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Tuesday, December 10 2019 @ 06:38 pm ACDT

First USFooty Kids/Auskick clinic for Arlington

North America

On Saturday July 8th, the Baltimore Washington Eagles hosted its first USFooty Kids/Auskick clinic in Arlington, VA. I ran the clinic with the help of Denis Ryan (USFooty Kids National Coordinator) and members of the Baltimore Washington Eagles including Club President Rob Brunton and Senior Coach Matty Bishop. We had about 15 boys and girls aged 6 to 12. This was the first of two clinics for the year, with the second clinic on July 22nd.

I had spent the previous few weeks recruiting for the clinics. I received assistance from neighbors and friends who told others about the clinics. The local soccer club and league helped by sending out flyers to players and coaches. The PE teacher at my son’s school allowed me to give a demonstration to about 50 kids in his flag football after-school program. I was surprised to be asked quite detailed question like: “How far can you run before bouncing?” and “What does the score mean?” (I assume that because DC has footy on local TV many of the kids had already been exposed to the game.) I had been nervous about getting enough kids out, but I started to get excited as the registration rose to around 30 for one or both of the two clinics. Many parents seemed to be looking for something for the kids to do after the soccer season had ended. Some were quite excited after years of watching AFL on TV or spending time living in Australia.

The day started with a small hiccup as we found that the nice soccer field that we had booked for the clinic was locked up tight. Luckily my permit had the number for the care-taker who happened to be on his way when I called. Once the gate was unlocked we moved all of our stuff up to the soccer field for the clinic. As the kids and parents filed in we pointed them to the bag of footies and told them to go on to the field and play kick-to-kick. We decided to get the kids warmed up with games of “scarecrow tag” and then “sharks and minnows”. I had asked the kids to either wear a blue shirt or a yellow shirt. The blue shirts were to be the “Blues” and the yellow shirts were the “Eagles”. After a warm up and some “ball stretching” we worked through some basic skills – catching, handpassing, kicking and bouncing. We had enough footies to have them pair off to practice each of these skills.

Once we were finished with the basic skills, I decided to play a couple of the “skills” games suggested in the Auskick manual. One of them involves a circle with one team in the circle and one team on the outside. The team on the outside has to sneak into the circle and steal as many footies as possible without getting tagged. The other game involves having the team inside the circle kick as many balls out of the circle while the team on the outside runs to retrieve them and put them back in the circle. The kids seemed to enjoy both games thoroughly, while learning and practicing their skills.

The highlight of the session for the coaches and kids was a game between the junior Blues and the junior Eagles. The kids had picked up the skills very quickly and the talking on the field was fantastic. For me the highlight was when an 11 year old for the Blues drilled a goal as he ran down the right half-forward flank - a class effort. I did not get to see much of his play, but unbiased (and unrelated) observers told me that my son also showed some real skills for the Eagles. In the end, the Blues were just a little too strong for the Eagles but everyone seemed to have fun. I know I did.

For more go to DC Footy Kids.

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