Here are some simple tips for coaches to ensure that children who have challenges with anxiety can play NAB AFL Auskick.
Use small groups. Some kids might need to work in smaller groups so they feel safe.
Match groups on skill level. Matching kids in the same skill level in small groups may help them feel at ease.
Joining in may take time. A child might not be able to join in with the group right away. They may need to join the group in their own time.
Have a ‘safe’ backup activity that the child can do if things become too overwhelming. This could be an activity that they enjoy and are able to do well.
Kids can use their own footy gear. Allow kids to use their own or their preferred equipment. This may be a particular colour football that they feel attached to.
Let parents, siblings or a buddy help. They might be able to help get kids more involved and feel safe to play.
Remember, every child has the right to be involved in sport, especially a sport like Australian Football. Including children with disabilities is not hard; it just requires understanding.