Participation and Talent Pathways

Junior football provides the next step from Auskick in the participation pathway.

The AFL player participation pathway has been developed to ensure it contains the following principles:

  • Comprehensive (levels of participation that link)
  • Inclusive and equitable (accommodates all young people)
  • Coherent (prescribes links between levels)
  • Developmental (meets children’s needs)
  • Informed (by research and practice)

This pathway provides a quality environment where young players can sequentially develop their skills through activities, games, match rules and conditions fitting their stage of learning and ability.

At the youth level, the talent pathway to becoming an AFL player begins to emerge through regional development squads that have the dual purpose of developing individual player’s abilities and preparing teams to participate in state championships at under-14 level and above.

Australian football coaches who are coaching at youth level should have a good understanding of the AFL participation and talent pathways. All players with whom they are working are part of those pathways and many will be dreaming of becoming AFL players. An understanding of the workings of the pathway and the processes used to identify and develop talented players are important tools for all youth coaches.

The AFL Rising Stars section of this policy includes elements of the evaluation process that are integral to the talent pathway and coaches may wish to use some of them, perhaps in modified forms, in their coaching programs.

Chart showing participation and talent pathways
Year of Birth
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