Giving back to a club that gave so much to Richard Dowling was the driving factor behind his decision to volunteer with Launceston Auskick.
Initially wanting to get involved in coaching juniors at the Launceston Football Club, Mr Dowling read an ad for a coordinator and coach at Launceston Auskick about two years ago and decided to give it a go.
“I was always down here as a junior and I always enjoyed being part of the footy club,” he said.
“The previous coordinators’ kids were moving into junior footy … and I didn’t want to see it fold.”
Mr Dowling met with the former coordinator and coach team, Richard and Alison Fyffe, to find out what was involved in the role.
“They helped me with the administration side … it was fantastic, otherwise I would’ve probably sunk.” Mr Dowling said.
As the coordinator Mr Dowling is charged with running Launceston Auskick’s Facebook page, responding to emails, and working with the football club to arrange ground and shed hire.
The start of the season is a “real hectic time” as Mr Dowling is busy processing all the new enrolments and answering queries from parents.
There are 10 Auskick sessions per year, but sessions aren’t held on long weekends or in the middle week of school holidays, so the season lasts much longer than 10 weeks.
“It is enough for the kids to get involved without it being overwhelming for them,” Mr Dowling said.
Witnessing the young players develop skills and confidence is what Mr Dowling enjoys most.
“I really enjoy it. It is nice to see the kids get a kick out of it,” he said.
The team meets at Windsor Park on Sunday mornings.
“It isn’t just kicking and handball, we use hoops and other equipment so it is about movement and coordination as well,” Mr Dowling said.
With the help of assistant coach Ben Pugh and some dedicated parent volunteers, the children are split into groups for the Sunday session.
“We have really enthusiastic helpers, without the parents we wouldn’t be able to do it,” Mr Dowling said.
“You can’t run six or seven groups with only two people manning them.”
Making sure each child gets involved and has fun is the team’s mantra.
“There are kids out there that might not get a kick and then I’ll find the softest free kick to get them involved,” Mr Dowling said.
“We don’t ever want a kid to get in the car and say to their mum or dad that they didn’t get a kick.”
To get in touch with Launceston Auskick, visit www.aflauskick.com.au or the Launceston Auskick Facebook page.