Registration for First Kicks 2021 is now CLOSED. This is our biggest ever group, and unfortunately we have no more spots left.
First Kicks is aimed at those turning 4, 5 or 6 this year (2021) (born in 2017, 2016 and 2015).
We follow New Zealand Football’s nationwide Football framework to teach core skills, play simplified games and have a whole load of fun!
We usually have approx 100 kids registered with around 80 kids playing each Saturday morning. It’s superb to see the turf humming on a Saturday morning with around 200 playing across two hours including 7th and 8th grades. You’re most welcome to come along and give it a go first to see if your player is keen.
The Junior season starts on the weekend of 10th/11th April, with First Kicks starting after the April school holidays.
Saturdays 9:00 – 10:00am (tbc)
No games on the middle week of the school holidays.
Football Turf at Maidstone Park, Park Road (opposite Parapine ITM)
We follow the New Zealand Football Junior Framework that encourages a variety of skill development and is all about building the foundation for future years. You’ll probably see us using laminated games guides from the framework each Saturday.
Each Saturday we’ll start 9:00am sharp. The first part of the session is made up of four station rotations (around 8 minutes each) that focus on each training area including general movement, football coordination, football technique and small-sided games.
Then we play games (around 8 minutes each) for the remainder of the time.
We mix up the players using bibs. Teams are re-created each Saturday. We’ll often split the whole grade into the more confident players and those who are still finding their way. See the action in our photo gallery of First Kicks and 7th and 8th Grades.
Introducing Belinda Warrington, First Kicks Programme Co-ordinator
What a great addition to our team! With over 10 years’ junior coaching experience, she currently holds Junior Level 1-3 coaching certificates, is working on her senior C licence, is a qualified Level 2 referee, and is a Central Federation regional coach of the year winner and a New Zealand Football finalist. Belinda also holds our club portfolio as Junior and Youth Girls Development Officer and we were absolutely stoked when she offered to take on the First Kicks Programme Co-ordinator role. Welcome! Read more about Belinda here!
Message from Belinda: “I like to let the kids use their imagination while learning as it makes it so much fun. Involving parents is important to me as you know your children best, provides an awesome opportunity to bond and is lots of fun. To be able to provide one on one player support, I will need parents, or older teenagers, and sibling to help. I’ll provide the drills on a weekly basis, and will mentor parents parents to become confident in delivery and amazing parent helpers”
Teamwork – how you can help
We usually have a few players from our youth grade (U15-U17) helping out as part of their Duke of Edinburgh programme, and love first kick parents who volunteer to set-up/pack-up of gear or as “game leaders” to help deliver the fun. The game leader role is far more about making sure they’re having fun than any technical football job, with readymade game cards to work with and we always love coaches who are keen to get a bit crazy. If you enjoy administration, we’re always keen to grow our fab volunteer base. This year we’re fortunate to have Belinda on board to provide technical guidance but our First Kicks need a Grade Manager to help get things started, liaise with parents and point them in the right direction on Saturday morning – for all roles, please contact UHCF Junior Captain, Glynn Paling on firstname.lastname@example.org
First Kicks football is free for 2021 – thanks Farrahs!
Local Upper Hutt business Farrah’s have been proud sponsors of UHCF junior football for a few years now. In 2020, and thanks to Farrah’s incredible generosity and increased sponsorship, we ran the First Kicks programme FREE – and we can confirm it will be free again for 2021! Thanks, Farrah’s!
Please do support this wonderful sponsor. You can find more info including great recipe ideas on their website, follow them on Facebook and Instagram, and of course, purchase those delicious Farrah’s wraps from local retailers.
Gear you’ll need
Once registered we will provide more details about your orange club shirt (yours to keep). Your budding footballer will need shorts and closed shoes – football boots are best for the turf. Plus they can wear their favourite football team colour until they get their club shirt. Shin pads really are a must. Black shorts and club socks are preferred, but are not compulsory as the only uniform piece expected at this age is their t-shirt.
To ensure each player has as many touches of the ball as possible and young players concentrate on skills that are best suited to their age we play a simplified version.
- No goalies.
- No offside.
- No corners.
- Kick/dribble in instead of throw-ins.
- Attacking team returns to half-way for a goal kick.
Players of the day
Plus there’s a lot of rewards to earn including All Whites posters, player of the day certificates and rewards and skills zone prizes throughout the season.
Are few and far between as we play on artificial turf so we usually just play on. However, if it’s obvious it’ll be bad we have a UHCF First Kicks parent group that we post updates to and send an email.
FAQs – frequently asked questions
My child is new to football, can we turn up and give it a go first?
Yes, so long as we haven’t reached our maximum registrations. Contact our First Kicks grade manager to check first.
What’s your maximum amount of players?
We aim to have not more than 5 v 5 in a game of football and so cap registrations at around 120 players for the season based on the area available on our turf.
Who will my child play with?
Each Saturday we mix up our kids based on birth year age groups. Playing with friends is sometimes helpful early in the season, and sometimes a hindrance is they’re too social. If there is a particular combination you’re keen on seeing – talk to our grade manager on the day.
Is there a uniform?
First Kicks uniform consists of just the t-shirt we give you once you’re registered and paid up. At this age it’s more about fun that having a perfect uniform so shorts and socks are your choice. Many of our players have gear passed down from older players so it’s not unusual to see the wider club uniform adopted by some of our players but it’s not compulsory.
Are any bits of gear compulsory?
Shin pads are an absolute must ($15-20) as feet can get a little crazy at this early stage of play.
Does my child have to wear boots?
Boots can sometimes be pretty expensive! If you’re child is just giving it a go, come in sports shoes and buy the boots when you know for sure they are in to it. Boots give grip on our turf surface (that can be slippery with dew or rain) and also allows players to get better contact on the ball.
Can I buy gear second hand?
The club often has boot/gear sales at the start of the season – especially at the fun day. Follow the club Facebook page to stay in touch with the latest.
What happens if my child is absent?
Absences are a fact of life in Winter for sickness or family occasions and that’s built in to the flexible way we run our game days. We simply ask that if parents are game leaders, they can give our grade manager a heads up as soon as they can to help with planning on the day.
When do you cancel and how will I find out?
We play on artificial turf so we usually just play on as typically the kids love playing in the rain – it’s us parents who get cold not moving around under umbrellas. If it’s set to be cold, wet and windy we’ll make the rare decision to cancel. Notifications go up on our First Kicks parent Facebook group and we’ll send out an email alert before a pre-determined time.