What is Little Athletics?
Little Athletics is a uniquely Australian modified athletics program for children from 5 to 15 years, although some State Associations may offer age groups outside this range.
As the name suggests, it is based upon the sport of athletics (track and field). There is a wide range of events from running, jumping, throwing and walking and events are modified to suit the age, developmental stage and ability of the children.
Little Athletics promotes that it is important to “Be your Best” ®. The emphasis is on fun, participation, performance, technique and getting involved with your family in physical and healthy activity. The motto of Little Athletics is ‘Family, Fun and Fitness”.
Across Australia, more than 100,000 girls and boys enjoy the activities of Little Athletics. Little Athletics is the “Foundation for all Sports”. All sports use the skills developed at Little Athletics.
Who can participate in Little Athletics?
Children aged 3-4 (sometimes 5) will be in a group called ‘Tiny Tots’. This is a modified program that is designed to develop the children’s fundamental movements of running, jumping and throwing through fun and enjoyable activities. The aim of the program is to improve the physical, social, emotional and cognitive development of children through a play-based approach that is engaging and stimulating.
NOTE: A child MUST be 3 years of age before they are able to participate in Little Athletics. Not all States run a Tiny Tots program.
All above ages are grouped into their own age brackets (Under 6, Under 12 etc.). There is no standards or requirements athletes have to meet to be able to participate in Little Athletics, meaning children of ALL abilities are more than welcome to join in. These athletes will participate in different running, jumping, throwing and walking events on a week to week basis.
At what time of year does Little Athletics take place?
Little Athletics is primarily a summer activity, generally running from October through to late March. Some Centres also conduct cross-country during the winter months, taking place during April to the end of July. Please contact your local Little Athletics Centre or State Association to find out registration dates, season dates, and key event dates.
How many Little Athletics sessions are there a week?
Most centres hold at least 1 weekly competition meet every week. A centre meet is a competition where the athletes will participate in a variety of events and can even have their results recorded. Centre meets will generally be held on a weekend or weeknight, but it varies from centre to centre.
Some clubs also hold training sessions once or twice a week. These training sessions are not compulsory, but are an option for athletes to improve their skills.
Where will my child be participating?
There are approximately 500 Little Athletics Centres across the country. Each of these Centres conducts weekly activities at local venues. These Centres may compete at different times of the day/week. We recommend that you contact the Centre or your State Association to discuss specific details.
What events are offered?
Little Athletes will generally do a range of athletic (track and field) events in any given weekly program. The number and combination of events will differ from centre to centre, and usually work on a rotational basis throughout the season.
Some of the events include: Sprints, Hurdles, Middle Distance, Race Walking, Relays, Shot Put, Discus, Javelin, Long Jump, Triple Jump, and High Jump. Note that some events have age restrictions on them.
Safety and fun are of the utmost importance at Little Athletics; hence equipment is modified to suit the age and developmental stage of the athletes. For example, it may be lighter (e.g. discus), made from modified materials (e.g. foam javelins, or elastic high jump bar), or of a smaller height (e.g. hurdles), to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our Little Athletes.
What level of ability do children have to be to join?
Our emphasis is on Family, Fun & Fitness. Children can join with any level of skill or fitness. Children are given plenty of encouragement to achieve personal bests (PB’s). Little Athletics recognises that children vary widely in shape, size and athletic ability, and thus is one of few sports that successfully caters for all.
How much does Little Athletics cost?
Little Athletics is very reasonably priced, and provides great value for money for children’s sporting activities. Please contact your local Little Athletics Centre or your State Association for information regarding fees, as they may differ between Centres.
How do I register my child?
If your child would like to take part in Little Athletics, you need to register them with the local Centre. It is suggested that prior to registering online to contact your closest Little Athletics Centre to ensure that you have all the specific Centre information available to you. Some State Associations have online registrations – please view the relevant State Association website for details, or contact your State Association to register your child.
What age group will my child be in?
Age groups are determined by the year and month of birth. Please refer to the Age Group Calculator in the Resources section of the website for details.
Can my child try Little Athletics before joining?
Many Centres will offer a come and try session for your child. Please check with your local Little Athletics Centre or your State Association as to whether your Centre offers this.
What is expected of parents?
Because Little Athletics is a totally voluntary sport, Centres cannot operate without the assistance of parents and other adult volunteers each week in fulfilling the many and varied duties required. These include officiating at an event; managing an age group; recording results; working in the canteen; just to name a few. Most Centres have parent duty rosters in order to share the load. Additional assistance is always required on the Centre committees and all parents are encouraged to become involved. Little Athletics is one of the few sports where parents can become fully involved in their child’s sporting interests.
Do children need to wear a uniform?
Some Centres may have a uniform for their weekly intra-Centre program, but others may not. All registered athletes must wear an approved Centre uniform when competing in Little Athletics competitions against other Centres. Your local Centre representative will be able to tell you how much their uniforms cost. Footwear must be worn in all events, by all competing members.
Will my child be taught the correct technique or have access to coaching?
Many Centres have qualified coaches or parents who offer training session/s during the week. Additionally, State Associations frequently hold coaching clinics for athletes – please check your State Association’s website for details of upcoming clinics.