Countdown, time is ticking!
In the clubhouse hangs a countdown clock. Fifteen days, ten hours and 12 minutes. The clock ticks second by second down to zero. Why is it there and what happens when the time runs out?
All red, orange and green kids from the kids program know. In the time left they have to play as many tie break matches as possible. The number of matches played by each class will be recorded and the group that plays most matches will win and go together to the big ATP tournament. There are also prizes for individual performance, for each match you get a ticket. The more games you play, the more tickets you earn. With more tickets you will have more chances to win at the prize draw at the end of the month.
The intention of the use of ‘countdown’ is to create an activity peak. For this club they have tried to motivate as many kids as possible to arrange their own matches in a month.
The second purpose of the use of a principle like ‘countdown’ is to make the club exciting for kids. One of the features in the gaming world is that there is plenty to do and to experience within the game itself. If nothing changes for a long time, children will start to lose interest.
The countdown mechanic can also be of use during tennis classes. Below are some examples:
- 10 minutes to make as many rallies of 10 strokes
- 5 minutes to hit balls as far as possible into the target.
- Serve mania; as many ball hits as possible at a target.
Remember that the reason we use these gaming mechanics is to assist children on their way towards the next step in developing their tennis skills. They are useless if they are applied but their intention is unclear and a fun activity because of fun’s sake is not sufficient.
At evolve9 we are always looking for useful activities that can help kids develop their game but they are always driven by principles of learning and have a clear purpose that is part of the skill development that we are focused on at that time. The aim is always to set the bar a little higher….
Ronald Pothuizen – Director evolve9, Netherlands
Ronald was the program manager for the U12 program in The Netherlands for 16 years. He is manager the Tenniskids Program with extensive coach education courses (over 1500 coaches), a competition program for 35,000 kids and the support program for Dutch clubs (1400). Along working for the Dutch Federation, Ronald was very active internationally as a member of the ITF Play and Stay Taskforce.
He has been to more than 15 countries to run workshops and/or to present for the ITF in U10. In 2011, Ronald started the evolve9 Serious Kids Stuff foundation. This foundation built the first Slum Red courts in the World. Prior to working for the Dutch Federation (KNLTB), Ronald was a Tennis director for 11 years in The Netherlands.
Junior Tennis Directors Conference