Tips For A Sweet Kick

Whats in a kick? The main kick we use in Aussie Rules is called the drop punt. That in itself gives some clues that defines it from a drop kick, torpedo, or worm runner.

There are many components that go into doing a really sweet drop punt, and no doubt you’ve heard most of them.  Head/shoulder positioning, balance arm placement, ball angle, drop height of ball, non-kicking foot placement, head position, run up speed, foot angle, even the size and inflation of the ball matter. But today, I will summarise to three important areas to focus on.

Ball Drop:  The ball needs to hit your foot at a vertical angle to the ground. It can be held in different ways, but still needs to hit the foot at this angle.  This will aid in the spin of the ball and therefore making it easier to mark. The more tilt you have on the ball, the greater the surface that will contact the boot and increase chance of the ball spinning off at a less controlled angle.

Experienced players may use the ball in this manner to gain different bends etc though for beginners it is best to keep it simple, keep it vertical.  The drop height is usually from about waist height, though this may be tweaked to match the speed of your leg swing. As the name suggests, drop the ball.  Just open the hand and release.

Ankle Lock:  Lock your ankle in while your toes are pointing to the target. Many beginners point their toes to the sky and you will likely be sending the ball more on an upwards trajectory rather than down the pitch to your teammate, or through the big sticks.

If you consider banging in a fencepost with a tennis racquet or a cricket bat.  It can be done with the racquet, just won’t be as good. You can kick the ball without locking in your ankle, but it won’t travel as well.

Landing Foot:  An important part of the kicking action that is often forgotten, is to land forward.  After your leg swings through and makes contact with the ball, ensure your weight transfers forward and you land on that foot. This aids in kicking through the ball, gaining more distance on your kick, better accuracy and brings your bodyweight through to put you into a forward running position, to then be an option up the field, making use of that momentum.

Apart from really refining some aspects of the kick routine, try to always practice the kick with a few steps prior and a few steps after the leg swing.  Our biggest error is teaching from a stationery position and then continuing that as training when this game is all about movement, and therefore kicking on the run becomes a very important skill. That kicking leg should always swing in the direction of your target, following through from those pointed toes.

Get these three parts right and you are well on your way to hearing that sweet kicking sound!

  • Disclaimer: I grew up on a farm and do not advise using a cricket bat or tennis racquet to bang in fence posts. You probably won’t be finished in time for milking.
Elite Feet August Special

Sweet Kicks Tips For Recovery Success – By Coach Kiwi

I am hoping everyone pulled up well after round 1, and with no serious injuries.  For many of us, myself included, there was some pain one or two days after the game.  Some may enjoy that feeling of a little bit of pain for the fun gained in running out with teammates that day.  However, some muscle soreness isn't simply due to lactic acid buildup — it's a sign you straight-up sent your muscles into shock.


The significant muscle soreness that typically occurs hours after matches or a hard training session (usually 24 to 48 hours after), is what is commonly referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS for short.   This condition has little, if anything, to do with lactic acidosis. Instead, it is likely to be the result of small tears in the muscle fibers that combine with an inflammatory process to result in pain.

Keep reading, don’t stop there, thinking this is a valid reason to give up all this potential fun in running about and kicking the footy.

You'll most likely notice this type of soreness after more challenging or unfamiliar exercise.  It could be your first training session or first match as the intensity increases. Examples of such activities are kicking a ball or crouching to pick up ground balls, that involve muscle and tendon lengthening while a player simultaneously tries to contract the muscle.

So what are the symptoms of DOMS?  Muscle soreness, lack of strength, decrease in the speed of muscle contractibility, and muscle stiffness are all symptoms of DOMS.  Mostly DOMS can decrease the speed of muscle contractibility by 5-8% and change joint mobility.

Probably not the kind of statistic you were after, so keep reading and find some ways you can overcome this.  If your body needs a little more help with recovery, try one of these tips to get rid of sore muscles:

1/   Eat More Mushrooms – yes I hear the vegetarians rejoicing!

Numerous sources have identified mushrooms as possessing anti-inflammatory properties that may be effective in reducing some muscle soreness.  Mushrooms' anti-inflammatory compounds called polysaccharides work to reduce the inflammation-causing cytokine compounds.


