By Adam McNicol
The AFL is aiming to release the findings of a landmark study into junior football early next year.
Titled the Junior Match Policy Project (JUMPP), the study began this year and is being done in conjunction with Deakin University.
It involves children in a number of competitions wearing GPS trackers and having their matches filmed.
Some of the leagues involved in JUMPP adhere to the AFL's junior footy guidelines, which aim to ensure that all children, not just those who are most gifted, are able to actively participate in games.
The guidelines state that small playing fields and reduced team sizes should be used for matches involving young children.
A number of the other leagues being studied as part of JUMPP do not adhere to the AFL's guidelines.
Such competitions tend to have young children playing 18-a-side matches on full-sized grounds.
The data collected from players in all the competitions, as well as feedback from their coaches, will be analysed by the researchers, and used to help formulate new guidelines for junior football matches around Australia, including recommended playing surface and team sizes.