Windy conditions can have a significant impact on the playing of Australian Football. This is because the field used is the largest of any of the football codes. It is oval in shape around 160 metres long and 120 metres wide in the middle of the field. As long kicking is a feature of the game, the wind can play havoc with the ball.
This article looks at some of the aspects players must take into account when playing in windy conditions.
When playing against the wind, the ball will fall short. So players need to be ready at the front of the pack to take the mark. Other players, at the front of the packs, should be ready for the ball being spilt forward of the pack.
On the other hand, a ball kicked with the wind is more likely to fly over the pack or come off the hands of the pack to the back of the pack.
With a cross wind, here the ball will swing across the front of the pack coming out on the opposite side to the wind’s direction.
Kicking for goal in windy conditions is difficult. The player needs to drop the ball at a much lower position to guide onto the foot to reduce the impact of the wind on the ball as it falls towards the player’s instep.
When kicking into the wind, the player must aim to keep the ball as low as possible to reduce the impact of the ball. The reverse is true when kicking with the wind. That means the ball should be kicked high to get the full benefit of the wind’s power to move the ball greater distances.
Kicking in a cross wind means the player must aim up wind of his target and keep the ball low to reduce the sideways movement of the ball.
A torpedo punt is very effective with the wind travelling much further than a drop punt. On the other hand the drop punt is more effective and accurate in other windy conditions.
The most important idea to remember is the need to guide the ball onto the boot from a much lower dropping position to ensure good contact with the ball.