2/   Do An Active Cooldown

Spend some time cooling down.  We spend time on this at my clinics and I can’t speak highly of its value in preparing you for your next session.  It makes your muscles recovery-ready.  Going through a regular stretching routine will help to make it a habit, and a good way to ensure you don’t forget any particular area.  For the shape of our female hips, it is very important we stretch through our hip flexors and IT band areas every time we train or play.

3/   Get A Massage

It may seem obvious, but massages really do help get rid of sore muscles. A post-exercise massage significantly reduces pain by reducing the release of cytokines, compounds that cause inflammation in the body. At the same time, massage stimulates mitochondria in cells, promoting cell function and repair.  Plus, who doesn’t feel better after a massage?


4/    Use A Heat Pack or Ice Pack

The idea behind heating pads is that they increase blood flow as it opens up your blood vessels, and is thought that it could help flush some of the byproducts or inflammation related to muscle soreness, out of the muscles.

Adding an ice pack to the mix may be the perfect combination.  Alternating cold and heat may be most beneficial following exercise-induced muscle soreness. Using both heat and ice prevents elastic tissue damage.  Alternating icing and heating will reduce muscle pain.  Applying ice for twenty minutes followed by heat for twenty minutes is be an effective regimen used by many athletes.

5/   Use A Foam Roller 

Foam rolling on sore muscles can make grown men cry, and we know women are a whole lot tougher, plus it seriously helps repair your muscles. It is possible that foam rolling may decrease edema (or swelling in the muscles) and enhance tissue healing.   20 minutes of foam rolling on a high-density foam roller immediately following exercise and 24 hours after may reduce muscle tenderness and decrease the impact on one's dynamic movements.

Now If the pain last longer than a couple of days, increases in pain, may have evolved from a certain moment of the match rather than the match as a whole, or makes movement particularly difficult, then perhaps seek some medical attention.  It may be more than just DOMS, and I’m no doctor.

DOMS will pass in a couple of days, and you will be feeling super again and ready for the next session and the next match.  Look out for me, and let’s share a ‘recovery’ drink at the bar.

Sweet Kicks Football Academy Warmups Tips – By Coach Kiwi

Every sport we compete in requires some sort of routine to fire up the necessary muscles.  The more physical the sport, the more important it is to pay attention t those specifics.

Aussie Rules is one of the most physical codes around.  Just running alone you need speed, endurance and agility.  Add in jumping, sometimes alone tho most likely against an opponent, tackling, being tackled from any angle and the full-bodied bumps. Yep, all the things we love is why we play.  And to make sure we continue playing, its important to prep our bodies right, at every session and game.

A regular routine, covering some key components will ensure reduced chance of soft tissue injuries and perfect opportunity to incorporate some strength work around the lower limbs.

Start with slow, no impact exercises:

Sumo Squats, Lunges, Floor Sweeps (for hamstrings), RDL’s (Russian dead lifts), side hops with a hold.

Then slowly add more movement:

Open/Close gates, A skips, Waist high kicks, Hip twists (or karaokes), Ground touches, Backwards Shuffles, Forward/Vertical Jumps.

As the Legs get Warmer:

B Skips (higher leaps, arms), Single hamstring flicks, Side steps, Higher kicks, and run throughs increase running to 80-90%.

You should not get to 100% efforts inside that first 20 mins of warming up.  Always add in plenty of touches of the footy, both in hand-passing and kicking, building speed and distance into that too.  It is very important to add deceleration, one legged and two legged, as this builds strength around the muscles to reduce chances of ACL’s and also develops good stopping techniques.   With plenty of focus on your hip area you will ensure good mobility, as this reduces significantly as we age.

Post each match or training session, make sure you spend some time doing static stretches.  This is the first part of the recovery process, and important way to continue good flexibility through our joints and muscles.  Our hamstrings take a battering during the kicking and sprinting phases so spend good time stretching that area.  For anyone, most especially females, it is important to stretch through your IT band, or hip flexor area.  As we age, or become less flexible, or during that time of the month, this can shorten and tighten up, and contributes to those dreaded ACL’s.

The beauty of masters is having people who have been in the game a long time.  No doubt, with plenty of knowledge of the game and a ton of stories to tell, though some may not have kept up with the developments of sports science, and may be of the old ‘two laps of the oval’ type warmup.

If your coach fits into that category, consider hiring an expert for a couple of sessions to teach and setup a good routine for your club.  All accredited coaches will have access to the Prep to Play videos, specific for females (and with a cameo from Darebin star forward Jane Lange), so check if they have watched that yet.

