AFL, or “Aussie rules”, is an exciting - albeit challenging - sport that is an awesome test of skill and physical endurance. If you’re new to the game but really want to give it a great crack then there are some tips that can help you grow your skills and lift to match fitness!
Grab some top class AFL merchandise, get yourself ready for some training and follow these top tips to become an Aussie rules player in no time.
You can practice alone or with mates
The great thing about practising Aussie rules is that you can either do it alone or with mates. If you practice alone, you can simply kick the ball up in the air and practice overhead marking before going onto to take a shot at your local goals. This, and target handballing practice are great ways to learn three of the most fundamental skills in the game.
You can also do these and other skill sessions with mates at the park - so you can pretty much practise whenever you want!
Try bouncing the ball with both hands
Bouncing the ball is a fundamental skill in Aussie rules and can also be one of the most difficult to master. As the ball is oval-shaped it doesn’t bounce as easily as, say, a basketball, so there needs to be an element of heightened-bounce precision whilst on the run.
Once you get your preferred-hand bounce down pat, move onto the next hand - it will help your game so much if you find yourself needing to bounce on the wrong (it will happen more than you know!).
Try touch footy first
Aussie rules is a sport that can cause injury. Being a newfound lover of the sport you will already know this, so it’s always a good idea to get a feel for the sport on the touch circuit before putting your body on the line for a weekend club.
Touch Aussie rules can help you refine your skills like handballing, kicking, vision and defending without the risk of injuring yourself before you join a club. What’s more, it will give you an idea of how the gameplay works in a way that can be transferred onto the pitch.
Learn to touch the ball on the ground
Aussie rules isn’t a sport that gets cancelled due to bad weather: it was invented to be played on the grittiest of Melbourne winter days! Therefore, you should learn how to “bounce” the ball when playing in such conditions.
The only thing is, you won’t actually be bouncing the ball in these conditions - you will be touching it on the ground. Whilst this may sound easier than bouncing the ball it is also a skill in itself as you will require the agility and flexibility to do it smoothly and without running into trouble in the process.
Work on your cardio
Footy can really turn into a long day out if you’re not that fit. So, before you join up at a club, be sure that your cardio is up to a high standard. This can involve anything from jogging around the footy pitch for a few laps to agility training across the pitch.
Either way, your physical fitness is as important as your ability to master the fundamentals of the afl game - a winning combination of both will create a winning player!