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Get into AFL

26-Mar-2019 AFL season is starting, and for the next seven months we’ll be treated to one of the most entertaining sports around. AFL is uniquely Australian, and combines a great mix of athleticism, strategy, strength, endurance and skill. With a long and proud history dating back to 1857, AFL is enormously popular throughout Australia, at both junior and senior levels. There are 18 teams currently in the professional league, based across five states of Australia.

While the games are great to watch live or on TV, maybe it’s time you (or your children) considered giving AFL a go. Here’s why.

It’s exciting

AFL games often go right down to the wire, and tend to be closely fought tussles. Often the winner is not determined until the last few minutes – or seconds. This makes for a compelling and entertaining sport, both to watch and to play. It’s fast-paced and furious, and there’s always something happening, with never a dull moment. The action never stops, and there are no timeouts to slow the momentum. From speedy running, to skilful kicking and awe-inspiring marks, there’s always something exciting and downright exhilarating happening in an AFL game.

It’s hugely popular

AFL games have the highest attendance rates of any sporting event in Australia – and surprisingly, the AFL grand final has a higher attendance than other major sporting events around the world, including America’s Superbowl.

AFL is also enormously popular at grassroots level and has some of the highest junior participation numbers of any sport in Australia. It offers the following programs for junior athletes:

Auskick – for young players aged 4 – 7 to learn the basics of the game in a non-contact, non-competitive environment 
Junior AFL – for players aged 8 – 11, who play a modified rules version of the full game
Youth AFL – for players aged 12 – 17, where players transition to playing full competition size and rules. 

For more information, see AFL Australia’s website

It teaches athleticism

AFL players need to be superb athletes at the elite level – and those skills are learned and developed at the grass roots level. The game requires players to develop endurance, power, strength, balance, flexibility, speed, agility and competitiveness – and these traits come in useful no matter what sport you play.

You’ll get fit

Because AFL requires so many all-round athletic qualities, it’s a great way to get fitter, stronger and faster – all while having fun. For children, it teaches them a whole host of physical skills that will come in useful, such as hand-eye coordination, hand-foot coordination, running, catching and positional skills. These skills are transferable across many sports.

For 20 reasons every kid needs to play sport, click here.

It’s fun

Sure, it takes a lot of athletic ability, but running around kicking the ball, scoring goals, playing with your teammates and yelling your head off is simply fun. You probably won’t even notice how hard you’re working because you’re having such a good time. The sport is addictive, and you might become hooked before you know it.

It gives you a range of mental benefits

Playing AFL will help you learn how to focus and concentrate, how to deal with nerves, how to be patient and strategic, how to set goals and work towards them, how to play by the rules and how to be committed and dedicated. All these skills are highly useful for children and adults alike and will transfer into many other areas.

It teaches teamwork and sportsmanship

AFL teaches players useful life lessons such as how to support those around you, how to respect other people and be fair. You mob the player who scores their first goal. You help your teammate who gets knocked to the turf by an opposing player. You’ll learn how to win and lose gracefully when you play AFL – and these are useful lessons for life.

It encourages friendship and social connection

AFL clubs are usually friendly places where you’ll meet like-minded people and make friends for life in a supportive and positive environment.

The players are good role models

In the professional league, the vast majority of AFL players are great role models for good sportsmanship. Players regularly encourage, recognise and support each other, both on and off the field. They model persistence, hard work, healthy living, passion and often generosity and social conscience.

AFL is for everyone

Gone are the days when AFL was the exclusive province of men – these days, the women’s competition is growing at a steady rate and has been a huge success. AFL is available to anyone – boy or girl, man or woman – all that matters is that you have the desire to play and the ability to learn. It’s a highly multi-cultural sport as well, with players from all races and backgrounds participating with great success in the sport.

It’s not just for elite players either – if you’re new to the game or just want to play socially, or play a non-contact version of the game, you can also find an opportunity to participate that’s right for you.

You can play it almost anywhere

Playing AFL is as simple as taking a football down to the park and kicking it around with your family or friends. You could play a mini game if you have enough people, or just practice your ball-handling skills in the backyard. You don’t have to play at a club – AFL is accessible just about anywhere or anytime. Kicking a football around can help you find your 30 minutes of exercise a day too.

You can follow a team

Most AFL fans slavishly follow a team, with the accompanying fanaticism and passion that you’d usually only find at an international sporting contest. When you have a team to follow you can join in with the enthusiastic support – it’s all in good fun.

It’s extremely safe at a junior level

All Auskick, Junior and Youth AFL coaches need to be accredited through the AFL Coaches development programs. This ensures the safest environments and latest techniques and skills are used to instruct and develop young players. The sport guides players through a graded environment to ensure they are developmentally for each stage.

So there you have it – AFL is both a great sport to play and a great sport to watch this year. Give it a try – it’s an exciting, challenging and enthralling game through which you’ll no doubt gain a lot of benefits.

For all your AFL equipment or clothing needs, come and see us here at Intersport Bennett’s.