And let’s face it, no one wants to pull a hammy during the warmup, or miss that vital snap at goal due to hip mobility challenges.  So be good to yourselves, warmup well, stretch good and I will see you at the bar for a story after the game.

Stuff from the Media -

A day of developing football skills

Published on August 15, 2018

AFL Victoria is proud to announce the launch of its She Can Coach program.

The new initiative, supported by the Victorian Government’s Change Our Game initiative, is designed to invest in the development of the next wave of talented female coaches in Victoria.

Seventeen coaches (see full list below) have been identified through TAC Cup, Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s and AFL W environments to be part of the program, from retired players to current senior and assistant coaches.

AFL Victoria Education and Training Manager Lauren Arnell said the program is a chance to develop some of our up-and-coming female coaches.

“We believe it is vitally important that we invest in female coaches in the talent pathway,” Arnell said.

“This program will provide opportunities for retired or retiring players to stay involved in the game and provide them with the tools and networks to further develop their coaching.

“Regardless of how far each coach progresses beyond Victorian based competitions, we know that this learning, mentoring and networking opportunity will immediately and directly have a positive impact on our existing players, clubs and competitions.

“We see this as not only a direct investment in the program participants but also those who are looking to coach in our talent competitions and beyond.”

As part of the program, each coach will be paired with a mentor, with the mentors selected from various levels of sport and business. Mentors will share their experiences and provide advice and feedback to the She Can Coach participants.

Coaches in the program will learn AFL strategy and trends, be exposed to scenarios of day-to-day coaching at the top level, have access to online courses specifically targeting coaching and receive advice about developing and applying for roles in the future.

AFL Victoria Coaching Development Manager Steve Teakel said the program investment goes further than just the coaches involved.

“This direct investment will also reflect on those who, in the future, are considering coaching in our competitions and see the visibility of our investment not only in our players but our coaches as well,” Teakel said.

“These coaches will be role models beyond their own players and clubs, and we will also look to engage them in future coach presentations, mentoring and development opportunities.”

Head of the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation Dr Bridie O’Donnell said she is looking forward to the She Can Coach program.

“The Office for Women in Sport and Recreation is excited to be working with organisations such as AFL Victoria to develop female talent in underrepresented areas such as coaching,” O’Donnell said.

Coaches will attend their first session on Monday August 13, with follow-up sessions to occur in October and December.

See the full list of coaches below:


Cherie O’Neill Bendigo Pioneers TAC Cup

Shannon McFerran Carlton VFLW

Chloe McMillan Collingwood AFLW

Penny Cula-Reid Collingwood VFLW

Jane Lange Darebin Falcons VFLW

Julia Chiera Darebin Falcons VFLW

Lisa Roper Darebin Falcons VFLW

Lauren Morecroft Essendon VFLW

Josie Smith Essendon VFLW

Natalie Wood Geelong Cats VFLW

Natasha Daffy Geelong Falcons TAC Cup

Kim Ledder Oakleigh Chargers TAC Cup

Tamara Hyett Sandringham Dragons TAC Cup

Dale Robinson Southern Saints VFLW

Stacey Bourke Southern Saints VFLW

Bree White Western Bulldogs VFLW

Amy Catterall Williamstown VFLW

See the full story here:

Kiwi Roper joins Darebin Falcons VFLW coaching panel

Tuesday, April 03 2018

In another massive boost to women's football nationally Lisa Roper joins the Darebin Falcons VFL Women's coaching panel.

Lisa Roper, is a 30 year coaching veteran with 10 years of Australian football experience and 16 years of playing Australian football.

 In January she officially became the new assistant coach at Darebin.

Lisa saw the coaching position advertised and knew she had something to offer in her unique background so she applied for the position, deciding it was a great opportunity to further her coaching career. Before long, Lisa found out she was the assistant coach from head coach Jane Lange in November. There were only a few insiders who knew before the announcement.

Lisa left Sydney where she had coached and played football for ten years to join an all-female coaching team at Darebin in Melbourne’s inner north. This coaching team includes head coach Jane Lange and assistants Melbourne AFLW player Mel Hickey and Julia Chiera. When Lisa was an assistant coach in Sydney last year she was part of a different coaching make up, with “one other assistant and a head coach”.

Lisa is thrilled to be part of a coaching team with extensive expertise. “I can’t wait for the season to begin and really get stuck in working with this panel.”

