Echuca, Moama and Echuca United football clubs will introduce the region's first 10 and under football competition.LUKE MCMANUS April 5, 2014 4:04am
Participation and development are behind the introduction of the region’s first 10 and under football competition.
Echuca, Moama and Echuca United football clubs will work together to launch the new division in an effort to bridge the gap between Auskick and competitive football.
In its current form, juniors begin their football careers through Auskick programs at respective clubs before progressing to the region’s 12 and under competition, which involves weekly games on top of training sessions.
Echuca Junior Football Club Auskick co-ordinator Troy O’Brien identified a gulf between those transitioning to the higher grade and the top age footballers.
O’Brien said the age difference was turning children away, intimidated by players up to three years older and physically bigger.
‘‘What we’re seeing is grade 3 or 4s coming up against kids in grade 6,’’ O’Brien said.
‘‘They’re much older and bigger and the younger ones are getting bowled over and just can’t compete.’’
The new initiative, labelled the Auskick Extension Program, should provide an adequate stepping stone, according to O’Brien.
Beginning on May 4, the new division will run on Sunday mornings at Echuca Primary School (208), with games and teams determined by numbers on the day.
O’Brien wanted to ensure the program ran similarly to other junior grades, but was fine-tuned to allow for further skill development while addressing the children’s desire for competitive football.
Rules will be modified and be more in line with Auskick, umpires will act as coaches to provide the kids with instructions during matches and parents are also encouraged to be involved.
‘‘You find after four or five years of Auskick, kids have had enough of just training,’’ he said.
‘‘Older kids at this level are dropping off because they’ve learnt everything they can and want to start playing proper matches but just aren’t ready to take the next step.
‘‘Learning and development will still be important but it’s about their appetite, it’s about placing kids in their right bracket and giving them something that’s more exciting than just trainings.’’
Games are scheduled to start at 9.15am.
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