Bowls Australia Sporting Schools pilot launched
Bowls Australia’s Sporting Schools pilot program, Jr. Jack Attack, was launched in Sale, Victoria this morning. Bowls Australia’s Sporting Schools pilot program, Jr. Jack Attack, was launched by the Australian Sports Commission and the Federal Member for Gippsland, the Hon. Darren Chester at St Thomas Primary School in Sale this morning.
Jr. Jack Attack, which comes in the form of a kit that includes 32 soft-rubber bowls, jacks, target mats, stepping mats, cones and activities cards, is the core strategy behind increasing children’s participation in a sport that traditionally appeals to an older demographic.
Having identified the limitations of children using full-size bowls that have been designed for adults, the Jr. Jack Attack initiative provides all the tools for a whole school class to participate concurrently with tailored equipment that can be utilised on any flat surface, eliminating the requirement of a bowling green to introduce new audiences to the sport.
Through the $100 million Australian Government’s Sporting Schools program, which is an initiative designed to get children more active through before, during and after school sporting programs by providing funding for schools to select sports to run for their pupils, Jr. Jack Attack has been pilot tested across the Gippsland region in recent months.
Bowls Australia Chief Executive Officer Neil Dalrymple said that Jr. Jack Attack provides the tools to widen the appeal of the sport, which boasts more than 600,000 regular participants and 194,000 playing members annually, to a new, younger demographic.
“Jr. Jack Attack is at the forefront of Bowls Australia’s strategy to promote the sport to a new demographic of players, with the aim to encourage children to lead a healthy and active lifestyle and develop a lifelong interest in the sport of bowls,” Dalrymple said.
“Through Sporting Schools, Jr. Jack Attack has the ability to be played in primary schools across the country, providing a path to introduce children to the sport of bowls unlike ever before.
“Previously, we have always tried to take kids to the club environment, but it is difficult to coordinate transport logistics and access to the greens, as well as availability of surfaces, so we’ve devised a program to run on any surface within the school environment.”
Jr. Jack Attack provides a key point of difference with most of the other sports offered by the Sporting Schools program, Mr Dalrymple also noted.
“Jr. Jack Attack will appeal to schools because bowls is the most inclusive sport available, there’s no advantage in being tall or short, strong or not so strong, male or female – it provides an opportunity for every child to play and compete,” he said.
The Federal Member for Gippsland, the Hon. Darren Chester said that it is great to have bowls part of the Australian Government’s largest participation-based programme, which has over 4,200 schools registered nationally, and utilising the Gippsland region for the pilot phase.
“School sport is a great way to promote healthy lifestyles and Jr. Jack Attack is a great example of engaging children from an early age,” Mr Chester said.
Jr. Jack Attack is also now available at schools across the country through the Sporting Schools program, with the Australian Sports Commission urging schools to register with the $100 million program to take advantage of the latest funding round prior to Christmas in preparation for the 2016 school year.
Australian Sports Commission Chief Executive Officer Simon Hollingsworth says Sporting Schools is already making a difference to the activity levels of children by getting them to do more sport, more often.
“We know that many of today’s children are struggling with fundamental movement skills, that they are increasingly living sedentary lives and sadly are heading towards unhealthy lifestyle choices that could so easily be prevented,” Hollingsworth said.
“Through Sporting Schools we are working at keeping children healthy, happy and socially engaged, all of which can impact on children’s intellectual capacity and academic achievements.”
Click here to learn more about Jr. Jack Attack.
Click here to learn more about the Sporting Schools.