Having grown up playing sport with round balls it takes a little getting used to playing with an oval ball. I’m not sure why the Aussies ever thought an oval shaped ball was a good shape for a ball when everything from golf to polo use a round ball. But maybe all these round ball sports got it wrong and they could reinvent themselves just by changing the ball shape!
There are many differences between handling a round ball like a Gaelic or soccer ball and an Aussie Rules ball. I think the main thing is you need to think about how you handle the ball a lot more as if you don’t have that right the ball can go anywhere. Also the bounce can be a little unpredictable which can make you look quite foolish if you misjudge it.
As your ball skills can make or break you as a player it’s important to practice as often as possible. I’ve put together a few short clips below of some of the basics, the drop punt kick, two handed handballing and bouncing. If you have a look at these and see any flaws please be kind with your comments!
The Drop Punt Kick
Of course this is only one of the kicks used, but it’s the most frequently used kick. You can also torpedo the ball, like a spiral kick in rugby, a snap kick like a Gaelic Football round the corner kick and then if you really want to show off try the banana kick.
Like in Gaelic Football hand balling has become more common in Aussie Rules, unlike Gaelic Football the Aussies usually execute the skill properly. So no throwing or slapping the ball allowed! As you can be tackled in Aussie Rules there often is very little time on the ball before you eat dirt so it’s important to be able to offload the ball quickly and accurately with good technique on either hand.
This is a tricky one to learn because unlike kicking or hand balling, without perfect technique the ball won’t come back. It’s good in Aussie Rules that you can run 15m without bouncing which is about 10 strides, although for some reason when I watch the pros play they often don’t use the full distance before bouncing. Bouncing is not advised in wet or soft conditions but of course you can touch the ball to the ground also.
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