parentage. Hubby has played the game since he was a kid, grew up watching it and knows the rules so could explain to our son (and me) what was going on and why. For parents with no knowledge of the game its not that easy. You may want a bit of help
This is where for younger kids at least, Aus Kick can be a great introduction within a friendly club setting. Its aimed at primary aged kids between 5-8 and there are over 300 Aus Kick centres in South Australia, many of them in the Adelaide area. Look up your nearest Oval and see if it has a footy club attached to it. Chances are, if it does, it will run an Aus Kick programme. It costs around $60 or so per child to take part in Aus Kick. Its a weekly session programme lasting 10 weeks. Usually there is a goodie bag involved. There are no dress requirements. Some kids wear their teams footy guernsey, a pair of shorts or tracksuit bottoms and footy boots. Some wear jumpers and shorts with trainers.
It helps kids learn basic skills, about the game and they have fun doing so.
For us it really helped our son build on his in school friendships as many of his mates at school were members of the local footy club and did Aus Kick or under 8's there. Him going along, even if in the beginning he didn't have a clue what he was doing, really helped him. He had fun, got to run around, roll in mud a bit and kick a footy ball as hard as he could . The friendships he built at school and cemented at footy have endured even though he moved schools about 9 months ago. We as parents also got to know other parents socially outside of the school setting which was great. Again, those friendships have lasted and I definately feel I made a few good friends with some other Mums while we were all standing on the sidelines watching our kids out on the Oval. We see each other regularly, have coffee or lunch in the week when we can and on weekends we are at each others houses, BBQ's and more. Also kids still have playdates and we go out together to places.
Aus Kick can really help your kid get to know the sport, begin to appreciate and enjoy it and be able to join in with other kids at school in playing the game and being able to understand the lingo for it all and join in chatting about the players, the teams and more. I found who our son supported was more influenced by who the other kids supported than anything else and we were happy to embrace his choice. Thankfully in our house its the same team as hubby supports so we don't have a conflict of interest when the two local teams meet during the season
Anyways, couple of links for you if you want to know more
* Aus Kick site where you can find your nearest club: http://www.aflauskick.com.au/
Be sure to do some reearch on where the local kids at school go and play and if need be, consider going a bit further afield to a club if your childs school friends play there. I'm talking may be 5 minutes further driving time in the car sort of thing, not half an hour down the road.
* Also here is the SANFL website with more info on the SA Aus Kick programme and a video to watch: http://www.sanfl.com.au/community_en...b_afl_auskick/