Heart In The Community

Part of the Melbourne Heart philosophy is to get out in the community and grow football at a grassroots level. One of the best ways this is achieved is through school clinics that Melbourne Heart organises.

Part of the Melbourne Heart philosophy is to get out in the community and grow football at a grassroots level. One of the best ways this is achieved is through school clinics that Melbourne Heart organises.

These clinics provide primary school children aged between 5- 12 the opportunity to experience an activity that they may not have tried before. Under the guidance of Melbourne Heart-s Game Development Officers, Louisa Bisby and Josh Bondin, hundreds of students are introduced to football each week.

“We run 3-4 clinics a week, and depending on the duration each one tends to have 6-8 different sessions,” Bisby explains.

Bisby and Bondin aim to teach students some of the basic football techniques. Small sided games, ball control exercises, and an emphasis on teamwork provide the basis for the clinics. One particular activity involving juggling proved very popular. “I got two, I got two!” one girl cried out excitedly.

The enthusiasm of the children is plain to see. There is an ever-present grin on their faces as they chase after a ball with their classmates, and the shrieks of laughter can be heard coming from the playground long before the recess bell rings. Even the teachers watching on the side seem to be enjoying themselves.

Louise Schofield, a teacher at Our Lady of the Way Primary School in Kingsbury, said the clinics were a great way to get the entire class involved in outdoor activities.

“Having experts (like those from Melbourne Heart) come in and enthuse the children is great. It-s a really good way to get all the kids interacting with one another,” Schofield said.

The clinics are not just a one-off thing either; with Heart going back to some of the schools they have visited previously. Many of the students at Our Lady of The Way Primary School were able to recall the Melbourne Heart clinic that was held there last year.

Bisby wants all of the students to leave their session with a lasting memory that will hopefully encourage them to take up football at a junior level.

“It-s great to see the enjoyment that the kids are having. We want to leave them with a lasting memory so that next time we come back we can see how far they-ve advanced their skills,” said Bisby.

Who knows, these clinics might be the start of something for one of these students, and at some stage in the distant future they will be pulling on the Red & White jersey for Melbourne Heart.