Ahead of the start of a new Australian football season in North Delta, kids can test out the sport at their school from January to April.
The North Delta Junior Australian Football League is holding sport clinics at schools in the area and students in grades three to seven can sign up to learn the basics of the sport. Mike McFarlane, who founded the league back in 2003, said each year he recruits anywhere between 100 and 120 long-term players for the region’s teams.
|Mike McFarlane helps runs “footy” practices and games at Gray Elementary in North Delta. (Tom Zillich photo)|
There is a free one-day clinic where young players learn the basic kicking, bouncing and handball skills of “footy,” and a four-day clinic, which costs $8 per kid, where players get to work on the technical aspects of the game and run through different drills.
“We try to make it fun for them, not where they’re standing around,” McFarlane said. “We try to keep them active all the time, and then we do a touch game of footy on the fourth day.”
For people who are worried about the roughness of the game as seen on TV, McFarlane said the league has modified the rules so that kids have very little chance of injuring themselves or others.
“In the schools we have no tackling and in the league it’s modified to basically a big hug,” he explained. “There’s different rules to tackling in the AFL at any level that takes it away from the rugby and football style of tackling.”
McFarlane has also held clinics in Tsawwassen, Surrey and Richmond in the past. For more information, visit the league’s website.
Clinics are being held at the following locations:
• Feb. 4 – Richardson Elementary
• Feb. 11 – Annieville Elementary
• Feb. 12 – Cougar Canyon Elementary
• Feb. 13 – Cougar Canyon Elementary
• Feb. 21 – Heath Elementary
• Mar. 6 – Gray Elementary
• Mar. 7 – Gray Elementary
• Apr. 2 – Gibson Elementary
• Apr. 8 – Devon Gardens Elementary