Athletics comprises a series of track and field sports, usually held outdoors. Most events rely on the competitor's stamina or speed. Organised athletics can be formally traced back to 776 BC and the Ancient Greek Olympic games. The Amateur Athletic Association was set up in England in 1880, but formal athletics had been growing in popularity since the 18th century. In Australia, professional foot racing became popular in the gold rush towns of New South Wales and Victoria in the mid 1800s. Professional athletics is now one of the cornerstones of the Olympics and Commonwealth games.
Many events take place in direct competition with competitors. These can include, but are not limited to sprints, marathons, hurdles and relays. Other events require competitors to beat others scores to win. These include hurling, long jump, high jump and shot-put.
A video of Athletics for Kids
Information on Athletics for Kids in Australia
Is this sport for your kids?
Due to the diverse range of athletic events available, children can try all events to gain some experience. This diversity makes it one of the most amazing kids activities. Track events generally focus on speed or endurance, whilst hurling events tend to focus more on strength and technique. There are also clubs for individuals with disabilities, and the Paralympics boasts a number of athletic events.
Athletics also encourages children to work together as a team to reach a common goal.
Most primary and secondary schools Australia-wide, involve children in different types of athletic events during the winter months. To encourage children that enjoy athletic events you can enrol them in your local athletics club. Registration fees can vary between athletic clubs, generally ranging from $50-$100 per child for a full season. Athletics is usually on a Saturday morning for on 3 hours.You can find athletic information at the ActiveActivities directory.
All athletic events require children to have a pair of shorts, t-shirt and running shoes. Specialised events may require children to acquire equipment such as:
- Baton for speed relay
- Javelin (not for younger children only from U 11 years old)
- Shotput (not for younger children only from U 11 years old)
Equipment is usually available for hire through associations or sporting outlets.
Tips for success
- Wear appropriate shoes for your chosen event
- Focus more on technique at the start ? speed and strength will come afterwards
- Warm up and Stretch before starting an event, as it may cause muscular injuries
Stars and Events not to be missed!
Track and field athletics are a star attraction in the Olympic and Commonwealth Games. Australia has a long and proud history of success in athletic carnivals, from John Landy's achievements in the 1950s to Cathy Freemans' legendary success in the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Recently, Sally Pearson has dominated the world of women's hurdles and Steve Hooker the men's pole-vault.