She said she has mostly learnt from Julia Chiera since she has been at Darebin, due largely, to Mel and Jane’s commitments with Melbourne’s AFLW season. “I make use of her experience as a player from Darebin to speed me up with players and club history as we go along.”

Lisa will be the forwards coach for Darebin and will need to learn the team’s match plans, because, inconviently,  the other coaches were all past Darebin players so they know “the structures and set up very well”.

Lisa’s excited to be at a VFLW club, which is “providing a complete football pathway from Auskick all the way to VFLW, but they are also providing development opportunities for women in key coaching and off-field roles.” She is also thrilled to be part of an all female coaching panel. This is huge in modern sport where females are becoming equals to men.

Darebin fans reacted well to the news their team will be coached by an all female coaching staff. On Darebin’s Facebook page, Helen Riseborough commented with “Darebin Falcons have been leaders in this space for years! Go Falcons!” Ann Rulton another fan wrote, “great group of leaders go out and show them how it’s done.” The reigning VFLW premiers are hoping that this women’s coaching dream team will help them to succeed and stay at the top of the tree.

There has been a rise in females becoming coaches in modern sports, however females are still underrepresented as coaches. ABC news writer, Tracey Holmes wrote an article in 2014 on how women are frowned upon when they either play, coach or commentate in the sporting industry. Many in the sports industry should follow “St Kilda, the San Antonio Spurs, Clermont Football Club and Andy Murray have shown there doesn’t need to be a balancing of the ledger through tokenism and positive action campaigns," she said. This has improved in 2018, but "sport is still most often framed as a male domain.”

Despite this, Lisa will be the fresh face in the coaching staff. She hopes her many years of coaching and playing experience in Rugby, Soccer, AFL, Gaelic, Softball and Cricket at representative level will be of an advantage.

"I have a pretty well rounded perspective on sport, and most likely that has helped me have a good take on reading play, and hopefully that comes across in my coaching.”

The appointment of Lisa is yet another positive step for women's football nationally. Not only does she possess the qualities required to further grow the game, but her appointment also continues the positive trend of selecting the right people for the right tasks, and Lisa Roper is certainly that.

See the original story here:

Kiwi reaches 250th game milestone

Author Name: caitlin-arnold | Wednesday 21st June, 2017

In this history making year for women’s football, UNSW Eastern Suburbs Stingray, Lisa ‘Kiwi’ Roper has created her own piece of history in AFL Sydney.

Last weekend, Roper reached her 250th game when the Stingrays took on Macquarie University.

Retiring from soccer after 20 years in the game, Roper started playing AFL in 2002. The competition then was titled the ‘Sydney Women’s Australian Football League’ (SWAFL), in a time before the official ‘AFL Sydney’ league was named.

Roper admits that the skill level of female footballers 15 years ago, was much lower than what is expected today, but says their pure tenacity made up for what was lacking in talent.

“We had the mental toughness that just got us through the hard games,” says Roper.

“[We had] the bodies worn from years of sport, but we loved it. We bonded, we played hard.”

In Roper’s first season of AFL, she was selected to play in the New South Wales Women’s representative side in the Senior Women’s Nationals.

However, despite Roper’s success at a local and state level, she believes that her abilities in coaching, far exceed her playing skills.

Roper’s history within the coaching and administration space is almost as long as her games record, having been instrumental in the overall development of AFL in Sydney.

Founder of the Bondi Shamrocks (now UTS Shamrocks), Roper helped coach the newly formed side into the finals in their first season. Roper also played a hand in creating Sydney’s first female academy for elite players. Alongside this, a rookie program was developed to fast track new athletes into the game.

Away from the field, Roper has also contributed to the charity side of community football.

When Michelle Daley from the Balmain Dockers was seriously injured while playing AFL in 2003, Roper organised the ‘Charity Shield’ to raise funds to support her footballing peer.

She was also a part of team to put together the annual ‘Compass Cup Challenge’ between the Western Wolves and the UNSW Eastern Suburbs Stingrays.

More recently, Roper has contributed to the famous ‘Reclink Cup’ by coaching the Western Walers – a team made up of musicians, who verse a team of media personalities each year.

Roper played her former team, the Macquarie University Warriors in her 250th last Saturday – one of many clubs she has played AFL for in Sydney, including the Western Wolves where she played 148 games.

“Playing with other clubs has taught me so much more about the game, and working with different players and styles has help me grow as a coach, and along the way, make a lot of friends and memories.

