Phys Ed

PHYS ED: Kicking in AFL

I’m about to start AFL with my year 10 Phys Ed classes. A sport most males and quite a few females at the school already play and hence are quite familiar with. So I figure I’d better come with a few gems of knowledge or they will quite quickly tune out and potentially act up.

I found a very useful video clip from the 2010 National AFL Coaching Conference on kicking http://bcove.me/n48gbdem. It’s got some great key teaching points and ideas for activities…. has already given me a heap of great ideas I can use – and phrases I can say (because as much as its important to have fun, interactive and relevant activities – its also important you can talk the talk). So heres a few pearls of wisdom this video passed on:

The key element they stress is POINT OF IMPACT. That being, where the foot contacts the ball. Common errors in kicking are ball not spinning backwards and inconsistent flight path. Both of which can be addressed more effectively by looking at the point of impact (as opposed to the grip, the run up or the follow through). Reason being; The grip, run up and follow through can all be altered by game situations. So regardless of these, the point of impact has to be spot on in order for the kick to be effective.

Three key teaching points with the POINT OF IMPACT

  1. Control the ball onto the foot: The ball should strike the bottom third of the ball. You need the ball to spin backwards. Ball should be guided down with guiding hand and released about hip height about the time kicking foot leaves the ground. The non-guiding hand should come off the ball and swing up and back in an arch.
  2. Acceleration of lower leg: High level of lower leg speed is needed. A steady long last stride that leaves the kicking leg behind. Drive kicking foot forward in explosive action to make contact. Large wind up not needed but quick knee extension required. 
  3. Firm Foot: Players foot should be firm and stable at point of impact. Foot and ankle should be fully extended so when foot makes contact it presents hardest and most stable contact point. Ball should contact the foot at top of the laces.
A good way to coach players is to have them learn what a good kick LOOKS, FEELS and SOUNDS like.
  • LOOK: Ball spins backwards and stays vertical. Flight path is consistent and predictable. Players are able to visualise kicking action (grip, approach, follow through etc). The leg may naturally drift from right to left if right footer (and vice versa) – don’t need to tamper with this natural leg swing, but player must understand how this can impact their kick.
  • FEEL: Players should feel tension/stretch in thigh muscles and firm foot that absorbs little shock (ie. not painful on impact)
  • SOUND: Should hear a thud rather than a slap
COMMON ERRORS
  • Ball not vertical at impact because player uses two hands to guide or guiding hand on angle
  • Head and trunk learning too far forward when accelerating lower leg
  • Ball contacts foot too low on laces or too high on ankle
When designing ACTIVITIES consider ways you can enable players to adapt their kicking technique. Below are just a few game scenarios that involve different kicking techniques – consider these when designing activities:
  • Static off a mark
  • Dynamic on the run
  • Kicking around corners
  • Off one step
  • Goal kicking
  • Kicking in
  • Dribble kick
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