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Monday, 5 January 2015

Football is more than a game

By Darren Stones

Start of Match

What a great game footy is, and what a great sport for improving and maintaining our mental fitness. For this article, I'm referring to Australian Rules Football, however you're welcome to reframe the following tips, suggestions and comments to align with your favourite football code.

We don't have to participate in an organised match to reap the benefits of running, sprinting, kicking, handballing, and bouncing. With a little thought - and a pen and paper - we can create our own mini games, drills, and exercises and incorporate the use of a football to improve our fitness and wellbeing.

Quarter Time

So you don't have a football, and it's been decades since you've either owned one or kicked one. Maybe your footy shorts are tighter, your trophies are collecting dust, and you can barely recall matches where you were best on the ground.

Now is the perfect time to break through your own banner and journey to a sports store to grab your new footy. Don't handball this responsibility to someone else - give yourself a pep talk and stay in the game with me. Be your own umpire, blow the whistle if needed, and award yourself a free kick for your effort. Doing this will put more bounce in your step. While you're there selecting your footy, consider buying a few orange disc marker training cones to place on the ground for a few drills.

Darren Stones with a Sherrin Football

Half Time

Jogging and bouncing the ball is a great way for us to develop our hand-eye coordination. Here are a couple of drills for us to consider:

Drill No. 1

Let's jog for 50 metres from the goal line to the 50-metre arc and bounce the ball with our right hand. Then let's turn around and jog back to where we started whilst bouncing the ball with our left hand.

Drill No. 2

Let's place five disc marker training cones 10 metres apart between the goal line and the 50-metre arc and bounce the ball when we reach each cone. We can repeat this drill five times to further develop our fitness. As we make progress, we can run faster and repeat the drill 10 times.

Don't baulk at the opportunity of running out on to the ground if the weather is cold. Let's put on our team jumpers and beanies, get out there and run, and twist and turn as if we are dodging opponents. We will find ourselves warming up quickly and achieving new goals before the final siren.

Three Quarter Time

If you happen to miss a training session, that's okay. There's no need to appear at the tribunal due to misconduct to explain your actions, because there's always tomorrow to get back into the game and kick some more goals.

At the end of our training session, let's be our own coach and tell ourselves how well we played. Let's say to ourselves: "Great match, we played well, and we were the best players on the ground."

Okay, it's time for us to head to the change rooms for some lime juice, water and ice and a few slices of orange. Or whatever we feel is appropriate. :)

End of Match

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Darren Stones