The UNSW Eastern Suburbs Stingrays will be the likely club that ‘Kiwi’ will play for as she rounds out her playing career.

“Now with the UNSW Eastern Suburbs Stingrays, I feel really blessed to be part of a professional club structure in joining their coaching panel.

“With two bung knees, deteriorating eyesight and a dodgy ticker, I doubt I have too many games left. But the passion has always been there, so it was a special moment – and to share it with two great clubs was a blessing.”

AFL Sydney congratulates Lisa Roper on this significant milestone and thanks her for the contribution she has made to our game.

See Full story and pics here:

Top female coaches win scholarships

Wednesday 30th January, 2013

AFL NSW/ACT has awarded the six scholarships to candidates who have proven excellence in the field of coaching females with the scholarship covering full registration to the AFL National Coaching Conference coaching course in Melbourne from February 8-10.

Pete Jensen, head coach of Queanbeyan women’s team in 2013 and a coach with the AFL Canberra Women’s Development Program, is one of the recipients.

Jensen hopes to use the conference to gain further understanding about coaching females and bring that knowledge back to Canberra to further develop women’s footy at Queanbeyan.

Lisa Roper is a Level 2 coach from the Illawarra.  She coaches the Wollongong Saints women’s team and has been involved in women’s AFL for over seven years as a player and coach.

She also pays a role in coaching the Illawarra Youth Girls Development Squad.  She aspires to one day obtain her Level 3 AFL Coaching qualification

Krissie Steen is a Level 2 coach from Sydney.  She has recently accepted the role as head coach at UNSW/Eastern Suburbs women’s team and looks forward to a new challenge with exciting opportunities.

Her assistant coach, Ben Porter, also a Level 2 coach, has received a scholarship and the pair plan to travel to Melbourne together and work in unison to develop the specific skill set that they need for the 2013 season.  Both have a strong coaching history in Sydney Women’s AFL and a passion for female football.

Other recipients included ACT pair Rebecca Goddard, Eastlake Football Club’s Head Coach – Womens, and Kendelle Trealor, Murrumbidgee Women’s Head Coach.

See full story here:

Ladies Tuned into Coaching Pathway


You would be hard pressed to believe there are currently only five female Level 2 accredited coaches in Australia given there was recently 18 applicants for the AFL’s 2010 Female Coach Level 2 Accreditation Scholarship.  In the end the States and Territories decided the quality of applicants was so good that they would help kick in extra funding over and above the AFL’s to support their keen female coaches.  Full scholarships were awarded to encourage female coaches to gain Level 2 accreditation and assist with the costs of attending the National Coach Conference in 2011.

One NSW recipient, Krissie Steen, was typical of applicants saying, “I have my sights on becoming a Level 3 coach with the desire to coach a women’s team from NSW in a national competition.”

Game Development in ACT decided to assist 2 ladies to attend the National Conference as they were such good applicants. Kendelle Treloar believes she can become a better coach with further training and knowledge. “I feel my aspirations as a coach are closely linked with developing my skills and learning the most current coaching techniques and strategies,” she said.

The Western Australia Football Commission awarded four Scholarships above the 2 funded by the AFL making a total of 6 coaches receiving assistance. Newly appointed Development Officer for West Perth, Meagan O’Mara, has been coaching a variety of age groups for a number of years and commented that “doing a Level 2 accreditation would see me rubbing shoulders with the most experienced coaches in the state offering me the opportunity to learn from both them and the presenters.”

State Level 2 & National Coaching Conference Level 2 Only Current Coaching Position
ACT Sarah McFarlane Assistant coach ACT Women’s team, youth girls development squad
ACT Kendelle Treloar Youth Girls
NSW Lisa Roper Women’s League, youth girls
NSW Krissie Steen Women's League
Meagan Simpson Development Officer, youth (both genders), primary school (both genders)
NT Will award scholarship in October 2010
VIC Shannon McFerran State 16s Schoolgirls, youth girls
VIC Keltie Blake Youth Girls
WA Deanne Coates Women’s League Division 2, Talent Academy
WA Tiff Harken U21s, Talent Academy
WA Julie Nicholls Women’s League Division 1, , Talent Academy, District youth girls
WA Meagan O'Mara U21s, Women’s League Division 1
Melissa Cook Talent Academy, Women’s League Division 1
Sarah Mitchell Women’s League Division 1

See Full Story here:

Sweet Kicks Football Academy